My battle with postpartum depression and anxiety

depressed woman in bedroom postpartum depression
photo credit: Melissa via photopin (license)

On New Year’s Day 2015, I woke up in such a pit of despair that I almost immediately began to cry and couldn’t stop until about three that afternoon. Luckily, my mother-in-law came to babysit my son, so my husband could help take care of me.

I’d always heard of postpartum depression, or the worse cases of postpartum psychosis, where a mom may harm or even kill her children. And I’d heard of the “baby blues,” too. As a teenager and into young adulthood, I’d felt at times that I’d dealt with mild depression.

But this was different. This wasn’t moodiness or just feeling down. What I felt had no basis in reality; there was no real reason I couldn’t stop crying. I finally knew what true depression felt like. I felt completely and totally alone.

I felt crazy and as if I was the only woman to have such terrible feelings. It seemed as though no one else I knew or saw was facing the same things I was. My friends and family who had babies did not seem depressed. They seemed totally the opposite.

I now realize I wasn’t alone. And moms, if you can relate to these words, you are not alone either.

I still get weekly emails from Babycenter, which I’ve really come to enjoy. They often focus on things relevant to me and my son at his current age, like teething or learning to crawl/stand/walk.

Help and Support if you have Postpartum Depression and Anxiety

An email I recently received promoted a video about postpartum depression (PPD) from a nonprofit called Postpartum Progress. The video made me cry yet again, because I suffered  suffer from postpartum depression and anxiety. I’ve realized over the past few weeks that I am not truly 100 percent recovered.

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. I struggle with mental illness for two reasons. First, I hate taking medication for anything. Second, I almost always quit counseling. It seems to be great for a few weeks, but then I realize I’m paying someone money we don’t have to go whine for 50 minutes. (I do feel there is a place and need for therapy, but it is imperative to go in with the right mindset, find a counselor who fits your needs and stick with it!)

I am still seeing a doctor for this diagnosis. From time to time, I face serious anxiety attacks. I’m particularly critical of myself as both an individual and as a mother. But I’m working on it. And now, instead of facing mostly bad days, I have some good days mixed in. I can see that I’m getting better.

The important thing is to recognize what’s happening and to get help. I’m hopeful that other moms who read this won’t wait to get treatment until they hit rock bottom like I did.

If you’re feeling down and a new mom, check out this list of symptoms. And remember, you don’t have to feel alone!
photo credit: Melissa via photopin (license)