Racing thoughts, constant worrying, nagging thoughts that won’t go away, being afraid to be alone with your baby, and feeling like you’re trapped in your home are just some of the symptoms that describe Postpartum Anxiety. I was not made aware of Postpartum Anxiety before giving birth to my son almost five years ago. Since I have a pre-existing condition with anxiety, you would think I would be told of the possibility of this happening. I wasn’t. In fact, I never knew there was such a thing as Postpartum Anxiety until I came across an article concerning the matter a few weeks ago.
In the dark about Postpartum Anxiety.
I thought it was just my anxiety disorder acting up on a major level, but as I began to read the symptoms, I realized it was much more. I would start to have thoughts that wouldn’t go away. These thoughts provoked anxiety which led to panic attacks. Every six months I would have a breakdown. I was mentally and physically unable to care for my son. My parents would have to fly down to help, or would fly me to their house to help me out until I could get back on my feet. No one could figure out what was triggering my anxiety disorder to act so relentlessly.
As I read about Postpartum Anxiety, I began to understand the very real possibility that I had experienced this. So, what to do if you feel like you may have this condition?
Seek medical attention, asap.
- First, seek medical attention. Mention to your PCP what you’re feeling and any physical symptoms you are experiencing.
- Get a recommendation to a Psychiatrist, a Counselor, or both.
- If you need to be put on medication for a while, do it. It will help to balance out your emotions and help you to take better care of your child and yourself.
Those are the first steps— and very important ones. Then, there are a few other things you can do to help the situation.
Go out, get moving, and find some alone time.
- Get out of the house! That’s one option you don’t think about when you’re in such turmoil. Frankly, it’s the last thing you want to do. However, getting out of the house and being around other people will help tremendously. I used to just walk around the mall, go to Farmer’s Markets, etc. We couldn’t really afford to spend a lot of money so I would just go to walk and look around.
- Go on playdates. Being a first time mom, I didn’t have any “mom” friends. I started going to the park and met moms there. We got to chat while pushing our little ones on the swings. Also, you can enroll your child in Play and Learn classes. I made several friends this way. It was a life saver.
- Exercise. I can’t stress how important this is. It will help spend the extra energy caused by the anxiety. Of course, I didn’t feel like going to the gym most mornings. I would be lying in bed on the verge of a panic attack, but I would make myself get out of bed and exercise. I eventually took up running, and that was a complete game changer. That’s when I started to have more good days than bad.
- Finally, get some time to yourself. Hire a babysitter, or if the budget is tight, trade babysitting with a friend. They could watch your child/children while you go out and enjoy alone time, then you can return the favor. It will help you so much more than you think. You’ll be refreshed and better able to take care of your child/children.
So, if you’re experiencing what you may think is Postpartum Anxiety, please seek help. It’s better to see someone than not. I will let you know that it may take a few visits to get the right medication for your body. I had to try a few times before I got some relief.
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I can’t stress how important counseling is during this time. I went to our church for counseling because I couldn’t afford counseling otherwise. Most churches offer free counseling, or charge very little so that anyone can get the help they need. It is not a fun road to go down, but I promise there is a light at the end of the Postpartum Anxiety tunnel.