I'm excited that I've already received questions about my blog and issues that I discuss here. Lots of the questions are similar in nature so I decided to combine what I could and answer them here.
Q: How do you know you have Postpartum PTSD?
A: I know because I was diagnosed by a psychiatrist and my therapist and internist agree with the diagnosis. I fit into all 6 of the 6 categories for PTSD which are described in one of my blog posts. I take medication to help specifically with the nightmares and flashbacks.
Q: But you're "OK now" right?
A: That depends on your definition of OK I suppose. In my eyes, I'm better than when this whole thing started but I'm not OK. I have days where I really struggle with memories and anxiety. Luckily medication has helped me to no longer have panic attacks, but I still have flashbacks from time to time which affect what I do. For instance, I may want to go out, but I'll chose to drive 30 minutes one direction instead of 20 minutes another just to avoid a possible trigger (driving by the hospital where I was so sick). If your definition of OK is that I'm out of physical danger from the infection, then yeah, I suppose I'm OK.
Q: What's the difference between PPD and regular depression? How do you know the difference and that you aren't just "regular depressed"?
A: I'm not a medical professional :) I know there are differences between the two, but I'm not the one to ask for the clinical specifics. For me personally, PPD reared its ugly head in that I have had a hard time bonding with Gregory, for several months taking care of him was a huge challenge - I had zero interest in caring for him, feeding him, bathing him, changing him. I would cry while giving him a bottle. I literally wanted nothing to do with him. When I saw him it was just a reminder of everything that happened, even though he was an innocent victim in this and none of it was his fault.
Several times I wondered why I had lived and thought that my family would be better off without me. I repeatedly said that I should have died and my dying would have been the best for all involved.
Today, I still struggle with taking care of Gregory on my own for full days. I find it totally overwhelming and all consuming in a way that is not normal for a mom almost 9 months postpartum.
Q: This one is actually more of a comment I've seen, but I'll turn it into a question.
Does Postpartum Depression and PTSD mean your going to go all "Brittany Spears" and freak out?
A: No. This type of judgement is actually why so many mom's fear getting help and talking about what is happening. The stories you see on the news of mom's hurting their babies are mom's with Postpartum psychosis; very different from Postpartum PTSD and PPD.
Also, I don't really know what happened to Brittany Spears and I bet you don't really either unless you know her personally. Anyone could make a guess or assumption, but please don't assume mom's who struggle with these types of issues will all shave their heads and beat up cars with an umbrella.
Q: Why is there a Donate Button on your blog?
A: While working on this book and blog I'm saving for a new computer that will have the capabilities to do things my current computer cannot. I've been out of work since last October, my last paycheck was then. So I've been without a paycheck for 9+ months. This button is by no means trying to get anyone and everyone to give me their money. The button is there strictly for those who feel passionate about what I'm writing and chose to give a small amount to support the work I'm doing. There is no pressure to give any amount and I've considered removing it as I don't want people to think I'm begging, but after a small questioning, the group consensus is to leave the button for now so those who do wish to donate may do so easily. If you feel differently, please email me! I'd love to hear your feedback.
Q: Why are you writing a book? Why not just do therapy and be done with it?
A: Interesting question... and way of putting it. I started out writing this book for my own healing process and possibly having as something my family could read to help in their healing. This was a family event, by no means did this happen to just me. Once I decided to write it down, made the decision to turn it into a book for myself and family, I thought, why not at least try to get this book published so that other women struggling can find a connection- have someone in their corner.
Yes, I'm doing therapy, yes I chose the medication route to help speed things along, yes, I'm going to support groups and connecting with other moms who had difficult deliveries and PPD. However, personally, I needed more than that. I needed to find closure. My options in healing and finding closure to this situation are limited. A couple involved making others look badly, which is not my intent. One involved me doing just as I said above - talking and taking meds, which 9 months later hasn't "fixed" me yet. This is a long process. For someone who had the trauma I did, followed by so many complications and PPD, the process can be much longer than for the "average PPD mom" - if there is such a thing.
I need more. I need to tell my story for myself and have others hear what really happened. The truth is important. Understanding the crisis and the months that followed is important. Helping other women who are struggling to find just one book on PPPTSD is important. I'm a helper. I'd love to create something that can help me, my family, and strangers alike.
I'll continue to answer questions and address comments as they come in. Thanks for your interest!