You're not crazy

 

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Category: Women Date: 01 Jul 01


“One afternoon I was cutting into a watermelon with a big knife at my kitchen counter. Out of nowhere, I started thinking about this knife and my baby. I couldn’t believe what I was thinking! I was actually thinking of this knife going into him. This thought would not go away. It kept repeating itself over and over in my head...

“I thought to myself, I don’t want to kill my baby. Before I knew it, the words ‘kill baby’ were also stuck in my head. I couldn’t shake this, and I knew something was terribly wrong, but I had no idea what it was or what was happening. How could I tell anyone about this? This is all totally the opposite of what I’m all about!

“My six-week check-up was coming soon so I decided to tell my doctor the whole ugly story.”

Testimonial from a woman successfully treated for post partum depression.

 

It takes a mother suffering from post partum depression who allegedly drowned her five children, aged six months, two, three, five, and seven, in the bathtub, to put the spotlight on women and depression. Reports say Andrea Yates recounted the incident in a “Zombie-like fashion”. Andrea Yates is suffering from post partum psychosis, the most severe form of post partum depression which affects two in every 1,000 women. The 36-year-old woman had previously attempted suicide and was still grieving over her father’s death. The former nurse who loved her children, giving them hand-made heart-shaped booklets filled with coupons for hugs or favourite games, was reportedly in a deeply psychotic state, and in the end, said she killed her children because she thought she was a bad mother.

 

I checked out post partum depression on the Net and found hundreds of stories from women who suffered from it. The woman who stopped herself from slicing her child as if it was a piece of watermelon gave this advice to other women on this health site following her treatment:

 

“Maybe my family and friends still don’t understand what was happening, but without their support and love, I may not have made it. I was suffering from post partum depression...major, severe. I was so relieved when my doctor told me I wasn’t going crazy. I had a bio-chemical and hormonal imbalance going on in my system causing me to feel, think and act in this strange, horrible way. I was put on lithium, an antidepressant, vitamins, natural progesterone, and a tranquiliser.

 

The right medication along with the clinic stay and consultations with my doctor brought me out of my deep, dark tunnel!”

 

Although post partum psychosis is very rare, depression in women is very common, affecting twice as many women as men. The most common types include “Anxious depression,” “Unresolved grief,” “Late life Depression,” “Atypical Depression,” and PMS.

 

The main thing about depression is to recognise it as a disease, a complex illness that is a combination of chemical imbalances and psychological causes. The chemicals could tip someone over the edge. Or, grieving over the death of a loved one while suffering with chemical imbalances could make another break down.

 

I have summarised symptoms researched off the Net so women’s emotions are not trivialised as they often are, so their depression is given legitimacy as a disease and treated as one rather than being dismissed as self-indulgent or ‘crazy’.

 

Symptoms often appear by mid- to late 20s though it can occur at any age. Not everyone experiences every symptom. You may have one or many symptoms. But even one disabling symptom can keep you from functioning optimally and cause havoc in your life. In major, or acute depression, at least five of the symptoms must occur for a period of at least two weeks and represent a change from previous behaviour or mood.

 

Depression is a disease. If you have one or more of these symptoms, you’re not crazy, not self-indulgent it’s not in your head. Get help. You owe it to yourself.

 

Some Symptoms:

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Sleep disorders - nearly every day, either insomnia or excessive sleepiness; difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep; recurrent early-hour morning wakening; wanting to sleep all the time with the feeling of not getting enough rest; or waking up tired and not rested from sleep.

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Persistent sadness, down or empty feelings on most days. Loss of energy, unable to cope to daily activities.

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A change in appetite, overeating, binge eating, eating without feeling hungry, weight gain or loss, bulimic episodes or appetite loss, anorexia.

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Total or very noticeable loss of pleasure most of the time.

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Sense of guilt and worthlessness nearly all the time. Everything is viewed negatively such as “I am a failure,” “I never do anything right.” Excessive guilt - “It’s all my fault.” Obsessing over past failures and losses, unnecessarily blaming oneself for setbacks and failures of life.

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Inability to concentrate. Anxious or nervous feelings.

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Persistent physical symptoms; generalised aches and pains, pressure on chest, difficulty breathing, feeling dizzy as if you are on a boat, chronic headaches, chronic pains, digestive disorders, such as ulcers, colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis-like symptoms, recurrent upper respiratory symptoms, underlying fear there is something terribly wrong with you, going from doctor to doctor, and fearing no one can help you.

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Memory changes, poor concentration forgetfulness, easy distraction, difficulty in making decisions, undue procrastination.

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Increased anger, irritability, “short-fuse” ready to blow up, rage reactions; easy frustration, “snapping,” screaming with little or no provocation. Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide.

 

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All Articles Copyright Ira Mathur