Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Ugly Truth

I've recently realized something. It's an embarrassing and guilt-ridden and shameful secret. But I'm going to post about public...for all to read. I have Post Adoption Depression Syndrome (PADS).

In all of my adoption research, I had heard of PADS and though I know that I have been "going through something" for the past month I wouldn't have thought to call it "depression." What I'm experiencing doesn't look like what I thought depression looked like. However, after doing some online research I realize now that I definitely have PADS.

Looking back I can clearly see that I have had periods of depression several times in my adult life. And the way I've dealt with (or in some cases not dealt with) my depression has been very different pre- and post-children. Before becoming a mother I was able to lie low, distance myself from friends, stay in bed all day. When I was annoyed and irritated with everyone I could just retreat. This is simply not possible as a mama of young children.

So, when I've had bouts of depression since becoming a mother, I've alternated between sadness and anger. Jack and Logan have experienced my crying and shouting more times than I count. And that triggers the guilt. Now with Des and Bri at home, I can't help feeling like I've ruined six lives. Every day is insanely stressful and everyone is feeling frustrated. My patience and feelings of compassion are practically non-existent.

For me, the first step is knowing what I have and that I am not alone. The following articles/blog posts were very helpful in my self-diagnosis:
Post-Adoption Depression by Melissa Fay Greene
Post-adoption Panic by Melissa Fay Greene
My Lightbulb Moment by Julie Gumm

The second step is getting help for which I'm getting together a gameplan. In the meantime, I'm living by the motto "fake it 'til you make it." My Facebook updates and previous blog posts have all been an act. In public, I put on this big fake smile and just try to muddle through the days. Hopefully, I can get some help soon and find a real smile to brighten my children's days.


  1. Praying for you tonight, Carey! You are a brave woman to be real...and you will help so many others by your realness.
    Hugs to you.

  2. Very brave post. You are a great mom - to recognize this and to do something about it. We'll help you anyway we can! Love you - even if you are imperfect!!

  3. I wholeheartedly agree that being open and honest about the depression is so helpful. I have not experienced PADS, but I have experienced Post-Partum Depression after the twins. Being honest about it and getting help was a true life & sanity saver for everyone in the family! Sending you all the prayers and positive thoughts ... and know that "this to shall pass".

  4. My gosh, I am so sad for you my dear friend. I wish I was there to give you a big hug and some much needed help. I'm so glad to hear you have a game plan. Please call me anytime. If there is anything I can do, I will. I love you. Hang in there.

  5. Carey, you're a wonderful mom. Don't you dare doubt that. I guess all of us go thru this but none of us are brave enough to blog about it. Hang in there.

    Sending hugs and prayers to you.

  6. this first step you have taken is the best move to helping get through this. please remember to be kind to yourself. big hugs

  7. k, you officially get the *super brave blogger* award! it takes so much umph to admit you are having a hard time and I think that is very much a step in the right direction.
    Somethings that I have found helpful in times of intense stress and struggle might be helpful for you.
    first of all make sure you are eating well and getting enough water. if you eat anything that resembles a typical american diet then supplements are key. a good multi, greens supplement, omega 3-6-9 blend and probiotic can get your system function well again and help you from the inside out. When things are in balance in your body it reduces your natural adrenaline response to stress...a healthy mama is a much happier mama.
    second: a strict routine around chores can make it so you don't feel like you are always cleaning and never done. this is especially good if all the kids have tasks so you aren't doing everything. we have set it up so that we have after breakfast chores and after supper chores with everyone pitching in to clean up after lunch. this gives me time to actually play with the kids, do lessons, go for walks... which brings me to thing 3:
    getting fresh air. even if its just 30 minutes around the block, tossing the littles in the stroller and seeking some head to the sky time can be sooooo helpful and gives you a fresh perspective when reentering the home front.
    and thing 4: talk. talk to adults. talk to mama's who have more then 2 kids and can identify with crazy busy. talk to other adoptive mamas, talk to your love.
    thing 5: allow yourself a "babymoon" snuggle, stay in jammies and read books on the couch, paint, play, build blanket forts that stay up for day. remember that you love your children and your life and that you can be a mom and still have fun!;)

    You can do this. Your heart is so big and has experienced so much. forgive yourself, be gentle with yourself, love yourself.

    know that we all yell and cry and fall apart at the seams. you are not alone.

    sending you healing vibes and much love,
    Jenn, also mama to 2 boys and 2 girls and adopting 2 kiddos from Ethiopia...some day:)

  8. Keep your chin up and the honesty coming! It sucks in a hardcore way (as I well know), but there is strength in community, family, and God and you've got all of those on your side. Shoot me an email if you ever need to freak out. I bet I can one up you. :) lol

  9. I suffer from bi-polar disorder, so I understand depression. You are doing the exact right thing by doing research and being active about helping yourself.

    Your depression is hopefully temporary and there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

    Sending prayers your way,

  10. Thanks for being real and for sharing your heart. I know it is really tough right now. You have been on my heart...I will continue to pray for you and your crew. Please let me know if there's anything I can do to help!

  11. Carey- I am so sorry, but I am glad that you are sharing this to help others and I am more glad that you have a game plan. If you need anything let us know. We are here for you- any time- day or night. You are an amazing mama and know that your friends are here to help you. Love you!

  12. carey...much love to you from VA. Wish I was closer to be able to love in person. Thanks for being real and honest. That step in itself helps others. You WILL get through this.

  13. Oh Carey, I'm so sorry to hear it. But I'm glad that you're trying to understand it and get help. I wish I had something to say that would make it better for you, but I don't. I'll be praying for you though.

  14. I think you are amazing and very brave. If there is anything that I can do to help in anyway, my email address is always there. Keep your chin up and best of luck with everything. I am so sorry to hear that you are going through this. Beyond amazed at your strength. With love, Lisa

  15. Sending love to you Carey for your courage! As I said before, reach out anytime and I will be there for you. I have a lifetime of experience dealing with depression and am vocal about it since it was so taboo when I was first diagnosed and I had such shame. Not anymore! I am here if ever you want to talk.

  16. Carey,

    You are SO brave to come forward and post this, what a help you are possibly being to others out there in the same boat. So thankful you recognize the symptoms and that you can now start seeking the help you need to get you back on your feet. Hugs to you!

  17. Oh goodness, Carey. I hope that you feel much love and support from everyone around you, and from your readers here. While I have not experienced this specifically, I did have awful PPD after my first son was born and I remember like it was yesterday, the guilt I felt over being so depressed and impatient with my husband and baby. Now I have nothing but love for that girl back then, and you also will come through this. Hang in there. It's going to get better.

  18. This is nothing to be ashamed of.
    I'm so proud of you for realizing that you need to be real--with yourself and with others. It does no one any good if you aren't real.
    I struggled with Post Partum Depression for 3 out of my 4 babies. And the only reason I didn't for number 4 was because I, with my midwife's advice, was proactive and got on the meds BEFORE I had him.
    There is this STUPID stigma with depression and I FOR ONE WANT to RID the WORLD of it!
    Will you join my bandwagon?
    Yahoo! I'm so proud of you for being real! Now, you are right it's time for step 2!
    Go for it Carey!

  19. Oh I am so sorry... I had PPD after my first was born. I didn't know what was wrong with me. It was horrendous. I am glad you are acknowledging this and getting some help. Hang in there... hugs...

  20. Carey, I'm so sorry. I went through PAD after adopting my son and I know how black of a period it can be. You're already ahead of the game simply by getting diagnosed. Personally, I had no clue for months. My motto simply was "fake it til I feel it," and eventually that paid off both with my depression and with the attachment difficulties my son and I had.

    The only advice I would ever deign to give is to be kind to yourself. The anger and frustration you feel, and the resulting guilt, are all natural. Don't beat yourself up (or try not to). Maybe try to treat yourself the way you would treat someone else? We're usually better to others than we are to ourselves. All the best to you and your family.

  21. Carey - Glad God prompted my heart to visit you today!

    Please be gracious with yourself. Adoption is hard. Transitions can be even harder even when the children do well - the parents go through a period of adjusting to the new normal too.

    Ask others to help you and allow them to pitch in to love on you and your family now. Praying for many to join forces with you to help you get through this period.

    I'm proud of you and will be praying for you. Let me know how I can help from here!

    God bless and know that you are not alone!

  22. Oops posted as Scott ( Jill

  23. Carey,
    I admire you for sharing the truth of what you are feeling so that other adoptive moms can know it is o.k. to feel these things. What a blessing you are to so many.

  24. Hey Carey, You are HONEST with yourself about where you are and that is GOOD and are already on your way to a genuine smile...thank you for your is SO HARD when we have these EXCITING life changes/blessings and they are SOOOO stressful at the same time...such conflicting emotions!!

    Praying for you and the entire family.

  25. I think of you often in my prayers. I can relate with you and I know what you're going through is not easy, and the guilt can be heavy on you shoulders. You really have gone through a whole lot and you have a lot on your plate with 4 little ones. Forgive yourself, no one is perfect and I think we all have lows at some times. I just want to share with you what works for me lately; help from a psychologist or psychiatrist,a good nights rest (possibly not realistic for you right now... but that time will come), and exercise, once you start, little by little I think your mood will improve and you'll probably have a much more positive outlook on each day, maybe a friend or family member can watch them for an hour a few times/week. The days I work out, I really notice a big difference in my mood, I don't even really care about shaping up my body, I do it for a mental shape up (but I don't mind of course if I physically get more fit either :) Be easy on yourself, you've gone through a lot of stresses, and you're human.

  26. Hey Carey -- Glad to see you posting about this subject. Adoption isn't always puppies and roses. Neither are our bios, right? I had PPD after both my bios, but was ready for it with my second so it wasn't so bad. But the PADS hit hard when I brought Eli home. I totally get it. He's been home 6 months, and there's no doubt that I love him to pieces, but we're still in transition. My mantra is to judge NOTHING for a year. Not your marriage, not your adoption, not your relationship with any of your kids. A full year. It changes everything. As do good pharmaceuticals. Go Team Zoloft.

    Jen B.

  27. I am praying for you! Depression is not an easy thing to recognize or overcome especially on your own. I am so glad that you recognize it and are getting the help you need! It's so good of you to post about this honestly and openly. There are so many people going through the same thing who deny it. I will be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.

  28. Thank you for honesty...I'm sure you aren't alone. I can only imagine all the emotions you could go through in the post-adoption stress time.

    I'm praying for you, Carey! Remember, this too shall pass!


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