Difference Between the Baby Blues and Postpartum Depression

Just days ago, celebrity Hayden Panettiere sought treatment for postpartum depression. As a mom who also struggled with postpartum depression, I’m always proud of other women who are not afraid to say that they have struggled, too. Why? Because there’s such a huge stigma attached to mental illness. It doesn’t matter that postpartum depression is not a choice; that it’s a biochemical reaction that occurs in a woman’s body that is totally out of our control.

If you mention that you are feeling down after having a baby, you’ll hear more than once that you’re just experiencing the “baby blues” or that you’re just tired and/or that you’re just overwhelmed. And that may very well be true. But it also could be so much more than that. There’s a lot of misunderstanding about what the baby blues are and what postpartum depression really is. So I wanted to share some general symptoms of both and the difference between the baby blues and postpartum depression.

The Difference Between the Baby Blues and Postpartum Depression

There is a difference between the baby blues and postpartum depression. Here are a list of symptoms, as well as places where you can find support if needed.

I have been very open about my struggles with postpartum depression as well as depression. I have a voice, and I use it to try to destroy the stigma that surrounds these diseases. I hope that this information about the difference between the baby blues and postpartum depression helps you if you need it.

Symptoms of Baby Blues

You feel like your crying “all the time”. You’re very emotional, very tired, and you may not feel a connection to your baby.

Symptoms last for about two weeks after giving birth.

You may experience mood instability, feel down, sad, irritable, anxious, and/or fear, lack of concentration, you may be afraid to be left alone with baby.

Postpartum Depression

Your symptoms last longer than two weeks after giving birth and interfere with day-to-day functioning.

You may experience all of the symptoms mentioned in baby blues, as well as changes to your eating and sleeping habits (due to feeling exhaustion). There may be a loss of interest in usual activities, or feel that you are unable to cope with your baby.

You may feel hopeless, worthless,  and/or a lack of joy (this was my big one).

You may have thoughts of harming the baby or yourself, rumination, and/or obsessive thoughts, and/or excessive worry about your baby.

Whereas the baby blues last for just a couple of weeks, postpartum depression typically emerges over the first 2-3 months after childbirth but may occur at any point after baby.

I love this article over at The Stir about 9 ways to tell the difference between the baby blues and postpartum depression. Since the symptoms are so similar, this sheds some light on how they differ.

I am NOT a doctor, and I am NOT offering any medical advice. This is a very general overview of the difference between the baby blues and postpartum depression. If you are experiencing these symptoms, please call your doctor.

And don’t be afraid to talk about it with your friends and family and ask for help. The longer people treat this as a “bad” thing, the stigma will never go away. Postpartum Progress is a great place to go for resources, help, and support if you’re experiencing the baby blues or postpartum depression. Please visit!

It’s Back…Cyclical Depression

I’ve never kept my depression a secret. I’ve always been very open and honest about it. Last year in August, after months of agonizing depression, I got back on my anti-depressants. That’s when I realized that for the last three years, I always go through a really bad bout of depression during the summer months. Cyclical depression.

Cyclical Depression

Dealing with cyclical depression. How it feels going into depression and how it feels coming out of depression. It's not the same for everybody. This is my story.

I’ve mentioned before that I never, ever see it coming. I only notice that I’ve been depressed after the fact…when I’m crawling out of the darkness. I describe it as kind of a rebirth. It’s like I’ve been in a fog that starts to clear.

My sister Angie and my husband Jason usually notice sometime in the middle of it; asking if I’m feeling okay, if I’m taking my medicine, and all that fun stuff. I don’t get mad when they ask – I don’t have the energy to do that. But I always appreciate them telling me because it instantly clicks that something is…for a lack of a better word…off.

My friend Katie does see her depression coming, and describes it like this: …every time it starts to push me, it feels the same way and it starts with the feeling of falling and of my whole world melting and distorting.

Over the weekend, my sister sent Jason a text asking him if I was okay, that I didn’t seem to be myself. She then texted me to let me know that she texted him, not wanting me to get angry about it. I told her that I felt fine and that everything was fine. We had just gotten back from vacation, so I was just tired.

But then I started thinking about it, and realized that I wasn’t okay. I was tired, exhausted really. No energy. No desire to do anything. I just wanted to curl up into myself. I also told her in a text: “Now that you mention it, this is the time of the year when it always happens. So maybe yes? I’m just feeling really tired all of the time…this might be the beginning of it :(”

She then told me a couple of our other friends who I’d seen over the weekend also asked her if I was okay. That I seemed mad or indifferent; not myself.

Now that I know what’s going on, let me try to explain the process…

Dealing with cyclical depression. How it feels going into depression and how it feels coming out of depression. It's not the same for everybody. This is my story.

My depression is cyclical, and every year around this time I have a major bout. Which is weird because I love summer. But the last few years it always happens at this time.

So while I’m still on my anti-depressants, they dull the depression but don’t have the power to make it disappear completely (for some of us).

It’s hard for Jason to see it until I am in the thick of it because I never say anything about how I’m feeling. All moms are tired. He sees me everyday so he doesn’t see the change. It’s not an overnight thing, it’s more like a slow draining.

So the next month or two is going to be hard for me, though I am going to fight it this time since I know it’s coming. If you know me personally, please don’t ask me how I’m doing or treat me with kid gloves. I just have to get through it and plan to by changing my diet, exercise, drinking, and stress. I’m going to take care of myself.

And soon, I’ll be back to normal. Until the next bout of cyclical depression takes over next summer.

Do you experience cyclical depression? How do you deal with it?

Sharing My Story About Depression on Mamalode

 

I am very excited…I pitched my depression story to Mamalode, and they accepted it! I am both humbled and honored to have a piece published there, especially such an important one. Please head over and read my story about depression on Mamalode. And if you can relate to it or know someone it may help, I’d love for you to share it with others too!

If you are visiting after reading about my depression on Mamalode, hello and thank you for stopping by!

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I’ve shared my battle with depression here several times. And no matter how hard it is for me to hit “Publish”, I’ve never once regretted doing it. Because someone always comments or reaches out that it helped them…and that is why I share my story.

If you battle depression and would like to share your story on my blog, I’d be happy to give you the opportunity to do it. Just drop me a line at nataliedhoage@gmail.com or leave me a comment.

Thanks again for reading my story about depression on Mamalode. I’m humbled that my words help so many, and also feel privileged to help.

Stigma Fighters: Breaking the Silence On Depression

Well, well, well…it’s half way through January and I haven’t blogged at all! The kids were off for winter break for 3 weeks. 3 very loooonnnggg, stressful, trying weeks. I work from home, so trying to keep them busy/entertained while also working at the same time was interesting. Can’t wait to see how the summer goes.

And while I haven’t written here on my blog, I did write a piece that I am extremely proud of. I wrote it at Stigma Fighters. Stigma Fighters is a blog series about real people living with mental illness. People that appear to be “normal” but struggle with things they have no control over. Like depression.

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So I’m sharing my story about living with depression on Stigma Fighters. It’s not the first time I’ve discussed depression, but it is the first time I’ve put it somewhere other than my blog. I hope you’ll read it, especially if you battle or know someone who battles with depression. It’s so important to give the subject light. There’s no reason that we should be ashamed of what we can’t control.

Head over to Stigma Fighters and read about my experience with depression. And share it with someone who may find it useful!

Sorry Y’All

I owe you an apology. This week I put out a ton of sponsored posts. I do not like to do that; I try to limit sharing sponsored content to no more than once a week. But I had three due this week, and I waited until the last minute to write them all. Well, that’s kinda-sorta-but-not-entirely true. I haven’t been myself lately. I’ve been battling the most severe bout of depression that I’ve ever had.

I’m not trying to use my depression as an excuse. Life goes on, continues, whether I’m depressed or not. I get that. But this is the first time that I had a hard time functioning on a day-to-day basis. I always become a hermit, but this time I had a hard time getting out of bed. I had to make the bed as soon as I got out of it so that I wouldn’t climb back in it. My life, and all responsibilities, got put on the back burner.

On the afternoon that Robin Williams’ suicide was announced, I was at my doctor asking to get back on anti-depressants. That was about a month ago, and I’m happy to say that they have kicked in and I finally feel better.

Interesting side note: I also realized that maybe my depression is cyclical. On Sept. 4, 2013, I wrote a post titled Crawling Out Of Darkness: What Depression Feels Like. Looking back, I’d written other posts about my depression, all during the summer months.

All that being said, I just wanted to say that I’m sorry for bombarding you all with sponsored content this week. It won’t happen again.