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Postpartum Anxiety?

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
I am not sure if what I am suffering from is PPD but I do feel I am suffering from pretty severe postpartum anxiety if there is such a thing.

I am waking up at night feeling very panicked about everything.. most of the day I have what feels like knots in my stomach, severe headaches and I am grinding or biting my teeth so hard at night I am waking up with a sore jaw

I am having a lot of problems processing or doing anything during the day, I just want to sleep and often I feel like I could burst into tears (from the feeling of stress) often or daily. .

has anyone had similar feelings or 'side effects'? I am wondering if there is anything I can do to treat/help myself which doesn't involve a doctors visit.
post #2 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by ithappened View Post
I am not sure if what I am suffering from is PPD but I do feel I am suffering from pretty severe postpartum anxiety if there is such a thing.

I am waking up at night feeling very panicked about everything.. most of the day I have what feels like knots in my stomach, severe headaches and I am grinding or biting my teeth so hard at night I am waking up with a sore jaw

I am having a lot of problems processing or doing anything during the day, I just want to sleep and often I feel like I could burst into tears (from the feeling of stress) often or daily. .

has anyone had similar feelings or 'side effects'? I am wondering if there is anything I can do to treat/help myself which doesn't involve a doctors visit.
(((HUGS)))

Postpartum anxiety is very common but not talked about nearly as much as PPD.

For non-pharm relief you can try the same relaxation techniques you used in labor, there are some good anxiety workbooks out there, Rescue Remedy and Star of Bethlehem are good homeopathics for anxiety.

Depending on where you live you may be able to find a therapist that does talk therapy with PPD/A and find some relief there.

If all else fails, there are meds that are compatible with breastfeeding.
post #3 of 36
Hugs, Mama. I so suffered from this the first 8 or 12 weeks after my DD (child #2) was born. I felt anxious, then I felt hideous guilt for feeling anxious when I had these beautiful healthy kids, you know? It's hard.

I used yoga, working out, hot baths at night, and actually went to talk to a therapist a few times. I even briefly went on BF compatible medication, and by about 4 months PP was able to go off of it as I was feeling better.

I'm so sorry and hope that you are able to feel better quickly. You are so not alone.
post #4 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Rescue Remedy and Star of Bethlehem are good homeopathics for anxiety.
Can I find these in Europe?

The main problem is the headaches from the teeth grinding are SO bad, the knots in my stomach and everything else makes me really short tempered and overwhelmed easily. I cry over the stupid things and I have no control over how upset I can get

My poor DH is my only support person here and well, he has to take pretty much all of it.
post #5 of 36
My PPD manifested as pretty severe anxiety. Basically, low serotonin can cause depression or anxiety... it's different for everyone.

You can try rescue remedy. I know melotonin helps with sleep, but I think it's illegal in Europe. I think if you try some meditation tapes, it could help.

Talk therapy is also really beneficial. Meds are often helpful, too, and this is the route I went, eventually.
post #6 of 36
Thread Starter 
I did find I could order the Bach stuff direct from the UK so I think I'll try that and go from there
post #7 of 36
ugh...it's miserable. I had it will DD1 but wasn't able to identify it and thought it was just "normal" that I didn't want to leave the house and everytime I did, felt like I had abused my child by having her out in the world. I would try rescue remedy. Unfortunately I didn't try a single thing "natural" because at the time I didn't know better. I did use low dose adavan which helped on the bad days.
I know how you feel though and have been exactly where you are. It gets better I promise.
post #8 of 36
Hello, IH. It seems like you and I have been following a somewhat similar arc during our late pregnancies and early postpartum periods.

First, I am so sorry that you are experiencing this anxiety. As of today, I am three weeks PP and the first 8-10 days for me were the absolute worst. I didn't feel depressed, per se, but I was overwhelmingly anxious. I had total insomnia; couldn't fall asleep for HOURS and HOURS; when I would lie down to sleep my mind would literally begin racing. Then, when I finally would manage to slip into a light doze, I would awaken 15-30 minutes later and then not be able to sleep again for hours. Just a few days of that kind of insomnia made me feel like I was going to experience some kind of psychotic break. My poor husband had never seen me like this; I am generally such an easy-going, cheerful person.

Though this might get me flamed here, I contacted my OB after the first week of this because I had read that PPD commonly manifests itself as insomnia and anxiety. I didn't want to let it get away from me. As it was, I could barely take care of myself and had little to no interest in taking care of my beautiful little daughter. My OB prescribed me 50 mg Zoloft (antidepressant) and 25 mg Xanax (temporary antianxiety drug, not to be used long-term due to high dependency possibility). She also told me that I couldn't continue pumping/BFing while using Xanax. At that point, I had a major decision to make...and I chose to discontinue the BFing.

Now that I've been on the medication for about two weeks, I feel incredibly better. I didn't feel better immediately, but the Xanax I would take at bedtime did help me sleep. I only took the Xanax for the first 10 days or so; I don't feel I need it any longer. My daughter is bottle-feeding now and doing very well, and I don't feel bad or guilty about it at all, because I feel like I have MYSELF back...my old self...and I am enjoying spending time with her now and taking much better care of her.

If you have to make a decision like I did, please don't feel bad if you choose to put yourself first. You have to be in good health, physically and mentally, in order to take good care of your child. I'm not usually the first person to resort to pharmaceuticals in most situations, but I am glad that I made that call in my case.

Please feel free to PM me if you want to vent or chat or have any questions. And please, please take good care of you.
post #9 of 36
You could argue though that if you feel so much better in 2 weeks of treatment that you didn't need the treatment in the first place.

Also, whilst stopping breastfeeding might have been the right choice for you, statistically it's now been shown the stopping breastfeeding increases rates of depression, not decreases them as some people expected.

Additionally, Xanax isn't completely incompatible with breastfeeding (I just looked it up in Hales), 25mg would probably kill you, so I think you must mean 0.25mg, Hale gives data supporting 0.5mg probably being ok.

So rather than flaming you, I feel sad for you that you probably were not given the most helpful information by your OB, though I don't disagree with the drug treatment she offered, it does take time for SSRIs to work for anxiety, so a temporary anti anxiety drug is a reasonable course of action. I feel sad that she couldn't offer anything but drug treatment, but that's just the world we live in. What concerns me most is that in another month or so, the temporary relief you've got from feeling more rested will have gone and your contentment about the decision about breastfeeding will have changed, the hormonal affect of that will be hitting you etc.

I really hope everything works out well for you, but I don't think at this stage you should consider it a done deal, it's worked out well for you today, but you need more time to see if it works out for you in the bigger picture and because of that I think you should be more cautious about recommending it to others. In choosing to continue to breastfeed or not, most of us are making a decision not for how we'll feel in 2 weeks time, but for the health of mum and baby in the long term and sometimes that will work out to be not breastfeeding.

To the OP, I don't really have anything to add, to the other responses, I slid very quickly, so I was never really in a place where I could consider non doctor options.
post #10 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by annekh23 View Post
So rather than flaming you, I feel sad for you that you probably were not given the most helpful information by your OB, though I don't disagree with the drug treatment she offered, it does take time for SSRIs to work for anxiety, so a temporary anti anxiety drug is a reasonable course of action. I feel sad that she couldn't offer anything but drug treatment, but that's just the world we live in. What concerns me most is that in another month or so, the temporary relief you've got from feeling more rested will have gone and your contentment about the decision about breastfeeding will have changed, the hormonal affect of that will be hitting you etc.
Thanks for the concern. I am completely comfortable with my decision to discontinue breastfeeding and haven't experienced any guilt or other bad feelings about it, despite your suggestion that I will eventually be "discontented" with this choice. I tried it and it didn't work out for me. Simple as that. My daughter is still healthy and happy, and that is what matters to me most.

My aim in sharing my story was to illustrate what worked for me; I wanted to share my personal experience here with the OP. I am aware that what works for one person may not always be the answer for someone else. The OP should take from my story what she finds helpful, and leave the rest.
post #11 of 36
Hi ItHappened.

I had a LOT of anxiety following my son's birth. I think I was suffering from postpartum PTSD due to the traumatic nature of my son's birth. With or without PTSD, severe anxiety does occur postpartum. I was suffering with panic attacks, intrusive thoughts, mood swings, all of which culminated in a nervous breakdown of sorts when my son was 4 months. I think if I had been connected with resources or gotten treatment earlier the nervous breakdown wouldn't have happened and my later PPD would not have been as severe or long-lasting.

I would encourage you to look for a support group in your area. It can be extremely beneficial to talk with other women who have had similar experiences. If you can't find one locally, there are virtual groups online. If you need help locating resources I would be happy to help you there, PM me.

~Dana
post #12 of 36
annekh23 wrote: You could argue though that if you feel so much better in 2 weeks of treatment that you didn't need the treatment in the first place.


SO NOT TRUE. The meds like zoloft work in 2 weeks or less for many people, the xanax works instantly. So yes, it is certain that the meds helped in this case and that the poster who said she felt better DID NEED MEDS.

I felt SO much better in less than 2 weeks on zoloft. In days. For some people, it really does work that fast. Those are usually the people who only need smaller "less than therapeutic" doses.

Good for ANY mom who decides to get the help she needs, whether it's meds or therapy or anything else. It's hard to ask for the help, and no one should be judged for asking for and getting medical help for depression or anxiety or ANY mental illness.
post #13 of 36
ithappened- your symptoms sound pretty severe to me. have your midwife or doctor recommend a psychologist first, and then maybe a psychiatrist if you feel like you need meds on top of counseling. i had pretty major postpartum anxiety. i went through psychotherapy and it helped tremendously. i didn't take medication, but i think things would have improved faster if i had. as it is i'm fine without drugs. the help is out there, please, please take it. there is no reason for you to suffer! i am so happy that i got help (so is my dh). feel free to pm me if you want to talk to someone who has btdt! hugs!
post #14 of 36
Thread Starter 
I'd prefer to not go the meds route if it means I need to stop BFing , , .

I have a doctor appointment in 2 week-ish so at that point I will bring it up, in the meantime I ordered so bach remedy to try.. and I will up my omega-3s
post #15 of 36
there are many pharmaceutical options that do NOT mean you would have to stop breastfeeding. If you have a doc that tells you you have to wean, find another one.
I had severe PPA after #6, almost needed to be hsopitalized, I was pretty much non-functional. It was very frightening for all of us. I ended up taking about three different meds (lexapro daily, xanax as needed and klonopin to help me sleep) from when he was 4 months old-about 18 months and never stopped nursing, with the blessing of my psychiatrist and his pediatrician.
fwiu, doctors in europe aren't quite as liberal with medications and pregnant and nursing women as they are in the US but the information on what is and is not ok is out there (Tom Hales, Medications and Mothers Milk is excellent) and hopefully you can get a doc to read and trust it.
post #16 of 36
YOU DO NOT HAVE TO WEAN TO TAKE MEDS!!!


Sorry, but it is so commonly misunderstood and there are a lot of well-meaning but very misinformed people out there.

Zoloft is very safe while nursing, as are many other meds. Hale's book has a lot of great information and was a source of great comfort to me while I was taking meds and nursing. I took zoloft while nursing ds1, and while pregnant with ds2, and while nursing ds2. I stopped taking it when he was about 15 months old... I am still nursing him at age 2+ .
post #17 of 36
zoloft is completely safe while breastfeeding. if you're thinking about meds talk to a psychiatrist, not just an ob. ob's don't know as much about psychopharmaceuticals as psychiatrists, so they may recommend weaning just to be safe. for me, psychotherapy worked tremendously. she helped me understand when it was appropriate to be anxious, and when it wasn't. after a while i learned the difference between normal anxiety, and abnormal anxiety. it took a long time, but i can honestly say that i have little to no anxiety anymore. so if you really don't want to take meds at least get some therapy. you will be so glad you did!
also cut out all caffeine if you haven't already. nothing makes me anxious like a cup of coffee! hang in there mama. we've all been there!
post #18 of 36
Thread Starter 
with xanax do you need to stop BFing?

at the moment my problem is the bad headaches, overall anxiety/feeling overwhelmed and without support (because with the exception of my DH- we're/I am on my own) and really bad feelings of upset stomachs or knots in my stomach..

My dad is sick which only adds to the stress since they are 16 hrs away..
post #19 of 36
i don't know if xanax is contraindicated while breastfeeding, but from what you've told us, i wouldn't think that xanax would be your first choice. xanax is for the immediate treatment of anxiety. drugs like zoloft take longer to work, but are meant to be used for long periods of time. i would think that a doctor would prescribe zoloft to you, not xanax, but i'm no expert.

try sitting down and writing down everything you are worried about. then grade the worries on a "rational scale". for instance, if you're worried that you'll inadvertantly hurt your baby (i had those sorts of intrusive thoughts) write about it, and give it 1-10 on the rational scale. do this with all of your worries. share these worries with us! we can help you feel better until you can see your doctor.

i'm very sorry about your dad. it must be very hard to be away from your parents, especially when one of them is sick. i hope he heals quickly and completely.
post #20 of 36
xanax is fine, but they will probably give you ativan instead, which is a little bit safer, I think it has a shorter half-life.

I was given ativan when I first got my zoloft prescription because ativan works instantly where the zoloft will take days to weeks to kick in.

Both are very very safe. Talk to a pdoc (psychiatrist)... they know much more about psych meds than an OB.
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