DEPRESSION, ANXIETY, BIPOLAR
(I wrote this article about 2 years ago.)
The story you are about to read is one that is so incredibly personal that I could not even begin to explain just how much. I’m not even sure that I will be able to release this but, I guess if you’re out there reading it then I have finally reached that point of bravery for myself. Why is it that mental illness has such a stigma attached to it? Why can it not be seen as something just as debilitating and awful as any other disease? Why are people suffering from it looked down upon or classified as weak, yet a person with cancer is not? Is it due to lack of public education on the subject? Or lack of experience? Is it something that we should feel shameful about?
January of 2008 I discovered I was pregnant with my son Owen. We had planned for a second child but were surprised to have conceived so quickly. Our daughter Isabella had just turned one in December, we were just closing on our new home, all while adjusting to new job facilities. It was a stressful time period for us. We lost our beloved dog Bear unexpectedly in March and a very dear friend to ALS that April. My pregnancy was moving along in text book fashion. I was healthy, the baby was healthy. Outwardly I had the appearance of the typical glowing pregnant woman. Inwardly, a shift was occurring. Storm clouds were brewing behind my dark brown eyes. Feelings of quick irritation and sadness and panic and despair were building. I couldn’t control any of them. I tried to talk myself out of it. My happy anticipation at becoming a mother for the second time was becoming a distant memory that I was struggling to hold onto. I couldn’t just snap out of it, or toughen up like suggested. I felt like I was swirling, spiraling and being involuntarily dragged down a dark hole of despair. Then the panic attacks started. The first one caught me so off guard it left my head spinning. I was at work and received a text from our babysitter to take Izzy to the pool. I immediately said yes thinking she would love it and never once thinking she wouldn’t be completely and utterly safe and protected. About an hour later my mood changed in an instant as sheer terror and panic washed over me. I started having irrational thoughts, convinced that she would drown or be taken by some stranger. It bothered me enough that I had to leave work. On my way home, about a mile from my house came the crushing blows of panic and anxiety. I felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest. I couldn’t breathe, couldn’t catch my breath or even take a much needed deep breath. It was like being held in a bear hug, minus the affection. I was in a cold sweat, shaking, heart racing, terror and dread running through my whole body. I pulled my car over and tried to let it pass. It took what seemed like forever but mostly it did. It was a truly awful feeling that words cannot begin to describe. This was to be the first of several panic attacks.
So here comes the part that’s hard for me to talk about, even now six years later. Around the six month mark in my pregnancy I started contending with feelings of not wanting my baby. We had found out he was a boy which I should have felt overjoyed about. I always wanted to have at least one of each. I was getting my wish! Why couldn’t I feel happy about that? Guilt kicked in over upsetting Izzy with having to share attention with another sibling. Yet another irrational thought. I kept trying to assure myself that I too was the oldest of three and loved my brothers dearly and never felt like I lacked attention growing up because of it. I did not wish Owen harm but couldn’t fathom having another child. I know many people have felt these same feelings upon having a second or third child, but mine went to a whole other depth. The thought of it consumed me and left me reeling from several other panic attacks. I was ashamed of myself for feeling this way and didn’t feel brave enough to talk about it. I kept it inside trying to push it further down, trying to convince myself that I wasn’t going crazy. Finally my husband and mother sat me down and told me I needed to talk to my doctor about it. Reluctantly I agreed. My doctor diagnosed me with perinatal depression and anxiety disorder. She said that it’s basically postpartum depression but while pregnant. She assured me that once I was a few months postpartum, the symptoms should subside. Against my protests, I allowed them to write me a low dose prescription of Zoloft, an antidepressant. I hated myself for having to take it and constantly beat myself up over this. I felt weak and useless to control my own emotions. Within a few weeks I did start to feel slightly better, numb if you will. I was finally able to start accepting the idea of having my new baby boy. We even got around to picking out a name. Trust me when I say that this was a huge step for me. Amidst the new feelings of numbness, I was still harboring ill feelings at myself for needing to take an antidepressant. This continued even after I delivered a healthy eight pound Owen. I still had moments of sheer terror and the feeling of being completely overwhelmed. I drifted between the numb state, anxiety and a few fleeting moments where my former self appeared. I vividly remember one night rocking my sweet Owen, tears running down my face, promising him that Mommy was here, somewhere trapped inside. I swore to him that I would keep fighting and one day completely, reemerge. My doctor wanted me to continue taking the Zoloft for at least six months postpartum but I couldn’t. When Owen was three months old I needed to go back to work and since I have a job that requires a medical clearance and prohibits the use of antidepressants, it was time for me to wean myself of them. Once I was successfully off the medication I guess I just assumed everything would be as it was before I became pregnant, but it wasn’t. At times I felt overwhelmed, and stressed out easily causing crying fits and depression. Other times I would get overcome by a panic attack. It was a terrible thing to go through. At the suggestion of my doctor I started seeing a therapist. We discussed the non-possibility of me going back on the med’s and instead talked through what was going on inside of me. She told me that no, I wasn’t crazy and that many people experience depression and anxiety. She also explained how physically, I looked fine on the outside but, inside I was broken. I believe this is one of the reasons why society does not understand or sympathize with the depressed or anxious person. It’s not something visible like a broken limb or a failing body. It took about six months to start feeling a little more like my usual self but it did happen. I started exercising and eating better. I went to see a holistic nutritionist that explained to me how different medications and the food we eat affect our digestive systems and in turn our mental and emotional states. I started a diet regimen and supplement routine which included some essential oils that I took internally. After a couple weeks I felt wonderful. I felt healthy and for the first time in a long time, happy. I enjoyed life more. I wasn’t educated on essential oils at the time or I would have indulged in them more. To be clear, I’m neither a Zoloft advocate nor am I against medications. It’s a personal decision that each of us has to make. Did it work for me at the time? Sure, it helped. It didn’t correct or fix the root cause of the problem. It did a good job of numbing my mind and calming me down. Please do not misunderstand; I am not criticizing modern medicine. After researching tons of articles and talking to a bunch of holistic practionioners and healers, I strongly believe that diet, exercise, essential oils and natural treatments can help to alleviate a lot of illnesses and diseases. By no means am I a doctor and if you find yourself in a depressed or anxious state or are currently taking medications, you should consult your doctor before ever stopping your medications. Even now, six years later, I still find myself having bouts of anxiety and depression. I work a full time job and I’m a mother of three very active young children. The difference now is that it comes in smaller and much less severe waves than it did six years ago. When I start feeling myself drift into this, I reach for my essential oils and evaluate my diet and life in general and make the necessary changes. Young Living essential oils are very versatile and many combinations can be used to assist with depression, anxiety and bipolar disorders. You may need to try a few of the different singles and blends to see what works best for you. Some of the blends I would recommend are:
Valor – Place one drop on the bottoms of the feet, or a single drop on one wrist and hold the other wrist to it for a few moments to balance your entire body system.
Harmony – Apply a single drop, over your solar plexus area (just above your belly button) to calm your mind and promote positive feelings.
Joy – Apply a single drop to the area just above your heart which helps bring happiness to your mind and body.
White Angelica – Place a single drop in the palm of your hand and rub hands together. Then lightly brush both of your hands over your head, face, shoulders, chest and down your body, right over your clothes.
Stress Away – Apply to wrists and back of the neck to help melt your stress away.
Peace & Calming – Apply to the bottoms of the feet, wrist or behind the ears to add a calming effect on your mind and body.
These blends and many more are available through Young Living’s essential oil company. And, as stated before, Young Living’s oils are 100% pure therapeutic grade. I would not use anything else on my family or my own body but this brand. Young Living owns their farms from which the soil is tested prior to planting. Their seed to seal guarantee requires that each batch of essential oil is rigorously tested in house and via third party testing, all pest control is done using essential oils and all weed control is done by hand, thus providing us with a high quality bottle of oil. For further information or to order please email me at Shannonshueyoils@gmail.com or visit the website at www.youngliving.com My sponsor and enroller id # is 1648615, please use me as your distributor. You can find my direct link on my contact page.
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