Dealing With Depression on My Terms

– Skinny Mom –

Editor’s note: The following article is written by a Skinny Mom Resident Mom. The Resident Mom program gives a voice to our readers, allowing moms across the world to contribute content to Skinny Mom. If you’re interested in becoming a Resident Mom, click here to apply [1].

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Depression can come in many forms. Mine happened to be postpartum depression [4] aggravated by deployment to the Middle East when my youngest was only five months old. I was heavier than I felt comfortable with, missed my children, and was far, far from home with a significant time difference and often spotty means of communication.

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At first I tried the Nutella and avoidance method and, while it was delicious, I packed on weight — which aggravated my self-image problems, causing me to spiral even further. Comfort foods may make one feel good for a very short period of time; however, the addition of several thousand excess calories a day does nothing good for the waistline. In addition to the jarred candy, I threw myself into my work pulling 18- to 20-hour days. The lack of sleep also made matters worse. I did this for about three weeks until one of the ladies with me intervened. She saw that even though I put on a happy face when others were around, something was not right.

>> Read more: How to Cope With Postpartum Depression [4]

She and I weren’t close (yet) but she did make sense. I was headed for a breakdown and needed to change something. So I tried hitting the gym, an improvement for sure, but lifting weights with just my thoughts wasn’t really my thing. I talked in confidence to my boss (our medical provider) about what was going on. But I still had to walk a fine line because at that time depression in military service could be a career-ending taboo. I needed a support group but it had to be a very trustworthy one. My boss, my intervener and my roommate were the only people I felt safe confiding in. I went to chapel; I meditated; I wrote hundreds of letters to my girls telling them how much I loved them; I tried new things: yoga, Zumba, softball; I racked up as many hours on Skype as possible; I reacquainted myself with a heavy bag, P90X and Insanity; I got more sleep; I ate better. I did everything that any website or “expert” thought might exorcise my demons and my recently expanded waistline.

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Photo Courtesy of Rachel Turner