Postpartum OCD Update

Postpartum OCD Update

Hey Everyone!

I just want to give a quick update on how things are coming along in my journey with postpartum OCD. Ugh, I hate even typing that out because I feel like it brings judgement. But I do want to share because I am learning so much and if my experience can help someone else then I know I need to speak up. I have been seeing a therapist to help me sort my thoughts and make sense of everything and it’s really been helping! I felt so much better even after my first couple of visits because it was such a relief to know that this is actually pretty common and all of the things that I have been experiencing are just symptoms of the condition. From my understanding, OCD is something that you have always have (genetic) and then it “flairs up” when you experience trauma, sudden change in your life, or hormonal changes (like pregnancy). It’s due to a malfunction in the amygdala. This doesn’t mean that you are crazy. Very intelligent and high functioning people have OCD. It’s actually an anxiety disorder. The person without OCD and the person with OCD both have “creative thoughts” pop into their head. Like if you are waiting on a train, it is very normal for someone to think “what if I jumped in front of that train?” But where the person without OCD just dismisses it as a passing thought, the person with OCD is unable to let go of the thought and starts to believe that they will in fact jump in front of the train at some point. To protect themselves from jumping in from of the train, they may avoid trains at all costs and have extreme fear and anxiety every time they hear a train. There becomes this obsession over the train and how to avoid it.

I know it sounds crazy, but I was so relieved to talk about these things. Just understanding how the brain works and that these thoughts have no relevance was such a weight off my chest. I realized I have had thoughts and obsessions like this throughout my whole life and the eating disorders were ways of coping. This is all fascinating to me. I am glad that I made the decision to get help and I hope that if you are struggling with your thoughts postpartum (or anytime) that you decide to get help as well!

Here are the steps I am taking right now to manage my postpartum OCD. I am not currently on medication. I told my therapist that I wanted to wait to see what I could do without medication and then if I felt I needed it in the future I will try it then. For now, here is what I am doing.

Taking Every Thought Captive-

 IMG_20170727_123544

As a Christian it is important for me to pray for discernment and take every thought captive anyway.

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1

For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds. 2 Corinthians 11:13-15

But when I am constantly dealing with intrusive thoughts due to a faulty amygdala, it’s REALLY important for me to know how God speaks to me because if I was to just ‘go with my gut” or “listen to my heart” I could end up someplace I’m not supposed to be!

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9

Feelings lie all the time. Even though it has been such a terrifying and exhausting experience dealing with OCD, I am thankful for it because it has brought me closer to the Lord and deep into His word. When the storm is raging in my mind, I know that I can stand firm on God’s word. God speaks to us through His word. That’s why it’s so important to know it! Do you know it?

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. Hebrews 1:1-2

But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. John 15:7

God speaks to us through His word. Whether you deal with OCD or not, this is paramount to know so that you are not just believing your own thoughts and feelings all the time.

Staying Off the Internet

IMG_20170727_124603

There is a lot of good on the internet but it’s also like shopping at Ross, you have to sort through the crap. A person with OCD can Google themselves into oblivion looking for answers to the endless questions in their mind. It’s a black hole. For me, I have decided to refrain from any searching for help online. It just adds to the confusion and overwhelm.

Keeping a Healthy Diet and Exercising

IMG_20170727_123952

Keeping my blood sugar stable and getting some mood boosting exercise in each day is crucial right now. These are two things that are good for me anyway that when kept in check help the management of postpartum OCD all the more. I am also supplementing with vitamin B12 and D.

Sleeping

I’m sure if you have dealt with any sort of postpartum depression, anxiety, or OCD, you know the drastic difference in the way you think when you have had enough sleep and when you haven’t. I am thankful that Anna is sleeping through the night now and am taking full advantage. It’s one thing to push yourself, but you have to be wise. I make sure to get at least 7 hours of sleep each night.

Cutting Myself Some Slack

I am feeling SO MUCH better. But there are still good days and bad days. It takes a physical toll. Sometimes I feel like my heart is going to jump out of my chest and other times I feel like my heart is about to stop because I am just so fatigued. I have to cut myself some slack and know that this won’t be forever and I am taking the steps that need to be taken. But all in all, I am thankful for this time, I’m fascinated at how our minds work, and I am learning so much! I will keep you updated on my progress.

Thank you so much for being so kind and supportive sweet friends. I hope you are well, but if you aren’t, reach out!  You will be so glad you did.

Blessings,
Angela

 

 

 

 

14 thoughts on “Postpartum OCD Update

  1. Angela, I didn’t realize. I had shut down from site for awhile as I just needed the break. A personal thing. I was starting to go nuts with food, exercise, lack of it, on and on. Still not feeling it but am trying to regroup. Anyways, sorry I have not been here to be supportive to you. I know how much of an aid support can be. And, you certainly have offered and delivered to us all. Don’t feel alone. I guess we can all figure we are in the same condition as we all have the same tendencies to a degree. We all put ourselves through hell (sorry if offensive to anyone) with our mission or attempt to do whatever. Diet, exercise, etc. To be perfect or to be a total success at everything all the time is really overrated. Yes, we all want to be, not all can be. And is it really important ? IS IT REALLY IMPORTANT ?? I guess that is why I ended up going on a little break from everything. Is it important to stay focused ? Yes, it is. Is it important to be watchful of health, fitness and quality of our food source ? Yes, it is. BUT, should we let it become a factor of win or fail ? No, that is, I believe, when we have gone to far. I have so many times regretted eating a specific food or regretted not exercising. Ashamed of my clothing size or the number on the scale. So many times, letting that actually mold me into believing I was a failure. Not healthy ! NOT AT ALL !! So, I stopped all the madness. Have I put on weight ? Yes. Have I lost my muscle that I worked hard to build ? Yes. Do I feel “YUCK” ? Yes. Yes to all of these questions is not really the best answer. BUT, it is what I needed to do. I was heading to a “something” (obsession) and it was taking over. Even if I Was not a success at each thing, I still was obsessive about it. Make sense ? Obsessions can be good and obsessions can be bad. Motivation shall replace obsession.
    I must run, but, I hope my rambling confusing words made some type of sense. Remember, you are great as you are. You are a loving, kind and providing Mom, Wife, Daughter and Friend. Don’t think you need to be more.
    On a personal note, I am glad I read this today. A bit unrelated to my current obstacle, but on the terms of obsessions, my daughters 18 year classmate, a more recent best friend of hers took her life Saturday. Devastation and total sadness lies with her family, friends and community. Unfortunate not to be able to overcome what ailed her and not able to rationalize. This is why I make statement that ~ WE ARE ALL GREAT JUST AS WE ARE ! WE SHOULD NOT FEEL WE NEED TO BE ANYTHING MORE THAN WHO WE ARE. (Unless of course you are a horrible, dangerous person). Life needs to take a step back for most. We, as people, are actually driving ourselves crazy.

    Hugs to you Miss Angela. Talk soon.

    1. Mary how sad. How crushing for the parents. Let’s keep the lines of communication wide open with our kids! In this day of so much technology I think we all likely are missing the personal undistracted conversations of the days without text, email & FaceTime. You know a loving glance…a caring hug…a teasing jab…sharing a deep belly laugh. Hope you have a simple meaningful day Mary. Xoxoxoxox

    2. Oh my gosh, Mary. I hate so muc that I am responding to this so late. I am so so sorry for the loss you all are experiencing. How horribly awful. Prayers for the family and friends. Ugh, such sad news.
      Mary, I hear you on taking a break! Those of us that do this healthy llifestyle thing on a regular basis, we tend to get carried away. The good thing is that if you are anything like me, when you decide to take a break it’s still not HORRIBLE eating. We just have habits in place now that keep us halfway on the wagon at all times. So “falling off the wagon” isn’t really. This little group of ours has to go back to basics all the time. That’s ok! That’s why we have each other. There is always ONE of us sticking to basics and acting as a good influence. I love that we are all ike minded but all a little different. Keeps it interesting. I hope you are feeling better sweet friend. You are so kind and loving and definitely a support to me. I love you ladies! Thank you so much for all of the support and I am so glad that I can give any back in return. Have a wonderful day Mary!!! xoxoxox

  2. I’m happy to hear your getting the support you need. Our bodies talk to us all the time good for you for listening.
    My mind wanders back to the crazy days when I was a young mom…I had a 3week mat. leave…us small business owners just adapt by hauling the baby to work & winging each day as they came. Luckily customers, employees & family all love babies…seems like everyone loves to help out a battling mom. Another mom will always understand the frazzled moments.
    Xoxoxoxox
    Just think some women do this baby thing 7-10 plus times!!!!!!

    1. Thank you so much Heather! You are right about that, it’s shouts sometimes and you have no choice lol.
      Oh my gosh, could you imagine/! My great grandmother had 12!! 12!!! I think I would end up in a straight jacket lol.
      3 week maternity leave?? My mouth is open.
      Thanks so much for you kind words sweet friend. xoxox
      Hope you are well. It is cooler down here today so I bet you all have jackets on up there!

  3. Awe, Hang in there…I was diagnosed with OCD after my pregnancy with my second child, but that was because I finally acknowledged it. I have had it since high school. I went through counseling and do so much better with it. I have to be so careful when things get stressful or big changes happen because it is always there. I suffer specifically from contamination OCD where I deem the world around me (including people) as safe and not safe. I can say it is so hard sometimes.

    Just wanted to share (and not necessarily make it all about me) that you aren’t alone. OCD is a tough road. People that walk around saying, “I am so OCD about…” have no idea. That isn’t how it works. It is debilitating and so hard. But it does get better. I have mine down to science. I use exercise to help ease my symptoms a lot and help me deal with stress and what not so that I can feel more in control.

    Please know I am here. You can email anytime (mommyrhetoric@gmail.com). Keep living your truth and I appreciate reading it.

    1. Mommyrhetoric, our stories are so similar! Thank you so much for sharing! And you have to make it all about you because no one talks about this and all you can do is share your experience and hope you are helping someone. But that’s the only way they will know what is going on with them is if we all share so you are doing right!
      I love that you said what you did about “I am so OCD” because I think we get this idea that it is just about handwashing and being overly organized and that is in part what makes it so hard for us to figure out what’s going on. Thank you so much for this comment and for you email. Same here friend, ateal@outlook.com .
      Hope you are well and having a great start to your week!
      Angela

  4. I suffered from Post-Pardum Adoption. I had no idea it was even a thing! I had always had issues with OCD. Recently a site reached out to me, and they have an app that is REALLY helpful for OCD. Here is a link if you think it may help!

    http://m.treatmyocd.com/MaeHagan

    Also, definitely followed! I think we have a lot in common!

  5. I had really nasty postpartum depression and anxiety after my son. I lost 20 pounds in two weeks, and spent the whole day crying. I literally had a complete break down from ice rattling in a cup. Trust me you are in good company. No judgement here, my friend.
    You are so eloquent in your thoughts. I was so muddled back then, I couldn’t have put it into words nearly as well as you have with your struggles. If you ever need someone to talk or prayers just let me know!

    1. Ugh, girl I feel you! My friend and I say it is just hilarious how losing weight is always SO hard until you go through horrible stress. You poor thing, I get it though! You get so terrified you can stand to eat! That’s what happened to me anyway.
      And thank you but I definitely wasn’t very eloquent when it was at it’s worst. I went back and deleted some of the posts that I made from back then because they were so weird lol. Thank you for your prayers and I am praying for you too! Thank you SO much for speaking out. I am going to go follow your blog. It’s so important for women to know what it going on. It’s hard enough when you do know what’s going on but absolutely debilitating when you don’t. It must be talked about.

      1. Oh my gosh, yes!!! I got a ton of compliments after I had him about how quickly I lost the weight. And I was like uhhhh its from not eating or sleeping. Lol
        It was a super hard time and I am really glad it is behind me!!! Now I can actually enjoy my time with my son. Amazing what asking for help does for your life!
        Aww thank you! I JUST started doing this so I have one post. 😉 Yes! It definitely needs to be talked about more. It is such a hush hush subject and it needs more women like you who are brave enough to share! Same for miscarriage. I have never experienced one myself, but I feel like that needs a bigger platform too.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s