“I never knew I was depressed,” says Trina. “I didn’t realize how bad I felt until I felt better.”
Trina didn’t recognize the postpartum depression she was experiencing after the birth of her third child, Hailee, in 1999 because she bonded well with her first two children.
“I had my first daughter when I was sixteen,” Trina says. “I was twenty-five when I had my son and I got to stay home with him. I was able to bond with him and I never felt better.”
Trina expected the same cozy experience with baby Hailee that she had with daughter Sasha and son Dustin, but that wasn’t to be the case. “Hailee was the most difficult baby,” Trina says. “She didn’t want to latch on and she cried all the time. I didn’t feel connected to her at all. I think that’s when it all started.”
By 2002, things started to get worse. In addition to long crying episodes, Trina began to have panic attacks. “I’d get up at 5:30 a.m. every morning and throw up because I had so much anxiety,” she says. “My husband would ask, ‘What can I do?’ and he’d get up and keep me company.”
“I realized Trina was having difficulties,” says her husband Bob. “But neither of us knew she was suffering with depression until it was so bad she needed help.”
As Bob worked in wild land fire management and was away from home for weeks at a time, Trina felt especially fortunate to have her mother nearby to help. “My mom has had trouble with depression and anxiety for quite some time,” says Trina. So when I called her to tell her what was going on she said, ‘I know what’s wrong with you.'”
Sandy, Trina’s mom, took her to the library for a copy of Hope and Help for Your Nerves by Dr. Claire Weekes. “She had read it herself and knew it was helpful,” says Trina, who found relief within the pages of that book. “I realized that even though I didn’t understand what I was experiencing, someone else knew what I was feeling. I couldn’t put the book down.”
Although Trina was now coming to terms with her depression, she resisted getting help. “I thought I can do this on my own,” she recalls. “I’m a strong person.” But after weeks of tears and anxiety, she finally went to see her doctor. And she was surprised when the first question he posed was “Are you depressed?”
“I didn’t think I had any reason to be depressed,” Trina recalls. Yes, the birth of her third child seemed to trigger her depression, but it was now three years later, and Trina couldn’t find an explanation for her sadness and anxiety. “My doctor explained that depression isn’t always triggered by an outside event, that sometimes it’s simply biological,” she says.
Trina’s doctor prescribed an antidepressant, but it didn’t alleviate her depression. He then prescribed a different one, which according to Trina, “worked too well” in suppressing her emotions. “I didn’t feel anything at all,” she says.
For Trina, the third time was the charm; her doctor prescribed an antidepressant that worked well in managing her depression and anxiety. She admits there are some side effects but that “it’s worth it not to feel the way I did. I don’t want to go through that again.”
Between the medication and counseling, Trina has gotten a handle on her depression. Although she still has “down days,” she’s relieved to know there’s a name for what she had been experiencing and that there’s help available.
Trina’s mom was also instrumental in getting her back on track. “She was my biggest savior,” says Trina. “She called me everyday and made me get up and come over to her house. She’d help me with the kids and take me to the store. I was so grateful that she knew and helped so much.”
Currently in her junior year of nursing school, Trina loves the thought that once she’s earned her degree, she’ll be the one who can help take care of others.
She’s already working on spreading the word by helping to distribute our Teen and Parent Depression and Bipolar Wellness Guides within the Idaho schools. And as Mrs. Eastern Idaho, she’s chosen depression awareness as her platform for when she competes for the title of Mrs. Idaho in March 2008.
“I’m so glad where I am right now,” she says. “I want people to know you may have to deal with depression your whole life, but you can make it through. You can get better. You can live your life.”
|Listen to an interview with Trina and Dr. Laura Rosen about Family Communication|