Depression is not a new thing for me throughout my life it has been a constant companion of mine. When I was pregnant with Lucas PPD was a great concern of mine because I am already so familiar with depression. The labor and delivery were not ideal, I was scared because he was my first baby and I didn't know what to expect. I was truly blessed when I did not end up with postpartum depression.
I was not so lucky the second time around.
The first two months of Sam's life were great. I was happy. Elated. Intoxicated with love.
I knew the baby blues were coming I had them with Lucas between the lack of sleep, constant breastfeeding, and hormonal changes happening some crying was definitely in my future.
Around two months postpartum things got really rough for me. I was in this never ending funk. My heart ached for no reason, I cried for no reason, and my brain betrayed me. This was supposed to be happy times for me. I have two beautiful kids... kids I never thought I would have and here I am in absolute despair.
For a few weeks I just suffered silently mainly in denial that this was happening to me, which is a vicious cycle and completely unhelpful.
Then I broke the silence and reached out.
I am not someone that reaches out about depression. I'm very careful about what I say and to whom. Yet here I was desperate for someone to talk to. Someone to break me out of the despair that surrounded me.
There is such a huge stigma surrounding mental illness and there shouldn't be.
When someone breaks a bone or gets the flu we all empathize because most of us have experienced some sort of physical problem. Why is it such a stretch to think that the brain, the most complex organ in our bodies, can't break? What makes them so immune?
Mental illness is seen with such disgust. It's why so many of us suffer in absolute silence. Our brains have betrayed us and when we reach out for help we get shunned away with answers like:
"Snap out of it."
"You are weak get over it."
"Think of all the people who have it worse than you."
"It's all in your head."
YES exactly! It IS in my head this is the problem! There is no escape, I'm trapped with these thoughts, the guilt, the sadness and I'm terrified to talk about it in fear of being labeled weak among other things.
I'm not weak. In fact now I know how strong I am because I survived postpartum depression. It is some of the most debilitating depression I've ever experienced and I'm on the other side of it. I'm here battered and bruised but I'm standing.
It's funny looking back and seeing how many times I tried to reach out and it fell on deaf ears. I'm saddened by it and hope to open even one persons eyes by writing this. It's a big deal for me because I'm so private with these thoughts and feelings. I found refuge in so many different places that it really is heartwarming to think about.
For those of you that reached out to me in my time of need from the bottom of my soul Thank You. Thank you for listening. Thank you for cracking jokes. Thank you for bringing light to my darkest days.
Thank you for showing me how strong I really am.
I'll end this with if any of you out there are suffering silently please don't be afraid to reach out like I was. If any of you need to talk I'm here and ready to listen. You are not alone. You are strong and you are loved and it's okay to feel the way you do. It's normal for some of us.
I'll leave these two links below don't hesitate to use them.
You can go to Postpartum Support International's site for local resources.
National Suicide Prevention Hotline
I may post more about this in the future hoping to normalize talking about it since there is such a stigma around it.
Have you suffered from postpartum depression? What helped you get through it?