Updated: Feb 8, 2021
It started with nightmares and progressed to midnight panic attacks in about 3 nights. It wasn't long after that I woke up to the real-life monster, and it felt like I'd gone to hell. My body that had just brought this amazing bit of life into the world had seemingly betrayed me. I would not recover for decades, and as of today, I am still on a journey toward healing.
One of my earliest and deepest desires was to bring a child into the world and love it unconditionally in a way I was not. I wanted to be a mother who respected the individual I was deliberately bringing into this world, knowing that I would never treat it as a thing I owned. And I had fallen in love with the man who was meant to be on this journey with me. I believed in the healing power of bringing new life into the world with someone you love. We were embarking on a grand adventure that would benefit our new little family and the whole wide world!
You gotta love hormones, right? Hormones. Remember that word. You'll need it later.
It's 1991, the Internet is now available for commercial use, and the number of computers on the net reaches 1 million. Microsoft releases MS-Dos 5.0. The Ice covering the Arctic has decreased by 2% in the last 10 years, Tropical Rainforest shrinks by 1% annually as a result of human activities, and I'm pregnant!
It's great to be alive. I'm the healthiest I have been in a while. I'm enjoying the PERFECT pregnancy, and I trust my terrific Ob-gyn implicitly, whom I have a bit of a crush on.
I'm in love with my husband and over-the-moon about the family we are about to create. I have nothing left but to get my baby birthed and enjoy the fruits of my labor (Pun INTENDED!).
Fast forward to bringing our little nugget home. In just a matter of days adjusting to life with baby, I started waking up in the middle of the night hyperventilating and in a physical state of complete panic. I felt intense fear. Trembling, sweating, and crying.
It took several hours each night to get back to sleep with the hugs and support from my husband. Amazingly, the baby was sleeping 6 hours a night. Yet I felt like I was never going to feel normal again.
My Ob-gyn called it postpartum anxiety caused by . . . you got it . . . hormones. Just 6 months on antidepressants, he said, and I'd be back to my old self. Simple, right?
Antidepressants for hormone changes?
Today, most media outlets describe the causes of PPD as a laundry list of mental health conditions. Conditions that point to personal or familial mental health symptoms that tend to run in families. Although no scientific proof has shown causality, it may explain susceptibility. Overall, mental health seems to be the first line of diagnosis and treatment. And treatment is understood to be antidepressants. (Read my previous articles to understand the dangers and efficacy of antidepressants to discuss with your doctor.)
If you've read any of my earlier articles, you know I like to keep digging until something makes sense. Not a single media outlet has mentioned hormones as a cause of PPD. Until I find an academic website stating PPD is thought to be caused by an abrupt decrease in hormone levels after having a baby. This can lead to the development of postpartum depression in susceptible women. AND IT IS A PERFECTLY NORMAL RESPONSE.
Postpartum depression (PPD) is a profoundly individual experience and is a wide-spread global issue. It is a universally female experience, although a small percent of men report feelings of PPD as well. Once a woman is 'diagnosed' with PPD, she is considered by the Mental Health Industrial Complex as clinically depressed. A diagnosis that, in most cases, resolves on its own in 3 - 6 months. There are exceptions, of course. A small fraction takes longer or can be quite severe.
In an earlier article, I wrote that antidepressants have yet to show in studies efficacy beyond a short time. Coincidently, the same amount of time most PPD cases resolve on their own.
So, why are we prescribing dubious medications that stop working after a short period and are incredibly challenging and potentially life-threatening to stop them?
Money. Big Money. Big Pharma.
For some, it becomes a lifetime of taking medication that can cause debilitating and sometimes life-long side effects even after stopping. Antidepressants work directly on your central nervous system. Think of COVID long-haulers -- the virus is attacking the nervous system and other body systems. A medication that directly affects the central nervous system can also cause long-term chronic symptoms.
Your prescriber may be casual about prescribing antidepressants and antipsychotics, but you should not be. Buyer beware.
**'Mental Health' is a concept created by pharmaceutical companies, psychiatric academics, clinical psychiatrists, and the American Psychiatric Association (APA). The APA is a professional organization of psychiatrists and trainee psychiatrists in the United States, the largest psychiatric organization globally, and the official Author of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) originated in 1952.
Sources for this article and further reading.
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/12/books/pharma-gerald-posner.html (Book Review: PHARMA: Greed, Lies, and the Poisoning of America, by Gerald Posner)