Q. I have had alot of changes in the past year. Marriage, baby, new city, same job but different (boring) location. I inquired about post pardum depression when my baby was about a month old, but was told that it was hormones. Things haven’t gotten better. I don’t think about hurting my baby, I love him very much. I just don’t have any patience, I’m constantly tired, I’m very irritable, bored at work (which should change in August), I cry often without a real reason & most of all have no motivation (at work or at home). I have recently realized that I am definitely depressed, just unsure if it is post pardum or not. I think that the biggest issue is the move to a much smaller city, but cannot move back for at least 4 more years. Even then it will probably have a negative impact on my status at work. Is therapy really the answer if I am pretty sure what the issue is? Once you are depressed are you always depressed? Same for post-pardum, does it go away over a period of time, with or without medication. If medication is the answer will I have to rely on it forever?

A. It’s hard to say if you are suffering from post partum depression or just depression, or a little of both. To be sure, you should seek counseling. No depression should go untreated. You should not ignore your depression symptoms and hope they will go away on their own. Therapy can be very helpful to you. Now that you are depressed, there is no reason to believe that you will always be depressed. It is typically not a chronic disease with the right help. You are going through a stressful time and have been experiencing a lot of changes. Having a baby is a very big event in one’s life. With a good therapist, you can learn to manage and overcome your depression and live a happier life.

You may need medication but even if you do, you will likely not need to take it forever. Depending on what your doctor thinks, you may not even need medication but if you do, he or she will probably recommend it at least until your depression has lifted and you are feeling better. Some people start treatment by seeing a psychiatrist or their primary care doctor first for medication and then are referred to counseling. Others start with counseling first and then upon the therapist’s recommendation and client’s approval, see a psychiatrist for medication. Either route you choose will be fine. My advice is to seek counseling and possibly medication. Do not ignore your depression symptoms and hope they will go away on their own. If nothing else, get help for your baby’s sake. Your baby needs and deserves an emotionally stable mother. Good luck.