Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Rage: The Unspoken Symptom of Postpartum Depression

I remember vividly the day I finally learned that rage is a symptom of PPD. I read an article posted by a favorite FB page of mine and it was like the clouds parted and angels sang on high. Until then, I had NO idea that my rage was a result of anything other than my husband being an asshole. Or was he? Was anything as asshole-y as I thought? I couldn't have PPD. I mean, I was so blissfully enamored with my son. I didn't feel sad, cry uncontrollably, feel apathy toward or want to hurt my son. I was pissed off, though. I could've cheerfully choked out my husband most days of the week for the better part of a year. Now, in fairness, this was not the first period of time I was miffed at my husband and it was surely not going to be the last, but my feelings during this time were not the same. The intensity of the rage I felt for him was terribly real and strong.

Upon researching this finding further, I decided to head to a therapist. After the first session, she diagnosed me with both PPD and PPA (postpartum anxiety, which is also not talked about nearly enough) and suggested I talk to my doctor about getting a prescription for meds to help while we continued with talk therapy.

The effects of the Zoloft were almost immediate. No longer did I feel violent urges which I painfully admit I sometimes acted out on in a way I could not control at the time. No longer did I feel inexplicably furious the moment my husband walked in the door after work and every time I saw his face or even thought of him in the other room. The black cloud lifted from me and it was glorious.

Unfortunately, it took longer for it to lift from our marriage. The effects of my PPD on my husband have taken years to heal and fade. Still, there are times when he struggles with wrapping his brain around my rage being an effect of an illness as opposed to me just having been a terrible person.

We must speak about this. It's a silent symptom not because it doesn't present itself, but because we're more ashamed of it than we are of the other symptoms...and that's saying something, since PPD is still seen as shameful, thus we're silent about it. If you're feeling rage during the postpartum period, you are not alone. I am here as a testament to that. I am also here to tell you that there is help. You are not a bad person, you can get relief, you are not being judged.

I ask you to share this far and wide. I ask this not as a means of self-promotion, but in effort to spread the word, to get it out there to that one person who is on the brink of destruction because she doesn't know what she doesn't know. Help her. You can help her.