Our family lived in Boca Raton, Florida, for a decade. While there, a friend of mine had her second baby — and was blind-sided by severe postpartum depression.
Now I'd seen a number of people who'd been diagnosed as being mild to moderately depressed. They were functional, but kind of down in the dumps. All the time. But this woman was unlike anything I'd ever seen. She wasn't sad. She was completely apathetic and nearly catatonic.
When I had very young children, one of the most stressful events was to have a colicky baby who cried inconsolably. Not only did my inability to soothe my own child make me feel like an incompetent mother, but the constant crying left me physically exhausted as well. Combine the emotional and physical issues and it was like a load of bricks landing on your head.
But even with a brand new baby — and an elementary-school aged child to boot — my friend wasn't the least bit stressed or anxious. Instead she was completely disinterested.
Once while visiting her — and by “visiting,” I mean sitting in the room with her while she, literally, stared at the wall for an hour — my friend's mother (who had come to take care of the baby) walked in with the newborn and asked, “Would you like to hold Sally?”
My friend, without so much as glancing over, said, “I guess that will be OK.”
She took the baby and held her like a sack of groceries for a couple of minutes. No rocking. No swaying. No cooing. No eye contact. She stared at the wall. The baby started to fuss. The mom didn't respond. Grandma came back and took the baby.
Never before had I seen such behavior. And I couldn't understand it. But I knew my friend desperately needed help. Sometimes we simply cannot conquer problems on our own. Some issues are just too big and require professional help. Among those are severe depression, anxiety, eating disorders, alcoholism, and drug addiction.
To be honest, I don't have a lot of experience with people who have addiction problems. I'm a Mormon and we're kind of known for clean living. If you don't ever smoke, you're not likely to get addicted to nicotine. If you don't drink, you're not going to end up drunk in a ditch. If you have a moral — not just legal — compunction against using illicit drugs, you probably won't find yourself shooting up in an alley.
I have, however, known people who became addicted to prescription meds and have seen not only the direct result of those addictions, but the other co-occurring disorders that can go along with them. And if depression and anxiety are bad — and they are — they are many times worse when existing in conjunction with addictions.
Although I've never been in a position to dictate or even recommend treatment to such a person, I have thought about what I would look for. I'm always impressed with the advertisements for Cancer Treatment Centers of America. They promote a holistic approach to attacking the disease. They offer resources that deal with:
I have often thought that if I had any kind of disease or ailment, this would be the best way to approach it — from all angles.
Recently I learned of a drug rehab center in Delray Beach, Florida, the city right next door to Boca. It seems to approach addictions and associated issues in much the same way CTCA treats cancer. Specifically, they focus on:
- Relapse prevention
- Yoga, tai chi, and other strengthening methods
- Emotional issues
- Emotional support
- Family issues
- Music & art therapy
If you or a loved one is dealing with a life-altering situation such as drug addiction, eating disorders, or similar problems, consider calling the Delray Recovery Center. You can talk to a counselor for free and see if what they offer is a good fit.
Have you dealt with an addiction issue in your family? What methods worked best in resolving these issues?