The scariest symptom of depression that no one talks about

It was the rage that frightened me.

I had expected to feel down, sad, and grumpy. Which I did, that’s for sure.

But rage? That was not something I expected from postpartum depression.

And the rage is what drove me to get help.

About five weeks after my second daughter, Grace, was born, my husband could tell I was not doing well. So he decided to surprise me with a half-day at a local spa.

I was thrilled. Nails, facial, massage … and no baby or toddler attached to me for a few blissful hours. Heaven.

But when I came home, I could hear Grace’s crying the second I walked into the house. My body tensed immediately and the relaxed feeling was gone. Hubs told me that Grace didn’t eat the entire time I was out. She took a little milk from a bottle but then wouldn’t accept the bottle again.

She didn’t accept a bottle EVER again.

And I could feel the rage start to build from that day.

I felt trapped by my colicky, non-sleeping, no-bottle-taking baby. I was frustrated with my toddler, Anne, who was throwing tantrums constantly. And I was really questioning my decision to leave my full-time writing job for the occasional freelance gig.

I felt overwhelmed, sad, anxious, and angry. Every. Single. Day.

Then one night I really lost it on Anne when she was having a tantrum. I couldn’t control the words flying out of my mouth. I wanted to smack her and make her stop (which thankfully, I didn’t). I wanted to be anywhere but there.

The rage coming out of me was other-worldly. Thankfully Hubs was there and was able to intervene. I feel physically ill when I think about how I acted and what could have happened.

It was the most terrifying feeling I had ever experienced.

I called both my primary care and OB docs the next day. Working together, they got me on Zoloft and into therapy right away. And I felt better within days. The sadness, the lack of interest in life, the anxiety … it all got better with the Zoloft.

The rage, though, took more work to get under control. The Zoloft helped. But the therapy was what made it much, much better.

Four years later, I am still managing my depression. The PPD got better, but then morphed into another kind of depression when my dad suddenly died. Who knows what it technically is now—but I’m still dealing with it.

And the rage is still there. It’s the most difficult part to manage and from my experience, the least-talked about symptom of depression.

That’s why I’m writing this post. I want all you moms out there to know that if you deal with PPD or depression—and especially the rage that can accompany it—you are not alone. You are not a bad mom. It can and will get better—if you get help.

Being a mom means doing hard things. And sometimes the hardest thing is asking for the help you need. I know that first phone call was incredibly hard for me to make.

But now I understand that depression happens to regular people. These scary feelings do not make me a bad mother. And with medication, therapy, and healthier life choices, I feel more like me again.

Yes, I’m still fighting the depression, sadness, and rage. But now, finally … finally I feel like I’m winning.

A version of this post originally appeared on Scary Mommy and got an amazing, emotional response from many women. You can read all the comments here. Many thanks to Jill Smokler for helping me raise awareness about PPD and depression.


photo credit: Stuck in Customs via photopin cc


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51 Replies to “The scariest symptom of depression that no one talks about”

  1. I am at my wits end. I have no one to talk to. My husband hates me. He wants to leave me. I am not happy. There is nothing to be happy about. I have my three girls and they want nothing to do with me. They are scared of me. I work, come home, do all the normal.. Dinner. Clean, homework, bills, bathes, lunch, bed… Etc. I sound like a whiney fool. What am I supposed to do. I have these thoughts of just driving into trees or walls or whatever. I am always wrong, always have been. There is nothing to be happy about. I can’t stand listening to myself anymore. I have meds, which u have decided to take tomorrow. But I honestly don’t think it will help. I just want to stop being sad, angry, raging.. I hate this, I hate it all. I just want someone anyone to care. I want a true friend. Who will listen. Anything.

    1. J – I am so sorry to hear you are having such a horrible time. You deserve to be happy! Try to be kind and gentle to yourself. I suffer from depression as well and it can’t get really dark and ugly, but you have to believe that it can get better. Can you see your doctor for a different prescription? As much as I hate having to take the meds, it has saved me and my family. I only went on them for my kids….I didn’t want them to see such a sad, angry mother all of the time. Hang in there and please reach out for help from your doctor.

    2. I can not imagine the pressures of caring for three infants and the added stress of a relationship you feel is not succeeding. I am guessing you are not sleeping much. Things always look worse when you are sleep deprived. Please do not lose hope. Hang in there and know that many moms are struggling and working toward being better versions of themselves. Being only ten weeks in, you need to give yourself a break and understand that anyone in your position would be overwhelmed.

      1. So, not three infants, but still-three kids under 5. Mine are 3, 5 and 8 and things can still get very overwhelming. You have three very young children, give yourself some time to adjust to having the third! It is a huge change and the chaos that it brings is enough to get anyone down some days.

    3. I know how you feel. A year and a half ago I had twins (I have two older boys that my husband adopted at birth) and the birthing experience went south, really quick. I had one twin vaginally then had to have an emergency c-section for the other one, I wouldn’t stop bleeding, they told my husband to contact his family to have them with him, and then I had to have an emergency hysterectomy. I was later diagnosed with PPD & PTSD, on top of recently having been diagnosed as Bipolar. I’ve been to hell and back and am stronger than ever now.

      I KNOW you will make it through this. Find a local support group ( comes to mind, but call your local hospital and see if they have a PPD support group) and talk to your psychiatrist. If you’re on meds that aren’t working, your doctor has got to find something that does. You deserve to be well.

    4. Some days are harder than others. I was raised by a mom with severe depression and bi-polar disease. I know she was unhappy, miserable, angry all the time. I can understand some of what you are feeling by watching what happened to her. She would tell 3 year old me that she hated me. She told 10 year old me that she wanted to kill her self every single day. She told 13 year old me that she wished I was never born. The third time she tried to kill herself we were taken from her.

      Some days I wish I had been able to help her, but I know what she really needed was more than I could give.

      I encourage you to get help. I know it will be hard, but if you can just start to see a little light in your life it may make this seem a little easier. My mother was mentally ill, she sought help in drugs and never came out of the darkness that ate at her.

      Go talk to someone, a therapist, a friend or a priest. Look for support groups. I wish I could help you, because I know have felt this way as well.

      I am hyper aware of those feeling, having grown up with my mother. But I have stared at trees and thought “Who would care if I drove into it?” Then I remember who would care. M family, my husband and children, my friends, me.

      Try to remember who would care.

    5. J,

      I understand your frustrations and can completely identify. I am here for you if you want to talk, email, whatever. I too am struggling and have the tendency to isolate. Perhaps we can help each other. You are NOT alone and things WILL get better for both of us with time and treatment. I know it sucks right now, trust me, I get it, but let’s not give up, okay? Shoot me an email ANYTIME and let’s connect!

    6. HI J,
      Please be patient with yourself. I can remember having those feelings and still sometimes do at the really hard times. Let the medicine have a chance to work. I was on Prozac for a long while and stopped taking it thinking maybe i was okay and didn’t need to take meds anymore. Well just a short 4 months later I was back on them with a new RX of zoloft. I’m sorry you are going through and feel alone. I wish I could be there each moment you are struggling and tell you that you are worth it and to hang on!! Even in our craziness, rage, sadness etc etc our kids need us. I know sometimes that doesn’t even matter and it feels like they are the fucking problem. If they would just…blah blah blah whatever. But even though it may feel like they are manipulating your emotions they really aren’t. Just remember they do love you even if they think they don’t. I also know sometimes it doesn’t freaking matter if they need you or love you. That nothing matters to you sometimes. Because nobody really knows whats going on and if they did (i feel) they would take me away. Please go easy on yourself. Please forgive yourself. For me the feelings of guilt are sometimes so overwhelming it feels like its piercing the inner parts of my soul. And then having a husband(marriage) that is struggling in some way just adds to my feelings of worthlessness and guilt and incompetence and not being understood. For me it feels like he just doesn’t want to understand my sickness. I had a really hard time understanding and accepting this stupid issue of depression and all it can do to us! I felt like if I could just do this….or was better at that….or handled myself better in a given situation everything would be they way its supposed to be( or a least the way I envisioned it to be). But I realized that no matter what I do or don’t do, take or don’t take…depression is a part of my brain chemistry. I know what things make it better. But i am horrible about making it happen. And along with depression I have other issues too. ….possible ADD, auditory processing disorder (which means sometimes even the sound my children make are god awful sound in my head that make me want to loose my sh&t after a while. I only mention these things because I think along with depression comes some other issue too. Whether its other emotional or physical problems. And I want you to be aware of them and not be to hard on yourself. Sometimes being in throws of a serious depressive phase it can be so hard to do anything right because everything feels like such a chore. and then come the feeling of guilt-whatever they may be for you and so the cycle and circle continue going around. Please try to keep the small glimmer of hope that things will be different. That this phase will morph into another and hopefully to a slightly better place. don’t except huge leaps, recognize the small things you do and seriously give yourself credit for them. Like okay I fed the kids today-its a good day. (notice I didn’t say i cooked a huge healthy meal for them. Even if feed them means chips, juice and crackers.) I am sorry your children are afraid of you. I know that feeling and I hate it. I also hate that they have that control over my feelings. Sometimes I apologize and think to myself there is no reason she should forgive me. except for the fact that if she did what i asked the first three (or 20 ) times I would not have screamed like a raging fool. Sometimes I feel like if my hubby knew how treated his precious perfect kids he would hate me. Then I feel like if he would just take a minute and read any one of the things i marked as honey-please read websites or blogs posts he would understand I little better where I coming from, what i struggle with and how to maybe help. ( or stay the heck away from me and shut up, lol) I know I’m rambling and may have not made much sense but i just want you to know you not alone. And that it does get better, I promise..or at least different and a little less painful. Please continue to reach out and know you are not alone even though it really feels like it! And what your feeling is okay even though it feels like crap!! And I love you for recognizing ( not everyone does) yourself and for reaching out ( not everyone does)!! Right there is a reason to be proud of yourself. Keep on keepin on…one second at a time!!

    7. J,
      I used to feel so much like you. There is help, really, there is. I don’t think your husband and girls hate you at all. They just hurt as you do. As the saying goes, “Hurt people, hurt people.” Try and speak kind words to yourself. You have so much value. I know it feels impossible right now. If the only kind words you can say to yourself are honest words like, “I’m hurting today, and I need someone to say something kind to me.” Then tell your daughter(s), “Mom is feeling sad. Do you ever feel sad?” Get some honest, sweet dialogue going with them…you’ll be surprised how they will respond. It doesn’t all have to be fixed over night. You will heal these relationships. Your family will be forgiving. They truly love you. God loves you and He’s not judging you. No one is perfect – NO ONE! So hang in there. You are more valuable than you can ever imagine. I’m praying for you, too.

  2. Thank you Julie,
    I have suffered from depression as long as I can remember. I just had my 3 daughters about 10 weeks ago. It all has gotten so bad. PPD now. I honestly feel like I have lost my mind. I can’t keep thinking this way. That’s why I am going to start my meds tomorrow. But I think my husband doesn’t care either way. But I am hoping and praying that there is a better life than this. My thoughts are getting worse and I honestly am starting to feel as if there is no way out…thank you for ur kind words.

    1. Hi J,

      I’m so sorry you are going though this. You had triplets? I can’t imagine how difficult caring for three babies is – I had PPD with just a toddler and an infant, and that was terribly hard.

      Take the meds. Really. They will help. And call your doctor right away and tell her you are having these thoughts. She may up your dosage or add Wellbutrin to it (if you were prescribed Zoloft, for example).

      As for your relationship with your husband, I obviously have no idea what is going on and the background of your struggles. However, I know that if you get on your meds, possible solutions may seem more clear. One of my friends who struggles with depression is convinced her husband is going to leave her every time she is really down and in a bad place. Her husband is not leaving her. Their relationship is fine. Again, I have no idea what your situation is, but take those meds and you may be able to see some options to help your relationship.

      Please know you are not alone. Email me at or message me on Facebook if you would like to be in a private FB group for moms really struggling with PPD.

      All my best,


  3. Thank you JD,
    I appreciate you taking the time to respond. Sorry about the autocorrect. I just had my 3rd daughter. I have a just about 5 yr old, a 20 month old and a ten week old. But I appreciate all that u said. I actually just took my first pill this morning. I don’t know what it will do. But anything has to be better than this. Thank you again

  4. J – I know how alone and scared you must feel right now and how hopeless everything must feel. I was right there with ya. Four years ago I had twin boys and my husband has a job that requires him to travel a ton. Sometimes he’s gone weeks at a time. I have struggled with mild depression since my teens, shortly after the twins were born I started to struggle more and more and there were days I would just cry all day and then there were days I was filled with so much anger and I would just want to scream. My twins didn’t start sleeping through the night until they were about 18 months old and I was exhausted. I ended up self medicating with alcohol around the time the boys were 11 months old. I then struggled with alcoholism which made my depression and anger a thousands times worse. Back then I thought nothing would change and I was going to be stuck in this misery for the rest of my life. Long story short, I finally hit rock bottom and got the help I needed and started going to an outpatient treatment for the alcoholism but what really helped me was the local support group for mothers that I found and being able to vent and talk out my feelings and I also made some great friends there and was able to build up a better support system for myself. My twins are now 4 and I have been sober for 2 years and my docs put me on celexa and wellbutrin and I totally feel like a different person. I feel great. I’m able to handle just about anything my twins do now without screaming or crying and we just all just have so much fun together now. Looking back I really thought then that nothing would pull me out of the dark place in my life but you just have to stand up for yourself and say enough is enough and go get the help you need. Get on some meds, find a support group and take care of yourself. Mothers are the worst about putting themselves last but now it’s your turn to take care of you for once. You deserve it and you have definitely earned it 🙂

  5. The medicine takes a while, maybe a week or more depending on the medicine, so be patient. Please. This feeling is depression talking to you, not the world. I am hopeful that the medicine will help. If not, there are other medicines. It may take some trying to find something that works well for you. I am so glad you are trying.

    Pregnancy is a huge draw on your body’s resources. After several children in a short time, you need to make sure you are not anemic. Anemia means that you’re not getting enough oxygen in your blood stream, and it makes everything harder. It makes you sadder, weaker, and even makes it harder to think. Added to depression, I imagine it can be crippling. Make sure you’re getting enough iron. Chelated iron has not been constipating for me in the past. Ask your doctor, of course!

    J, those babies need you. There is nobody who can ever take your place. No aunt, no stepmother, no grandmother, no father, nobody can ever be mother to those babies like you can. They may not be able to show you that right now, maybe not even until they are adults, but they need you. Little kids are emotional, and they don’t understand grownup issues, but they need you, and they need you to engage them day after day, even when you don’t feel like it. Even when they push you away. Especially when they push you away. So keep trying. And when you feel like crying, find a quiet space and cry. Then try again the next day.

    My husband suffers from chronic depression, and while it can be hard for me sometimes, I am not going anywhere. He made a promise to me that he’s going to stick with me, that he’s going to stick around even when it seems like there’s no way he can take it. I promised him the same. I need him. Even when it’s not fun. Maybe you can talk to him about being committed to each other, and committed to getting through this very hard time together.

  6. J
    I am so sorry you’re going through this. I’ve struggled with depression most of my adult life and I know that feeling of wanting to give up…but don’t give up. Even if you have to live one day at a time, one hour at a time or one minute at a time, you WILL get though this. The meds will help, just remember they aren’t an instant fix…it takes time to your system to adjust to them and a lot of time you need your dosage adjusted but hang in there because they do work. Talk to your doctor about therapy as well and seek out a support group. I know the last thing you feel like doing when you’re depressed is talking to someone about it, but make yourself do it…it helps to know you are not alone in your suffering.

    It may not seem like it right now, but you can and will recover. Just keep hanging on 🙂

  7. You are not alone! Reaching out like you are is a great first step, so that is something to feel good about even if it's just a shred of accomplishment. If you can, you should seek out support groups online as well as ones in your home town. I found that talking to a therapist helped a great deal. I'm about to have my first baby this June and worry everyday how my depression is going to be once she's born. My husband has witnessed me throwing things in fits of rage because of one reason or another and saying things I don't mean as well as not being able to control my emotions. Thoughts of suicide danced around in my head when a day has gotten too much to handle. Just before I got pregnant I had an ultimate low of drinking myself to a heap on the kitchen floor hoping to pass out and not wake up. You're not alone. Keep talking, even if it's to people on the internet. You can email me if you'd like

  8. I just ache for you when I read your post but am so glad for you and your family that you were strong enough to reach out for help. I hadn’t realized that rage is a symptom of depression. I really don’t know what to say but wanted to add my support and well wishes here.

  9. J Absolutely take the meds. I think they’ll help. But if they don’t, call the doctor. When I had my kids (three and ahalf years apart), I was one of the minute percentage who had post partum … I have forgotten the word, but in my mind it translated as fury, but it was even more than that. Bipolar makes me mad. After I had a baby? I wanted to put my fist through a wall. Almost every hour of every day. I would hand the baby to my husband and just… leave. Go. Anything. I was so afraid of hurting my children. Zoloft helped. Welbutrin (oh hell, I can’t spell) helped even more. My first doctor did. not. believe. me. Hated that woman. Because SHE didn’t have PPD, I couldn’t possibly have it, and it couldn’t possibly be worse than the baby blues. (Dear doctor, do not piss off a literate enraged woman, she will write the most scathing letter to the appropriate people in charge of you.) And yet it was so hard to change doctors. Because. .. jeez, if this bitch didn’t believe me, why the hell should I expect different from the next one? But I did change. And the difference was enormous. The doctor who actually gave me meds had a nurse who called daily to check on me until they took effect, and made me feel like she was a part of my healing. Take care of yourself. You’re not alone.

    Honest Mom — I think you wrote this at exactly the right time for this person. I’m glad to be part of your community and able to help you support her if that makes sense?

  10. Thank you all so very much. This means so very much to me to hear such kind words. I have never reached out before. After years and years of struggling. No one knows except for my husband and he just can’t take me anymore. But I feel like there might be a glimmer if hope if I have you ladies to listen to me vent, cry, or whatever. I am so grateful. All of your stories are me. Thank you all.

  11. J, BRAVO for reaching out–I believe it was your true self, buried under all of that in fathomable dark heaviness, begging to be let out. Those feelings of worthlessness and apathy are not really you. You are a beautiful, magnificent, important, totally unique woman who has so much yet to experience and do much to offer. Keep reaching out if you do nothing else. We are here for you.

  12. J – the best thing someone told me when I felt the same way as you 5 weeks ago was ” you are going to feel better”. I didn’t believe her but she kept saying it. I am saying it to you. You are going to feel better. You ARE. Just hold on. Ask your husband to try and understand. Tell him you don’t want to be this way. Tell a trusted friend that you are struggling. Try to take the baby for a walk every day even if you want to be in a ball in bed. Find some affirmations that work for you, like “I will get better. A little bit better every day.”
    Also, see if your doc will give you a small prescription for an anti-anxiety med that works immediately. If you can’t because of breast feeding, try lavender oil or passionflower. B vitamins too. You are going to feel better.

  13. J-

    Your post saddens me. It takes me back to 6 weeks after I had my first child! Although, you have 2 other kids to care for, during those sane symptoms. I cant imagine what it must be like, but I can say IT WILL GET BETTER with your meds!

    I cant say it better than Kristy did! There are days I know my son fears my short temper & doesnt like who I am. It breaks my heart! Hes almost 4 now, & I still struggle, 2 kids later. I didnt have PPD with my daughter, but my anxiety is way worse! My ability to stay calm when my patience are tested over and over again sucks! I yell at my son! I feel like a horrible person afterwards and always express my guilt to my him! Sometimes all I want is respect for everything I do around the house for my family. I want the amount of love and care I put into everything in return, but the truth is, kids are selfish to our selflessness! They cant tell when mommy is having a “bad” day. They see mommy is mad, and think its at them, or think they can act the same way! I struggle everyday to be a better mom! I doubt Ill ever be perfect, but I get better everyday, although I still have “bad” days!

    Im very proud of you for sharing your feelings, and taking the first steps for yours & your family healing! Try to remind yourself of who you were before you had kids, how you are trying to be more like that person, all while keeping up with 3 kids, a job, and a home! Those times you want to yell, talk to yourself with positivity that you CAN and WILL get through this. Try to sit & talk to your husband and explain how you are taking steps to save YOURSELF, your MARRIAGE, and your FAMILY! 🙂

    Good Luck sweetheart!

    Email me anytime! Im hear to listen and offer a helping hand in your journey of healing!

  14. Thank you for telling your story. For talking about something most people are afraid to mention, let alone admit is a problem they struggle with. I’ve fought depression for years. I have tried many meds but haven’t found one that helps. I do have a great therapist. And a great support system. Without them, I’d be lost.

    I discuss my mental health issues whenever it’s appropriate (and sometimes when it’s not). If I can make getting help a little less scary for someone else it’s worth it. Speaking up matters.

    I’m glad you’ve found help. I’m glad you’re continuing to practice self-care. And I’m glad you’re writing about it. It matters.

  15. It’s great to hear that you’re finally overcoming with your depression. I know it’s been hard but accepting the fact that it can do no better in our well being thus it a sign for making a new start on the brighter side of life. Counseling would help, but the best medication is a good support system. Knowing that you have people to lean on is much better to fight depression. You’ll get it over soon, be strong!

  16. I've been "guinea-pigged" on anti-depressants since the late 1980's. Quit therapy about a year ago. The talking and realization that my father truly was what I thought was too much to take in the "real world." My dreams became nightmares, my stomach problems flared up and had me on the bathroom floor with pain. So I quit. I couldn't talk about it anymore, besides he's dead.
    My last visit with my internist, I thought I would try again. Living like this day to day is like dying. So after a lecture that I am too dependent on my spouse who I am separated from, and a warning to figure out my future at my age, I am 56, he prescribed Zoloft. I left his office with my tiny bit of pride that I had left, and felt useless, and life was more pointless than before the appointment. Two weeks worth of Zoloft, and migraine headaches and I quit that too. I wasn't even able to function at all with headaches like that. I considered calling my doctor, but why. I've had enough with his lectures.
    So that was three months ago, and my "hole" that I live in everyday has gotten deeper than ever. In the next year, I have to leave my home and find somewhere cheaper to live, along with my 19 year old son, who has a form of autism called Aspergers. He is the joy in my life, very smart, and funny, and probably what keeps me going. I have to find out about a disability due to herniated discs in my back, and two types of stomach ailments, along with panic attacks. I keep us afloat a little with my online sales, but that will hardly keep us going. So almost everyday, I want to leave this earth. My Mom died 3 years ago, I miss her terribly. Maybe I can live with her in her new "digs." She would be disappointed in me if she knew how I really felt. Everyone thinks I am strong. I'm not, I'm tired, frustrated , angry and very, very sad.

    1. Thanks for responding. I really just don't have the energy to even try anymore, and the thought of having to start ALL over with another doctor is too much for me. I use to get up when something knocked me down, I was tough. Somewhere I lost that.

  17. Thank you for this post. I suffer with anxiety and depression and have felt over the last few years that I’ve taken great steps to recognizing and overcoming dark times. Right now I am in a yo-yo of ups and downs. I have two little kids (3 and 21 months) and I’m 4 1/2 months pregnant. Winter has really worn me down, as has stresses with family and money. My depression has really reared its ugly head during this pregnancy and at times I feel hopeless. My biggest thanks is on the hidden sign: rage. I have been struggling understanding this. The down, depressed, hormonal crying is one thing, its familiar. But the rage is something totally new and alarming. I find myself so angry with my children on depressed days. I don’t realize it is going to be one of those days until the rage gets me to yelling and then the guilt makes me realize that there is more to the story. I’m not angry at my kids.

  18. Thank you ladies. Since my original post, I have started taking my meds. So I guess it’s almost 3 weeks now. I think I am dealing with things a little better. I still have the negative thoughts sometimes but, I think I am able to handle things a little better. Not so much screaming at the top of my lungs. I don’t know if I will ever really feel truly happy. But I know that I’m trying for my kids and I know that’s the important thing to be a Better Mommy for them. Thank you to all of you and your kind words, I can honestly say, it was something I really needed from you all.

  19. I hope I hope I hope that when all this passes and our own daughters become mothers themselves we can muster the strength to relive these difficult times so we can be supportive and empathetic if they experience the same events. I have noticed that my mom and many of her friends spend more time shelving out non-practical know-it-all advice then trying to be empathetic and supportive. I can understand how easy it is to block these difficult memories – but let's try and learn from them so we can empathize and not criticize our own…. It's what we would want now.

  20. I just happen to run up on this blog while doing some reading on depression and having a good cry, well another of many I’ve had today. I’m a sufferer of severe depression, that never goes away. Although I’m not managing depression while raising small children (my son is grown), if you have it, or had it, depression is depression. Some more severe than others, I happen to be one of those. The crying is due to the incredible sadness and loneliness I’m feeling, and weaning off of one med. to begin another, another to the 3 I already take. Coming across this and reading the blog on depression made me smile, which is something I typically force myself to do, so nobody will know what I’m going through especially at work. I usually just go to the ladies room and cry, or go to lunch so I can cry in my car. I also share my depression with certain people, some of now I wish I had not because they have no clue what to say. So, I just wanted to say I enjoyed the reading, and it always helps me to know, I’m not alone, and I’m not crying anymore. Thank you!

  21. This was such a refreshing and helpful read for me and at just the right time. I have two daughters, ages 4 and 8. Parenting after my first daughter was a breeze. Parenting after the second was too… least at first. I was almost euphoric for the first few months after having my second daughter. Looking back, I was too euphoric, possibly manic. Shortly after going back on my birth control pills, I developed the terrifying irritability and rage you wrote about. I had no other symptoms of PPD up until that point and it hit me from nowhere. I was totally happy and was caught so offguard by such embarrassing and frighteningly intense emotions. Going on lexapro was like a switch being flipped back on for me. I could once again deal with my children without feeling like I was going to lose it at any moment. Of course, there was the shame of feeling like I couldn’t parent without them, not helped by a close friend who told me I just needed a little more religion and prayer in my life (truth be told, she’s even crazier than I am; it just manifests itself in a different way!). After suffering from extreme fatigue for awhile, though, I am venturing out into a world without my meds. I have been off of lexapro for maybe a month and a half now. The irritability is back and I HATE it! With kids home for the summer, it’s magnified three thousand percent:-( I keep telling myself to go back on the meds but I have to know if there are other factors contributing before I do that. I am now trying life without the hormones from birth control pills to see if that helps. Two weeks in, the fatigue has lessened some but the irritability still lingers. Time will tell I guess. I did some searching online about irritability after childbirth. I know there’s something to it and the medical community doesn’t seem to give it much of their time. My daughter just started voice lessons and I was flipping through a Parenting magazine and found the article mentioning you. I think I was meant to find your blog to see that I am not the only one. All discussions on PPD talk about crying and feeling sad all of the time. I don’t have a lot of that. The rage is something that NO ONE ever mentions, yet it’s the thing we feel most ashamed and frightened of. Four years in, I’ve been thinking of “coming out” to loved ones (only my husband and one friend know that I’ve been on lexapro). I’m so tired of the stigma and shame. Maybe discovering your blog is the first step in finding the courage to do so:-)

  22. I’m so glad I found this blog and specifically this post. I’ve had depression since my teens but really didn’t get help until after my now 3 yr old was born. Until this post I felt like the only one to have this and that it was only me. I even have considered walking away from my kids because the rage regret makes me feel like a terrible mom! Thanks for posting about this issue, of makes moms like me feel like I’m not alone!!

  23. This was the first story I read on your blog and it made me cry to realize I’m not the total anomaly I thought I was. I’ve never blogged before, in fact, I don’t really even know what blogging is, as I’m a social media dinosaur but I’m willing to try almost anything if it will help me find my normal again.
    I will say that I couldn’t believe there were other people out there like me. Moms that truly love their children. Moms that would battle Heaven and Earth for their precious little darlin’s. Moms that stood in the garage and screamed into the stand up freezer because no one could hear them flipping out like a football coach who’s star athlete just ran the winning touchdown back to the wrong end zone. I’m not alone. I’m not “losing my mind”.
    A little background on me: I was a recognized research scientist. The oldest of 3 children. The go-getter. The “responsible one” that could handle anything. The glue that held our dis-functional little family together. Then my husband and I had children. The first was a beautiful baby boy with an even temperament and voracious appetite. Nursing, working 45+ hours a week, and caring for son while husband traveled and worked 50+ was difficult but not unmanageable…in my mind. Having children and working was going to be tough I told myself. I knew what we were getting into going in, right? Besides, people do it all the time and never complain or freak out. In fact, my mother reminded me FREQUENTLY that if she could do it with 3 children with little or now help, then I should surely have no problems with just one child. Her exact words, “Suck it up. You’ve got it easy.”
    Then baby girl came along 21 months later. She was a great baby! Beautiful, sweet, and again, a voracious appetite that kept me up all night nursing. Doesn’t sound too bad as I did this with baby boy but now I was getting up with baby girl every few hours and also getting up with baby boy due to night terrors, hungry AGAIN, or just needing reassurance as we had a new member in the house. By the way, both pregnancies were difficult and both ended in emergency C-sections. Consequently, my recoveries were also difficult but I survived just fine…
    At baby girl’s 6 week checkup, Dr. told me she was fine but I was not. He felt I had PPD and needed meds. I laughed and told him it was just the adjustment to two in diapers and I was still nursing and I was fine. At her 6 month check up Dr. said she was doing astounding but, I was worse. I laughed it off again. I was back at work, still nursing, husband was traveling more and it was just a rocky time right then but it would get better soon. At her 9 month check up, she was off the charts healthy, I had developed Whooping Cough and had finally started to think that I was NOT Supermom. I was down to about 3-4 hrs (cumulative) of sleep, sick as a dog, chronic night time panic attacks and not even my children could coax a smile from me. Worse of all I was angry. Not the run of the mill, grumpy you-left-cold-snotty-water-full-of-dirty-dishes-in-the-sink-to-soak-for-me-to-deal-with-this-morning-because-you-were-watching-a-stupid-football-game-and-couldn’t-bother-yourself-to-help-out-a-little grumpy. I was full blown, throwing dishes against the wall, screaming like a banshee, Braveheart attacking the English angry. I’m going to shoot you in every joint if you ever do stupid sh❉t like this again angry. Loose my eyesight, power to hear, speak, or even feel pain angry. This was especially scary since I was a martial arts instructor, had access to enough firearms to invade China, AND the expertise and equipment to isolate, grow, and preserve my own microorganisms. In a nutshell, was a walking nightmare.
    This rage was debilitating and destroyed every aspect of my life. It finally came to a head when I lost it at work with a client and threatened them, their company and their entire city with biological warfare agents. It would be laughable if I was an accountant or bank administrator, it was NOT laughable as I ran a research lab, had access to everything I threatened them with, and no grasp of reality anymore.
    I tell you this because, believe it or not, you can get better. I underwent intensive therapy, medications, support from friends and my mentor and the most amazing husband in the world. That was 4.5 years ago. We had a surprise baby girl last year and knowing that I had suffered so badly with PPD after baby #2, my support team (husband, primary care dr., therapist, shrink, mentor, and friends) basically initiated a full court press to make sure we didn’t have a relapse. Now, I am a functioning member of society again and for the most part, fairly normal. I’m a full time stay at home mom now (HUGE adjustment), have fresh bake cookies for the kids when they get off the bus, have home cooked meals on the table for family dinners, actually read books the kids at bedtime, paint toenails with the girls during girl time, and love almost every minute of my life. I’ve never worked harder either. Anyone who thought staying at home was a fluff job, never stayed at home. I was a nightmare working mother and actually looked forward to going to work for eight hours because it was easier than staying at home and raising children.
    This is not a happily ever after fairy tale. I still have bad days. I still hollar at stupid stuff. I still hide in the closet with a bag of miniature marshmallows and sing Amazing Grace to myself. The difference is, it happens only once every few months instead of every day. It’s a fight every single day, but it’s a fight I’m winning with compassionate and caring friends and a husband worth his weight in gold. It does get better, just don’t ever give up.

  24. I had a similar experience after my second child was born. When I launched a large storage container of pretzels from the kitchen to the front door (the distance of an entire medium-sized house) and proceeded to yell at my two-year-old for not being able to put together her new play kitchen on her own…I finally sought the help of a professional. It’s these instances of rage that are often hidden because we are ashamed. Shame kills. Thanks for being brave.

  25. Thank you so much for writing this, and speaking about it. I had the rage also, after my second son was born. It was terrifying. And it's what's made me finally get help. It helps me tremendously to hear that you (and others) felt the same way. The shame at feeling that rage, which I still feel four years later, is awful. The shame is a little less knowing that it's not only me that felt that way. Thank you.

  26. I've never told anybody about this side of my depression except my psych or with the words, "I was angry all the time." Which really down plays the feeling. I, too, had PPD morph into something awful and lost 2 years to it. The anger is the hardest thing to heal – even 3 1/2 years with the right meds and therapy – I still struggle with it. Why is that??

  27. Seeing this again is soooo right on time. I have the hardest time with the fact that I'm not depressed like most people view depression. The rage is also what scared the heck out of me when it showed up out of nowhere a few months after having my second daughter. Every day I tell myself I'm not making this up or making excuses. I am going to the doc to adjust my meds again today. Soooo frustrating. I'm so grateful for your reminders that we are no crazy and we are not alone:-)

  28. Reading this post and all the comment has brought me to tears. I have 4 kids under 4 and have been struggling with rage for the last 6 months since my youngest was born. My eldest daughter (4.5 years) makes me angry all the time. I ask her to do something (ie. clean up her toys) but she won’t do it. I end up screaming and yelling at her and I threaten her with the wooden spoon but that doesn’t work either. I don’t smack her much, but she just makes me so angry! I feel that if she would just listen I wouldn’t have this problem. She’s been throwing tantrums a few times a day because she wants something and I say no (yesterday it was at the shops and she wanted new shoes). Is this depression that I’m experiencing, or is it something else? I have a doctor appointment booked for 3 days time. Hubby and I have been talking about trying for another baby (which I would love) and I’m wondering if that’s a bad idea or not. Thank you!

  29. I am so glad to have found this post. The rage, it feels so shameful, screaming at my three year old because he’s crying that we just ran out of milk. It’s something that popped up since the baby was born 11 months ago, so I’ve assumed it’s because of exhaustion. A few months ago I started the process of getting help, getting a referral to a therapist (which has taken an ETERNITY to process and is very difficult to actually book an appointment with), talking to my PCM about switching birth control, always assuming it’s something NOT depression because I can still force myself out of bed in the mornings… but the rage lingers and grows. As soon as I finished reading this I called my PCM to talk about doing something that could have more immediate impact. It’s so scary. Thank you.

  30. I appreciate the honesty about how hard it is to deal with two young kids. Not many moms would be bold enough to admit that they felt like spanking their kid (although I'm sure there are many that have felt that way at some point). I have two boys: one is dyslexic and struggles with school, and the other is autistic. I am also a single mom, and dealing with depression. Yes, I have to hide my problems almost 90% of the time for "society" purposes and for my kids' sake. While I take a low dose of Celexa, I am not a fan of prescription drugs. Counseling and a network of support has been more effective, and less detrimental to my health/well-being. It is disgusting how judgmental and scared people are of depression, and it is definitely one of those things that you carry alone, especially as a single mother. People are so quick to blame me for my misfortune and pain because it is easier to blame than to understand. After reading this blog, it feels good to know I'm not the only one out there!

  31. Hi Lynne. I have always had a hard time with medications. I've always gotten bad side effects. Needless to say I am not a fan of being drugged because it only masks my symptoms rather than curing it. I am responding to your post because I am hurt inside for you. While we all have different situations, I was recently assaulted by the father of my two boys. He was incarcerated, but now we are facing eviction. In the past couple weeks I have felt like giving up. I missed a lot of appointments, stopped taking my medicine (even though it was the first kind I tried that didn't make me miserable), and have been struggling to keep up with my boys. When I am depressed, I tend to curl up and hide in my shell. It seems as though everything is too hard to deal with, so I shut down and avoid everything. Being a single mom, it is important that I appear strong and stable. But almost every night since the altercation with their father, I have been having severe anxiety attacks. Moments of complete hopelessness and fear of the future. This can be paralyzing. But I know that giving up will only cause more chaos than peace of mind. I notice that when I persevere and force myself to get things done, I ultimately feel better when I do it and get it over with. I do think you should at least continue to talk with a counselor or therapist, as it is always good to have somewhere to vent without judgement. I hope that you find some peace and happiness in this struggle. I try to find the little things every day that are worth appreciating. Good luck!

  32. Wonderful site. Lots off heopful info here. I’m sending it tto some friends ans also saring in delicious.
    And certainly, thanks to your sweat!

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