Moms, have you heard of postpartum panic disorder? Read about one mom’s experience with this condition and how it can affect your child.
What can you read in this article?
- How she struggled with postpartum depression
- What is postpartum panic disorder?
Hi Mommies! I am Krisha, a 28-year old first-time mom. I gave birth to my baby boy four days after the start of the pandemic, and I am a fighter mom suffering from postpartum depression (PPD).
A few weeks after I gave birth, I noticed that there was something strange about how I was acting or behaving. I become more temperamental and I just wanted to sleep! Somehow, I couldn’t accept the reality that I am already a mom.
Struggles of being a hands-on mom and overcoming PPD
One of the things that added to my struggle with PPD was that I was also exclusively breastfeeding my baby at that time. I wanted to sleep, but the round-the-clock demands of breastfeeding did not allow me to do so. The lack of sleep caused my depression to get worse.
Sadly, my baby also suffered as a result of my depression and poor health. He lost so much weight, so we decided to supplement my breast milk with formula milk.
My husband helped me as I struggled with PPD. He taught me to do breathing exercises when I was feeling angry, so I was able to manage my depression for a few months.
On my baby’s 6th month, I went to my OB-Gynecologist for a check-up and to ask about medicine for my hypertension. She told me I can already stop drinking it because my blood pressure is normal. I breathed a sigh of relief and happiness after hearing it.
But the happiness was quickly replaced by fear and apprehension because of the PORK SISIG. Yes, you read it right. That’s the reason why I suffered from postpartum panic disorder.
Image from iStock
After I ate pork sisig, my blood pressure went up again to 160/100. I panicked because I drank my last medicine the night before. So I told my husband that we should go to the hospital. When we got to the to emergency room, they gave me medicine and told me to relax.
To be honest, in my mind I was thinking that maybe that was the end for me. But after few hours, the ER staff prescribed some prescribed medicines and we were sent home.
The days after that were tough; every day was a test, thinking about how I can eat and act normal. Eating was a huge challenge for me at that time. I only eat three tablespoons of rice for lunch, one piece of bread for dinner, and sometimes I only ate half of it and just drink a lot of water to feel full.
Living in constant panic: I cry every time I’m scared. My baby suffered from my situation.
I cried every time I was scared. I panicked when I felt my body softening and my neck getting heavy. But the worst part was my baby suffered again from my situation.
He urinated blood and fainted because his breast milk was being affected and he wasn’t able to feed much. I felt so guilty. I cried a lot. But as a mom, I told myself that I needed to be strong; I can overcome this.
I decided to open an online business, talk to my friends, and watching videos on YouTube just to entertain and divert my attention to other things.
After two months, I still have postpartum depression, but I was able to manage it. That was until my hypertension shot up again, at I got a panic attack due to overfatigue because of the business, housework, and breastfeeding. I felt cold, weak, and dizzy as if I was about to faint. I took medicine, but it made me even dizzier until my hands turned white.
Thank God because my husband was working from home at that time so he took care and looked after our baby.
For the whole day, I just laid down, checked my blood pressure from time to time, and kept praying and crying. My baby was looking at me, his eyes were telling me that he wants me to put him to sleep, but I can’t because I was too scared to move.
The next day, I went to my doctor (internal medicine) for a check-up. I told her everything that happened and she gave a request for lab tests. The results were okay; my hypertension was not back, but my potassium was low.
I took medicine for a week and got my blood tested again. The result was still low so I continued to take the medication for another week. Everything was back to normal with my blood work on the third week.
But despite that, I was still in constant panic mode. Every time I would feel weak, I would panic and that would cause my blood pressure to shoot up.
Technically it was in the normal range, but for me, this was still a reason to panic so I would bring myself to the emergency room. I wash rushed to the ER four times and the nurses would always say, “Mommy okay lahat ng lab tests mo, ang 120/90 is normal.”
But I couldn’t help it. Every time I felt weak, I would instantly panic. I would either go to the hospital or schedule an online consultation with my doctor. They would tell me that I’m okay.
How postpartum panic disorder affected my well-being
Actually, two doctors already prescribed me an anti-depressant, but I opted not to take them. Why? I didn’t want to know how it would affect me, because if I do, I might stop fighting what I’m feeling and just rely on my medicine. I was afraid of going overdose.
So to make sure everything is normal, I have lab tests done every month.
Because of my depression, I had acid reflux, which paved the way for me to discover that I had polyps in my gallbladder. Thankfully, no surgery was needed. But with my depression and postpartum panic disorder, I felt that I was always sick. That diseases are always around.
Because I was afraid to get a panic attack, I refrained from eating pork or any oily food for a year. My husband teases me about it, calling me a “kambing” because I would only eat leafy vegetables. But still, I would get panic attacks.
I shouldn’t feel tired, excited, stressed, angry, or even sleepy, because whenever I feel those things, I would feel weak, start panicking and my blood pressure would rise again. My husband told me I should control it, but it’s easier said than done.
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Good thing I had a friend who suggested that I become a mommy influencer. At first, I didn’t want to because I was shy and didn’t believe in myself, but decided that there’s no harm in trying.
So I turned my blog into my business page, joined other mommy groups, and most of all, I became active on theAsianparent app and applied as a VIP parent.
TAP was a huge help because I feel relaxed and entertained every time I read the articles, kept myself busy answering questions and polls, and most of all, engaging on special missions and watching live, informative videos.
I also met a lot of fellow moms and connected with them. I got a lot of help from them when it comes to finding success in the industry I am in.
Of course, I couldn’t get by without my family’s support. My husband who is so patient with me, and my baby, the very reason why I keep on fighting. Most of all, God is my constant refuge in everything I am going through.
So to the moms who are in the same boat, know that you are not alone in this fight. Kaya natin to!
What is postpartum panic disorder?
According to the website Postpartum Depression.org, postpartum panic disorder is a clinical mental health condition that women may experience a few months after giving birth.
Unlike PPD, postpartum panic disorder is a triggered condition that results in excessive worry, fear, and anxiety as opposed to depression and sadness.
Because women who just gave birth, specifically first-time moms are expected to feel worried and anxious over so many things about motherhood, postpartum panic disorder often goes misdiagnosed and underreported.
In our society, mothers are just expected to grin and bear it and just “ignore” or dismiss any feelings that affect their mental health. But like we discovered in Mommy Krisha’s story, this condition is serious and if ignored, may be detrimental to one’s health and well-being.
Here are the main signs and symptoms of someone suffering from postpartum panic disorder:
- Difficulty in concentrating and remembering things
- Having trouble completing tasks
- Getting easily distracted
- Being indecisive
- Difficulty in relaxing and sleeping
- Loss of appetite
- Overwhelming and excessive anxiety, worry and fear
- Feeling sick often
- Avoiding things out of fear that something bad will happen
- Being easily agitated or irritable
- Agitation and irritability
- Suicidal thoughts or attempts
- Panic attacks
Like any clinical mental disorder, the first step to getting better is getting the help you need.
If you have just given birth recently and are experiencing the symptoms above, don’t hesitate to talk to your OB-Gynecologist about what you’re going through.