I hate these questions. Not when other people ask them, but because I ask them regularly, even though I already know the answers and I know I am not going to like what I know or hear.
As for the PPD, everyone is different. There are so many different paths to take- talk therapy, medication, both, neither... it all depends on how early you catch it and how bad your symptoms are. For some people a little talk therapy for a while will help them through. For some people one pill a day for 6 months will do it. For many people its both therapy and a little pill (or in my case 7). For many people its a year on medication and/or therapy. Then there are folks who extend past the 12 month mark into 18 or 24 months. I'm 99.8% sure I fall into the latter category. Which I hate.
Today my kid is 9 months old. I'm glad that he is growing and thriving, but it is also a time marker for me. I'm 9 months out and still have some really bad depressed days. I know its normal to go 2 steps forward 1 step back but it's also frustrating as hell. I want it to be over and done with. I would like to toss the pills and be free.
I've dealt with depression before and did the medication thing. In time, I didn't need the meds and would have "blue" days or weeks, but nothing that I needed therapy or medication to get through. That was 7 years ago. I just want to get back to my old self. Back to happy BACK TO HAPPY!! So the answer to "When will the PPD end?" is "I have no freakin' clue and without a crystal ball, neither do the professionals" (which again, I am not in the professional category, strictly experience talking here folks).
As for the PPPTSD - it is so intertwined with the PPD. I think that is part of the reason why I'm so worried that this is going to drag on and on. True PTSD never goes away. It gets better. Lots better (or so I hear). I take medication for the PTSD symptoms but once I'm off of those I'll hopefully still have the declined nightmares and not as many triggers or flashbacks. But the awesome part, which is the part that I really hate, is that it is never GONE. It won't be something I get over, move past, or am cured of. There will be random times when my mind goes back to places I don't want it to. There will be times that I am triggered out of the blue after not having symptoms for weeks or months.
This is because those memories never go away. What happened to cause the PTSD is not ever going to go away. I have the cutest reminder ever (the kid) of the hell I went through; I also have the ugliest. I see the scars every day. They are not small. I asked a dermatologist last week if there was any treatment I could do to lessen the appearance. She said that they look pretty good for what they are (thanks?) and that other than plastic SURGERY there isn't anything I can do to change how they look. She was actually really nice and I am way too polite to say what I was thinking "Are you freaking kidding me? Why in hell would I have more abdominal surgery, to fix a problem that was caused by abdominal surgery in the first place? Hey crazy lady - STEP BACK!!". Instead I said "Yeah, I don't think I'm going to be voluntarily having surgery. Ever.". Talk about a trigger....
As for talking about what happened, my psychiatrist put it this way "It will be 4 or 5 YEARS before you can talk about this without getting flooded with memories and possible flashbacks and hyperventilating.". Awesome right?! I can give brief descriptions to people I don't know well without freaking out. That's good. But anything deeper than "Yeah, I had a botched c-section. It sucked" and I am pretty likely to get very emotional. It's caught a few people, wanting more information, off guard. Oh well. You ask and you shall receive.
I'm also in pain a lot. More than I expected to be at 4 months out let alone 9 months. By mid afternoon, carrying Gregory around causes major pain and usually by evening I feel like I've been hit by a truck. Doctor after doctor has told me it could take a year or TWO before I feel like myself again.
I hate these time lines. My surgeon told me I'd feel like myself by Christmas (this was on November 19, 2010 when I was discharged). Did he mean Christmas 2014? 'Cause it sure as hell wasn't Christmas 2010. And I'm pretty sure it won't be Christmas 2011 either.
I see glimpses of my old self (without putting on an act), as do others, but I would like my WHOLE old self back please. I mean, you know, the crazy-neurotic-first-time-mommy version of my old self.
So there you have it. The answers to these questions are not easy. They are unknown. There is a "basic" timeline that people throw out there but I don't fit into basic - but who does? I think even those with just PPD (can you hear the sarcasm there? PPD is horrible all by itself and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. Ok, maybe on my very worst enemy?? Hm, nope, not even that person deserves to feel like crap after a new baby) don't fit into the basic timeline. Everyone is different and has had unique experiences. Trying to fit people into a neat little box will not work.