Running is my PPD anti-depressant

rhuber34's picture

I delivered a beautiful baby girl in August of 07'. The first couple of days I had a lot of energy felt good for the first time in a long time. But after about 2 days it hit me again. I thought why am I so sad why cant I just feel normal. We were in the process of buying a house while we were pregnant and we ended up signing at the hospital the day our daughter was born. We weren't moved in at all, there was no nursery to lay my baby down, and the house chaotic. I figured maybe I was sad I never got the opportunity to nest.

After a couple of months and holding it inside I finally revealed to my Dr. all of the frightening and sad thoughts I had. He said it was PPD. He seemed concerned and wanted to discuss options. He told me that anti-depressants are tricky. It can take months to find the right one. If you do find the one that works for you, you will probably be on it the rest of your life. He said that maybe I should try and get more exercise to create more endorphins and get my serotonin levels up. He advised once or twice a day to go out and just pound the pavement, run as hard and fast as I could.

I'm not an athlete but I'm also not a self medicater.I know some of the chemicals in Anti-depressants are intense so I opted for the exercise. My husband is a firefighter and works 24 hours shifts. With over time he can be gone for 48-72 hours. So naturally I had to find a way to exercise with my brand new bundle.

My husband at the time was doing a shift challenge at work to see which shift could get the most steps. I decided to get a pedometer as well and registered to compete against him. We got a waterproof back pack for our baby and I started walking. With my husband gone in occasional stretches I had to find time to myself. I would strap my daughter into her back pack put on our rain gear, put my headphones in and for 1 hour I was getting my exercise and lost in my music. I new even if she was crying she was dry and safe and would eventually fall asleep with the motion of my foot steps. If I was having a really bad day I would walk twice a day and I would walk fast and hard to get my heart rate up.

As time progressed the happier I became. The endorphins are addicting, I looked forward to my walks. My attitude started to change as well as my over all health. I just felt better all over. After a year it was habitual to get exercise everyday. When I first started my walks I would do a 1 hour 3 mile up hill walk. Now 2 years later I run that hill. My Dr's. advice changed my life, I'm healthy, happy, and drug free.