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Mental Health Spotlight: Finding Gratitude During Postpartum Depression

by Karen Ung

How an attitude of gratitude helped me overcome postpartum depression

“Four years ago, if you had told me an attitude of gratitude could change my life, I would have laughed in your face. In fact, I am pretty sure I snorted some coffee while I read such advice on a postpartum depression (PPD) self help page online. How could I keep a Gratitude Journal, a daily record of three things I’m grateful for, when I hated my life and couldn’t stop thinking of ways to end it? The whole concept seemed a challenging, pointless waste of time, yet I knew I had to do something to get out of the dark pit of despair I had fallen into.”

To read the rest of this piece, please see “Finding Gratitude During Postpartum Depression”, a Fill Your Bucket submission for March 2015, on BonBon Break.

A lot of people don’t realize that anyone can be afflicted by depression. Before the birth of my second child, I was sunny, active, and resilient. I had weathered an international move, nasty breakup, complicated family issues, and the deaths of my Grandma and Father. Through tough times, I had been been sad, but never depressed. Somehow, in the postpartum period, something in my brain just clicked, and suddenly, I was sad all the time and easily overwhelmed by daily tasks.

Click hear to hear Karen Ung (me) read this story

Postpartum depression is prevalent, but rarely spoken about. It wasn’t until I admitted my struggles, that a few close friends shared their experiences. It was heartbreaking to hear of their pain. If only I, and others, had known, we could have helped them! When I was at my worst, one of my best friends took me to yoga and out for coffee once a week. It was a time to relax, and laugh, and I looked forward to it. Small acts of kindness can go a long way!

I tried a lot of different things to feel better, and in the end, going back to work and having a regular schedule, being more active, and cultivating an attitude of gratitude helped me.

If you don’t feel like yourself, and think you might be depressed, I urge you to speak to your spouse, friends, and doctor. It’s hard, but the people that love you want you to be well. You can and will feel better!

How gratitude can help postpartum depression
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