Postpartum Depression - Could Ankylosing Spondylitis Spur It On

Yesterday was my yearly checkup. I always dread going for it but I love my doctor.
She helped me through some of the lowest times in my life. She delivered all three of my children. After my third child, I slipped into a deep, dark, postpartum depression.
My doctor isn’t like typical doctors, who never share their vulnerabilities. In her past she has had two nervous breakdowns. Some people in my community, ask how can you trust a doctor who has such a history? Thankfully, there is a lot of people in our community who views her breakdowns as I do. It’s a strength in my opinion, my dr doesn’t try to hide her struggles. She is not a robot. Life and issues affect her just as it does her patients. She has no problem sitting and really talking to her patients. She doesn’t only read her patients medical charts, she knows their families and cares.
When I experienced my postpartum depression, she sat and listened to all my worries and fears. She wasn’t like my family members who said, “Snap out of it! You have a baby to take care of, you can’t be sad with such a sweet bundle.” Those comments didn’t help me in the least. I knew I had a precious gift. I knew I had to care for my sweet baby. I knew I should be happy. I didn’t know why such a hopelessness filled my every thought.
At the time I had my child, my unbeknownst autoimmune disease, ankylosing spondylitis hit with a fury. My hands continually felt like I had very thick gloves on them. Feeling my child felt distant and I feared I would drop him due to this odd sensation.
It was a scary, hopeless, overwhelming, panic stricken, feeling that never subsided twenty four hours a day. I finally called my dr, she had me come in immediately. She had instructed her front desk, I was not to sit in the waiting room, but instead be taken to an exam room as soon as I arrived. She came into see me as soon as she finished the patient she was in examining.
She knew the feelings I was experiencing. She shared with tear filled eyes, that I spoke of the life she’d faced not once but twice. She sat with me probably an hour, even though I’m sure all her exam rooms were filled with waiting patients. She told me of what she’d been told in counseling. She discussed the types of medications that can be used to treat depression. She explained side effects. She discussed how counseling could be beneficial for me. It was such a comfort to have someone who really, fully understood.
If any of you experience any type of depression, I highly urge you to seek treatment. Don’t wait, don’t postpone. It is so important to value yourself enough to get the help you need. I know sometimes there is a stigmatism to mental health issues but ignore these outdated opinions. There is help for you. There is happiness out there for you.
One thing my doctor told me that I will forever remember is…..
“I know right now each minute feels like a lifetime, but one day you will look back on this time of struggle and you will see it was just a blip, a tiny fraction of time, in what will have been a lifetime of happiness”
Wishing each of you a stress free, day of happiness!
As always,
Fighting my body daily

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