Postpartum anxiety? I hadn't even heard of the term before. One of my dear friends shared her story on Instagram and I was intrigued. It sounded so similar to what I was going through, but not exactly. Surely, I was fine.
Fast forward a few months later. A series of crazy life events (like my son and husband going to the ER on the same day for different reasons), I found myself hyperventilating in the shower. It was then that I knew I needed help. But on the outside? No one could tell I had postpartum anxiety. I was borderline. I didn't test for postpartum depression. But I would stay up until 2am researching "symptoms" on Google. I was convinced at one point that my entire family had cancer or brain damage. It sounds insane, but my mind would take me to the craziest places and cycle through thoughts.
After my meltdown in the shower, I realized things had gotten out of hand. Since then, it's been a long journey towards healing. Not a steady journey, but one filled with ups and downs. I went to different doctors and counselors and felt like giving up. It was all so expensive and so exhausting. I think the thing about anxiety is that it makes it harder to make decisions and you end up in circles.
Here are a few of the things I did that helped bring me back to a better place in hopes that maybe it might help another mother.
- The Postnatal Depletion Cure by Dr. Oscar Serrallach. It was super helpful to explain my wide array of symptoms, from fatigue, mood swings, anxiety and utter exhaustion even after getting sleep.
- Vitamin D, B12 and prenatal vitamins. I had stopped taking these after breastfeeding and it left me feeling terrible. B12 helped with energy levels and Vitamin D helped my mood significantly. I took these by recommendation from a medical doctor in addition to other short-term supplements. However, these are the three that I continue to take daily.
- Hot yoga. It sounds intimidating and it was, but it was amazing to sweat out all the toxins that had built up in me. It brought more energy and helped calm my anxiety.
- Breaking away. I met with my doctor and she told me that I needed to break away from my children. Start small and take 1 hour away and slowly build up. If I could do this ten times, it would get easier and easier. Anxiety made me cling to my children and it took practice to make this happen, but now I truly appreciate my own space. Also, it gets so much easier as the children are older.
- Epsom salt baths. It was so hard to try and let myself just sit in a bathtub because who has time for that? But I try to do it once a month and it helps relax me.
- Eliminating gluten, dairy and sugar. I accidentally stumbled into this because my daughter was experiencing issues from dairy and gluten and I changed our family's diet for her. And three months in, I realized I was feeling much better myself.
In no way am I a medical expert. This is simply me sharing my own journey of ways I helped my own anxiety. I also support getting medication because it is absolutely necessary if your doctor recommends it.
I hope sharing my journey is helpful, even if it's just knowing that you are not alone. I never want moms to be left in the dark. In this age where moms are expected to do everything, I hope this space offers genuine solidarity and a few mom tips that will brighten your day.