Oh joy. What a happy topic to start off the blog. I did not choose this topic, it chose me. So here we go. Postpartum depression is real and it is hard. The hardest part for me was coming to terms with it and seeking the help I needed. At the time, I was still full time in college, working, being a mom and home maker, and didn’t have much spare time. After Leo was born, I stayed home with him for a while due to his colic. I felt I couldn’t leave my baby that cried so much that I wanted to sew my ears shut. I always thought if I felt that way, what would someone who wasn’t his creator do to suppress the crying? I also have some unrecognized PTSD from my younger years. I witnessed and was victim of many things in my life that has caused my anxiety and stress to be so out of hand. I was able to deal with it and live normally before I had my son. After, I could not leave him with anyone without having a pit in my stomach. And the times I left him were very, very scarce for the first few months of his life. Even with the people I trusted with my life could not watch him without me calling and checking in, making sure he wasn’t too difficult or crying too hard, and I would often rush home as soon as possible no matter what. This became very draining. When you lock yourself in a small house with a colicky infant and don’t seek help, it really starts to take a toll on your mental health. But, I thought I was doing what was best for my son and I. I tried to ignore my depression for the longest time. I couldn’t leave the house with my son without someone with me, I felt alone most of the time, I felt helpless, and most of all, I felt like a terrible parent. When the intrusive thoughts began to swarm my head, I knew it was time. I started pushing everyone away, only wanted to stay home or sleep. I lost a crazy ton of weight (all of the weight I gained from pregnancy, and then some) and I couldn’t gain an appetite. I started to envy friends who would complain about their lives, thinking mine was worse but not saying it out loud. I expected everyone to just understand, but how could they when I never said anything? When I finally started to express how I felt, I realized that it isn’t wrong to fall into postpartum depression. It does not mean you are a bad parent, wife or friend. It does not mean you need to sit in silence and hope one day things will get better. What is wrong, ignoring it. Ignoring the depression and bottling up all the feelings and sadness will just make it more difficult. Seek help. Not only for yourself, but for your baby, your spouse or significant other, your family and friends. Your child(ren) deserve to have a happy and healthy parent, and you deserve to feel happiness. When I was, sort-of, getting better without help, I found out my mom found a lump in her breast and was going to have it checked. That is when the word cancer became so difficult to say. I got a call one day from my mom, and she explained that the tests came back and that she had cancer, I sat down on the floor and cried. I couldn’t speak or open my eyes. I just sat there and cried. It took me a while to get myself together before calling her back to get the details. But it was in that moment that I realized that depression had won, and I could not fight it anymore. I went to see my OBGYN for help, my mom came with me. When I told him I just wasn’t feeling ok, and explained my thoughts and emotions, what I was going through and how it affected my life, I began to cry. I cried because I finally said it all out loud. I finally accepted it and asked for help. I felt so relieved. We decided jointly to start medication, and go from there. I am so thankful that I finally sought the help I needed, especially before my son’s autism diagnosis. Without my current medication, I am a wreck. It’s hard to admit that. It’s hard to admit that I need medication to feel ok. I still don’t feel like myself, and we are still working on finding the right medicine and the perfect dose. I plan to start seeing a psychiatrist now that I have freed up some time by taking a break from school. This post is not to go into much detail about my story, but to hopefully encourage those who are fighting postpartum depression to seek the help they need. If you are a loved one of someone who is fighting postpartum depression, please talk to them about it. Help them help themselves. Don’t stand by and wait from them to admit it or seek help on their own. Postpartum depression is a very scary and dark place to sit in and without help, it could end in serious and devastating consequences.
Visit https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline to get information on resources on depression. You are not alone and you are not weak for seeking help. You matter, even when your brain tells you otherwise.