Anger and Postpartum Depression

Anger can be one of the more destructive symptoms of postpartum depression (PPD). Although not everyone experiences anger, many do. For those who have never dealt with unexplained anger, this can be jarring. You may be questioning why you’re feeling so angry all the time. You may want to withdraw from your loved ones due to misdirected anger. You might even feel anger toward your child. In those difficult times, there are some strategies to help you cope with your anger.

Feel Emotions But Understand the Source

If you are angry, allow yourself to feel the emotion. When I tried to pretend I wasn’t angry, it was counterproductive. Pretending like everything was fine actually fueled my anger and made it worse. I had to learn how to let myself feel angry.

However, it was very important to understand the source. When we’re angry, it’s easy to lash out at others and blame them for our emotions. I couldn’t always trust my inner dialogue when dealing with postpartum depression. I felt that the source of my anger was my spouse, my children, or other people. In actuality, the source of my anger was my own postpartum depression. Allowing myself to feel angry while not allowing myself to act angrily toward others was a difficult balance. But it was crucial to helping me cope while maintaining healthy relationships.

Time Alone Is Important

When my emotions were in the driver’s seat, I was not in a place to interact with others or make decisions. In those times, it was best for me to get away from the situation and be alone. Sometimes that looked like a drive around the neighborhood. Sometimes that looked like five minutes in my bedroom with the door locked. Sometimes it was a walk outside.

Whatever form that took, taking that time alone was huge. I realize that’s not always possible. We can’t always remove ourselves every time our anger flares. But it can be helpful, when possible.

Focus on Breathing

In those moments when we can’t remove ourselves, we need strategies to get through the anger. Breathing exercises might sound trite, but they can be helpful. They helped me tremendously. Taking deep breaths had a regulatory effect on my heart rate, mood, and focus. Trying to count to eight while inhaling and exhaling forced me to slow down my breathing, which slowed down my thoughts and emotions. Strong emotions made me feel rushed, whereas slow breaths made me feel calm. It was easier to move forward when I didn’t feel the pressure of acting quickly.

Anger was a symptom I didn’t expect with postpartum depression, but I had to learn to manage it. Just like any PPD symptom, we have to learn how to deal with it in constructive ways. By using these strategies, as well as others, you can experience the anger without letting it control you. Watch the video to learn about my experience with anger and how I wish I’d handled it.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *