An Explanation

I've been researching and talking to some friends, and have narrowed down my symptoms. As a person who has suffered from depression, I know that is not exclusively what is going on, although I do admit that I am down from all of these weird changes in my moods and behaviors. I think what has happened is that the postpartum depression I decided to blatantly ignore after both pregnancies gave way to an anxiety disorder, which causes my extreme moods, irratablilty, and OCD like tendencies. Kind of a I-couldn't-control-my-emotions-so-I-must-control-all-else-or-suffer-a-panic-attack kind of thing. Below are some excerpts from some of the articles I read:

"Depression after pregnancy is called postpartum depression or peripartum depression. After pregnancy, hormonal changes in a woman's body may trigger symptoms of depression. During pregnancy, the amount of two female hormones, estrogen and progesterone, in a woman's body increases greatly. In the first 24 hours after childbirth, the amount of these hormones rapidly drops back down to their normal non-pregnant levels. Researchers think the fast change in hormone levels may lead to depression, just as smaller changes in hormones can affect a woman's moods before she gets her menstrual period.

Occasionally, levels of thyroid hormones may also drop after giving birth. The thyroid is a small gland in the neck that helps to regulate your metabolism (how your body uses and stores energy from food). Low thyroid levels can cause symptoms of depression including depressed mood, decreased interest in things, irritability, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, sleep problems, and weight gain. A simple blood test can tell if this condition is causing a woman's depression. If so, thyroid medicine can be prescribed by a doctor." (Taken from ForWomen.gov)

"Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is an anxiety disorder that is characterized by excessive, uncontrollable and often irrational worry about everyday things, which is disproportionate to the actual source of worry. This excessive worry often interferes with daily functioning, as individuals suffering GAD typically catastrophise, anticipate disaster, and are overly concerned about everyday matters such as health issues, money, family problems, friend problems or work difficulties.[1] They often exhibit a variety of physical symptoms, including fatigue, headaches, muscle tension, muscle aches, difficulty swallowing, trembling, twitching, irritability, sweating, and hot flashes. These symptoms must be consistent and on-going, persisting at least 6 months, for a formal diagnosis of GAD to be introduced. [1] Approximately 6.8 million American adults experience GAD, affecting about twice as many women as men.[2]" (Taken from Wikipedia)

"According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV-Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR), the following criteria must be met for a person to be diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
1. Excessive anxiety and worry (apprehensive expectation), occurring more days than not for at least six months, about a number of events or activities (such as work or school performance).
2. The person finds it difficult to control the worry.
3. The anxiety and worry are associated with three (or more) of the following six symptoms (with at least some symptoms present for more days than not for the past 6 months). Note: Only one item is required in children.
restlessness or feeling keyed up or on edge
being easily fatigued
muscle tension
difficulty falling or staying asleep, or restless unsatisfying sleep
difficulty concentrating or the mind going blank
4. The focus of the anxiety and worry is not confined to features of an Axis I disorder, e.g., the anxiety or worry is not about having a
panic attack (as in panic disorder), being embarrassed in public (as in social phobia), being contaminated (as in obsessive-compulsive disorder), being away from home or close relatives (as in Separation Anxiety Disorder), gaining weight (as in anorexia nervosa), having multiple physical complaints (as in somatization disorder), or having a serious illness (as in hypochondriasis), and the anxiety and worry do not occur exclusively during post-traumatic stress disorder.
5. The anxiety, worry, or physical symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
6. The disturbance is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition (e.g.,
hyperthyroidism) and does not occur exclusively during a Mood Disorder, a Psychotic Disorder, or a Pervasive Developmental Disorder." (Also from Wikipedia)

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