I was recently contacted by a high school student named Ashley clear across the country who asked if she could interview me for a high school project. She had chosen to write about Postpartum Depression with the hopes of educating others on how devastating and misunderstood it is. Ashley found me when she came upon this blog and I was so thrilled and honored to help her out. Below are her questions to me and my responses during the interview.
What was your initial reaction to finding out you had Postpartum Depression, how did it impact your life?
My initial reaction, as sappy as it sounds, was crying tears of joy. Receiving a diagnosis of Postpartum Depression had a major impact on my life at the time. I had spent three months suffering horribly, some of that time in and out of the hospital, with so much of my stress wrapped up in the fact that I had no idea what was wrong with me. The doctors caring for me had no idea either, so I felt completely isolated and alone. Being diagnosed was incredibly empowering because at last I could say: here’s what’s wrong with me and it’s treatable. There was a name for my agony. That knowledge literally brought up from the darkest place where I was contemplating suicide to one where I felt some hope.
What symptoms of Postpartum Depression did you have to suffer through, and if you had any, what physical changes occurred as well?
My symptoms were largely gastro-intestinal; mainly comprised of stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, fainting, dehydration, dizziness, major weight loss, lethargy and nausea. The nausea was far more intense than even the worst morning sickness that I’d ever experienced with any of my pregnancies. The most disturbing symptom was the extreme dizziness. The room would start spinning the moment I lifted my head from my pillow. I would have to literally crawl on the floor to make it to the bathroom. I went from being a very healthy and physically active (former marathon runner) 30-year-old woman to being completely debilitated and unable to function. Even the simplest everyday tasks, such as brushing my teeth, were impossible at times.