Episode 3: My Treatment For Postpartum Depression

In this episode, I talk about how I recovered from postpartum depression:

  • I was hospitalized for four nights.
    • I attended group therapy daily.
    • My favorite activity was “occupational therapy” which was basically “arts and crafts for the depressed.”
    • I got to exercise at the gym for 20 minutes every day. My psychiatrist told me to get my heart rate up to 160 once a day, so that is what I did.
  • I took Zoloft (100 mg) and Mirtazipane (30 mg).
  • I stayed at my parents’ house for two weeks after I was discharged from the hospital.
  • My parents hired a doula to take care of Pippa so I could get lots of rest and enjoy some “me time”.
  • My sister loaned me The How of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky. It gave me a lot of ideas for ways that I could defeat my depression.  I ordered myself a copy today because I want to reread it and always have it in my home library.
  • I met with a cognitive behavioral psychologist once a week for about seven months.  He helped me unravel all the OCD rituals that developed during the worst days of my PPD hell.
    • I had homework assignments.
    • I had to turn my rituals to dust – e.g. since I had elaborate door-locking rituals, I had to stop checking the locks all together. I could not even glance at the door. I could not ask Nathan to lock the doors, but I was allowed to tell him “I’m going to bed now and I haven’t checked the locks.”
    • When I felt anxious about something, I hit my inner pause button and asked myself, “What is the worst case scenario? And how likely is it that the worst case scenario will actually happen?” After a couple of months, I rewired my brain. Anxiety stopped being my default setting.
  • I started writing my memoir about my adventures with postpartum depression.
  • I started a meet up group for moms with postpartum depression. This had limited success but it was still wonderful to meet local moms who have fought the same battles against PPD.
  • I joined the gym and started using the gym day care. Pippa played while I took Zumba classes.
  • I stuck with my original psychiatrist for almost two years. He kept pressuring me to run a peer support group through his office. I realized he was undermining my recovery. I cancelled my next appointment and found a new psychiatrist. Once I ended the toxic relationship with my first psychiatrist, I felt like I had finally completed my recovery from postpartum depression.