I'm going through postpartum depression for the eighth time. However, this time I am very greatly benefiting from my past blog posts. I found that Satan has tried the same tricks on me over and over and over again. But this time I've had my blog posts to remind me that it's happening. They have also helped me to remember the lessons that I've learned in the past and to apply them to my life right now. I've been wanting to write a sleep chapter for a long time (because I know that sleep disturbances and lack of sleep can cause PPD), so I have done some research on how sleep, or the lack of sleep, affects postpartum mood disorders. It has been quite intriguing. Sleep disturbances and deprivation cause and aggravate the already delicate balance of Estrogen to Progesterone, as well as the thyroid hormones and ones that are associated with satiety and growth. I knew how important sleep was before, but I'm finding out that perhaps it's even a little more important then I realized. But now as well as in times past, I am left with the question, "so, how do I get more sleep?"
Lessons learned: getting enough sleep usually takes more sacrifice, prioritizing and prayers then I want to, but it is always worth it when I put forth the effort to do a bedtime routine (started early), calm down before bed, and don't get too stressed out during the night. It's important to wake up with a prayer in my heart, praying for the sleep that I got to be enough sleep for the day.
Some great news about the postpartum experience this time is that because of the new perspectives and knowledge that I have gained, through study, faith, journaling, temple attendance, prayer and blogging, I have fewer issues with taking supplements for hormone balancing. The trouble before, and I suppose with many other experiences, is that I (we) get into a place with the hormone imbalance where it is so easy for us to hear Satan's voice. We are also in a weakened state physically, and mentally because of the sleep deprivation, that we don't feel strong enough to withstand the fiery darts of Satan. And, the last things he is going to tell us to do is to believe in Jesus Christ, think with common sense, and fix the hormone imbalance, and get more sleep, exercise, water, resist junk food, eat great foods, etc.… so we run into the very discouraging thoughts, "I am so evil, and I never seem to get anything right... I thought I worked through this yesterday.... Why can't I just get over it?" We may think that we have caused our feelings of unworthiness by our actions or lack of, and so deserve to be feeling this way, so we don't consider medication or supplements to be something that would help us.
Ignoring anything that IS a real problem can turn into a bigger problem though, so here is a suggestion on how to take medication or supplements and prevent the feeling or thought that you are not just frosting coating your problems. Before you get on the hormone balancer, write down your mental problems that you can't seem to solve while not on the meds/supplements. Include in-law issues, feeding problems, health problems, issues with your husband, anger issues, problems with children, with society, testimony, house work, money, etc... Then after going on the meds/supplements, you will hopefully start feeling better quickly, but after a week or two, evaluate your problem list, praying first to know which problems you still need to deal with, and which one to start with. Create a journal entry (or several) about this, your experience, the problems you need to address and how you will address them. Remember that God is on your side as well as on the side of everyone you are having problems with. He loves us all more deeply than we can understand.