Since my initial blog post was published a month ago I thought that it would be a good time to let you know how I have been doing. I am happy to report that things have started to look much brighter for me. I had an entire week when I felt pretty much back to my old self. I was super excited about it! And then my baby's sleep progressively got worse and worse. Back to the point of waking every couple of hours, or sometimes more, to feed. With the lack of sleep I find it very difficult to fight the negative thoughts and feelings that enter my mind.
Today was rough - I literally drug myself out of bed, then proceeded to argued with my husband about something insignificant. After that I had a really tough time shaking the negativity. I am just exhausted. Today has been a good reminder that even when things begin to look up and we start to feel 'ourselves' again, we have to be diligent with taking care of ourselves.
Mistakes I made this week include: not enough time in nature, not enough exercise, drinking too little water, not resting when I should and not creating time for myself.
Despite my recent setbacks, which I have been told a million times, are to be expected during mental illness recovery, I have found some great tools to battle PPD/A. I want to acknowledge that these are the things that have been beneficial for me. Everyone is different and thus, treatment plans should be as unique as the patient.
1. Walking in nature, with or without my baby in stroller.
2. Enrolling my eldest in daycare several mornings per week for a break.
3. Supplements prescribed by a naturopathic doctor to replenish stores that were depleted during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
4. Weekly visits with a clinical counsellor (therapist).
5. Asking family and friends for help.
6. Setting 'SMART' goals, which I am 100% confident I will accomplish (and progressively making them more challenging).
7. Recognizing and classifying my depressive / anxious thoughts and stopping negative self hypnosis.
8. Essential oils, particularly diffusing a calming blend at nighttime.
9. Exercising - mostly yoga and tai chi which help calm and ground me.
10. Carving out time to do things I love.
11. Removing perfectionism encouraging social media apps from my phone (I am talking about you, Pinterest and Facebook!).
12. Practising mindfullness and gratitude.
13. Eating healthy - particularly reducing caffeine and sugar (including white carbs) and increasing protein.
For local resources, please see my previous blog post "PPD - Getting the Help You Need"
Have you suffered with depression or anxiety? How did you cope?