For several months after getting married, I suffered from a moderate form of depression. It took me a really long time to figure out that what I was feeling was actually related to getting married and the wedding itself. There seems to be little research done on the subject, with most publications or articles I’ve found calling the phenomenon post-wedding, post-nuptial or post-honeymoon blues. In some ways I find writing off depression as any old case of the blues to be rather aggravating. For several months, depending on the day, I would actually go from mild to severe depression. This was a constant state of being that wouldn’t just go away. I am doing a lot better now, but it was a real emotional process that I had to work through personally and still deal with every once in a while.
Most of the internet research I have done states that one in ten women experience post-nuptial depression – PND – after their wedding. I was honestly comforted to hear this. For a while, I thought I was either going crazy or had a serious problem. Just one month after the wedding, I began to go down a road of withdrawal from social activity. I had volunteered to be part of my company’s softball team but was finding myself not wanting to go to the once-a-week, hour-long games. All I really wanted to do was go home after work and sit on the couch. I stopped exercising. I even stopped talking to people I cared about, like my mom and my friends. It was all I could do to go to work every day. Wasn’t that enough? It got to the point where I was barely functioning on a minimal basis and began to self-medicate daily. I wasn’t self-medicating to the extreme, but I did begin to consider drinking 3-4 glasses of wine a night normal. My husband didn’t appreciate this. He didn’t really like that I never wanted to do anything and thought that I was drinking too much. That would make me angry and want another glass of wine out of spite, which, as you can obviously guess, is not a good thing. I really didn’t feel like he understood me. I really couldn’t explain myself in a rational manner, either, mostly because I couldn’t even figure out what was wrong. I just knew how I felt.
After my doctor advised I get a counselor to work out the life changes that were affecting my emotions and causing me to self-medicate, I decided to do some research on depression. Here are a few definitions from Wikipedia:
Clinical Depression: A common psychiatric disorder, characterized by a persistent lowering of mood, loss of interest in usual activities and diminished ability to experience pleasure.
Postpartum Depression: A form of clinical depression which can affect woman, and less frequently men, after childbirth.
There was no definition for post-nuptial depression. Although there has been significantly more research done on postnatal depression, I find similarities within my own experience that make me think PND may be on the same level as postpartum. Both forms of depression affect mainly women and follow a major life-event – a stressful, life-changing event. I think that it’s only a matter of time before more research is done, and we’ll find out for sure. Whatever you call it, it’s still depression.
If you are suffering from PND, you still need to get treatment of some kind. My doctor recommended for me to go see a therapist, not to get medication, but to work through the issues affecting me. She also recommended that I stop self-medicating. While I haven’t actually gone to a therapist, I have done a bit of research and stopped self-medicating. So far, things have gotten better. Every once in a while I will get depressed, but it seems to not last as long. Now that I recognize why I feel the way I do, it is easier to confront and work through difficult issues when they crop up.