So, you have been diagnosed with postpartum depression, or a parinatal mood disorder, and you are looking for postpartum depression treatment..what do you do? I am going to present options in a series of posts because there are so many paths to healing. Where one therapy may resonate with someone, another therapy may be needed for another person, and for some people it is not about psychotherapy and it may be exercise that heals them, or yoga, or meditation.
I am going to begin with a very classic therapy for postpartum depression treatment called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is all about changing perception, or what we term as reframing and then once we cognitively reframe situations, we will organically feel less depressed. We do this via recognizing when our thoughts or perceptions are distorted and how they are distorted. Three common distortions that we sit with when we are depressed are outlined below.
We focus on the negative and filter out any positive things happening in our day. For example, today was the worst day, I got another parking ticket. Well, what else happened? My daughter gave me a big hug. My partner checked in with me and made sure I was okay. The sun is shining. Always challenge your thinking, with the idea of: What else happened today? Or as I like to put it, what were the onions and orhids of your day? Onion: I got a parking ticket. Orchid: I got a hug from my daughter. I got my daughter to school on time.
2. Polarized Thinking (or “Black and White” Thinking)
This idea is all about creating a middle ground. There is no such thing as a black and white situation, an all or nothing. There are always shades of grey. Or as I like to emphasize with my clients, mixed feelings are the most real and the most meaningful. For example, I both like and do not like my commute. Rather than: I hate commuting. What does commuting provide? Down time to sit and think. A nap. What does it take away from? It adds time to my work day. So I both like and do not like my commute.
This is a very important one. I will start with an example. A client is no longer depressed and then has a bad day. Overgeneralization would signify that bad day as a recurrence of the depression, when actually it is just a bad day. We all have them. Overgeneralization is coming to a single conclusion based on one single event. My baby will never stop crying. Well, no, he or she will. It just feels that way because he crying a lot.
I love this book. It is written for clinicians but just as useful for the lay person to read.
“Stop it, and give yourself a chance.”
― Aaron T. Beck