A Simple Method That Can Help with Postpartum Depression
If you have postpartum depression, you likely feel overwhelmed by all the thoughts and problems going through your mind.
Perhaps you feel like what you’re going through isn’t normal (even though many people tell you it is).
You now have all these negative thoughts about life, whether they be specifically about your baby, your husband, your body, your finances, or your career.
And it can sometimes seem like no one is there to help you because no one understands. And all of this can cause you to feel as though you’ve lost control.
I know I sure felt all of the above when I had postpartum depression.
But luckily, as a former therapist, I have some strategies that I can share with you to help postpartum depression symptoms and emotions. (Related Post: How to Beat Postpartum Depression).
When I worked as a therapist, I found these tips to be super helpful with the treatment of depression. And the method can easily be applied to postpartum depression treatment as well.
But first… Not sure whether you have the signs of postpartum depression or just the baby blues? Get a questionnaire with my free Postpartum Depression Toolkit here:
Need Help with Postpartum Depression? Try This Simple Method
At a time when you may feel a loss of control, here’s a method that can help you figure out what things you CAN actually control. This will help you weed out the things you can’t control and feel less overwhelmed by your thoughts and problems.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Grab 2 pieces of paper.
- On one sheet of paper, list the problems or negative thoughts that you’ve been struggling with recently.
- On the second piece of paper, draw three columns.
- Label the first column “Things I Can Control.”
- Label the second column “Things I Can Influence but Not Control.”
- And label the third column “Things I Cannot Control or Influence.”
- Then, go through each problem/negative thought you listed on the first page, and place each of them in the appropriate column on the second page.
*Keep in mind that a relationship or something that involves another person should not go in the column with things you can control. You cannot control another person; although, you may be able to influence that person or the relationship.
Note: These pages are included in my Postpartum Depression Toolkit, which you can grab for free here:
Next Steps to Help with Postpartum Depression Treatment
When you’re done, double-check to make sure you placed everything in the correct columns.
Now take a look at that last column, “Things I Cannot Control or Influence.” Because you cannot control or influence those things, let that stuff go.
If you can’t control or influence them, don’t worry about them or waste your time thinking about them. We spend too much time trapped in our thoughts about things that we have no control over anyway.
That’s perhaps the most important part of this exercise: realizing we’re not always in control and learning to let things go.
As for the rest of the problems, think about how you can take action to resolve them. Break things down into small, actionable steps so you don’t get overwhelmed, and try to come up with a goal for when you want to accomplish each of them. Write it all down so you don’t forget.
When you sort through what you can control versus what you can’t, it helps you to get unstuck and to feel less overwhelmed and weighed down by everything. It also helps you to narrow down and prioritize what you should be focusing on.
What Else Can You Do to Help Yourself with Postpartum Depression?
If it’s too hard to simply let your negative thoughts go, a good idea is to challenge them instead.
A lot of the time, the negative thoughts that we’re having that lead to depression are false, irrational, or simply not helpful.
- “My husband never helps me with the baby.”
- “Having a baby is too much for me to handle.”
- “I don’t think I’ll ever look as good as I did before I had the baby again.”
Whenever you use extremes (like never or always) in your thinking, you’re thinking irrationally.
So you want to challenge the truth of the thoughts you’ve been having. Then, you want to reframe your thoughts in a more rational or positive way.
The hard part about this? Our irrational, negative thinking can happen so automatically that it can be very difficult to pinpoint those thoughts.
But a way to make this easier is to write your thoughts down as you notice them. When you’re feeling depressed, you’ll notice a much larger flow of these negative/irrational thoughts. So that would be a good time to break out the pen and paper.
Then, write down the healthier way of reframing each thought. And repeat the healthier way to yourself over and over again.
Does this sound a little complicated? I include a worksheet to help with this in my Postpartum Depression Toolkit, which you can grab for free here:
And Don’t Forget About This Way to Get Help with Postpartum Depression
The tips I discussed above can be super helpful.
But let me emphasize that these are best to use in combination with mental health counseling.
Did you know that not seeking treatment for postpartum depression can cause it to become even more intense and last even longer? (Related Post: 12 Facts You Didn’t Know About Postpartum Depression).
So it’s very important to get help with postpartum depression sooner rather than later. But these tips can certainly help the process of coping with postpartum depression along.
What do you think about the method I mentioned above?
Disclaimer: Although I was a therapist before I became a stay-at-home mom, I am not your therapist. Reading this content does not enter you into a client-therapist relationship with me. The content in this post is meant to be used as a general guideline, not a diagnosis or treatment recommendation. It has not been individually tailored to your needs. Therefore, I am not liable for any losses or damages due to actions or failure to act in relation to this content. If you are in need of therapeutic services, please seek the support of a mental health counselor.
Postpartum Progress (n.d.). Frequently asked questions about postpartum depression and related illnesses. Retrieved from http://www.postpartumprogress.com/frequently-asked-questions-on-postpartum-depression-related-illnesses.