Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

Postpartum Progress: Guilt and Postpartum Depression

I am a twin, that is true. But after I read I am convinced that I am a twin twice over. Or as she puts it, I have a “sister from another mister.” Because man oh man, do we have a lot in common. Among a number of things:

  • Surviving a perinatal mood/anxiety disorder
  • Not being the kind of mom that does the kind of activities you’d find in Family Fun magazine, like this one or this one or this one
  • Having an infant with colic, chronic ear infections and an inability to nap
  • Experiencing the bizarro world of inpatient hospitalization
  • Having to escape a “Pharma King” psychiatrist who prescribed way too many medications and made matters worse
  • Being attacked by people who believe that psychotropic medication is the personification of Satan and/or that mental illness does not exist
  • Disliking the book “The Secret” and Chuck E Cheese

Among other great questions, Katherine asked me this on guilt:


Question: In the book you point out what I think a lot of moms with PPD have: guilt over the fact that they are so sad and miserable when their lives aren’t that bad to compared to people in Cambodia. Did you therapist or psychiatrist give you any good tools to deal with that? We all know the phrase “everything is relative”, but I’m not sure that’s enough.

I answered: Another good question. You know, the thing that has helped me the most is to imagine a little boy skinning his knee, and he hurts, and wants a bandage. Would you go over to the little boy and say, “People are starving in China, so no band-ad for you, you little brat”? Of course not. A fever of 103 doesn’t make the fever of 102 feel comfortable. I have no idea what it feels like to live in a third-world country, but I do know that almost a million people kill themselves (global figure) every year, that suicide is the second leading cause of death in females ages 15 to 40, and that the World Health Organization estimates that depression will be the second most debilitating illness by 2020. If it wasn’t so painful, people would not be taking their lives. I remember those stats. I remember that one person in every five people diagnosed with bipolar disorder kills herself.

Click here to read the entire interview.

  • Althea

    Therese, Thank you for this post. I have not gotten beyond feeling guilty for being alive and so forth, so your having given me this perspective is a new view for me. I am not bi-polar that I know of and I do experince PTSD, which includes my fair share of depression, however in my search to deal with depression, I find Beyond Blue so helpful with my day to day life.
    So, to take what you have said to the next level for me, why would I withhold being kind and compassionate with myself and my (inner) kids when all are hurting? What a great area to allow into my life today.
    Again, Thank you so much for your courage and your sharing.

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