I have never understood the stigma attached with mental disorders. Why would you make them feel even more self conscious than they already do? It shouldn’t be something to be ashamed of. Especially if you’re getting help. We should be here for each other. Not putting each other down.
In September of 2016, I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. He is the light of my life. He has given me a new found purpose. Before I found out he was going to grace the world with his presence.. I wasn’t sure where I was going in life. That’s a scary thought. I was just kind of existing. Going about my days worried about what I was going to drink next, rather then what step towards my future I was going to take next. My self esteem was so low and I was searching for self confidence in the bottom of a bottle. Low self esteem can cause depression. Anxiety also leads to depression, which I had always struggled with to a certain extent. I just wasn’t exactly sure how much..
Liam has shown me a love I’ve never known before. That little boy has brought so much happiness and joy into my life and I couldn’t be more thankful for him. The happiness he brought me also came with an extreme amount of guilt for the emptiness I was feeling. I couldn’t stop crying. I could actually feel how physically sad I was. It was so deep I could feel it in my bones. My thoughts wouldn’t stop. I couldn’t sleep. I didn’t have an appetite. I made myself eat occasionally because I knew I had to for my C-section scar to heal. I couldn’t stop crying. The pins and needles feeling in my hands wouldn’t go away. The tightness in my chest. Every time I got in the car I wanted to drive and keep driving because I felt like everyone would be better off if I wasn’t around. My son had brought me to the highest I had ever felt in my life.. so why was I also feeling the lowest I have ever felt?
Well for my follow up appointment with my OBGYN he said I had checked all of the boxes for post-partum depression. He had put me on a higher dose of Zoloft and had recommended a few counselors to me. I was afraid this would happen. I didn’t want to have to rely on medicine to help me get through the day. What was wrong with me? Why was I so unbelievably happy, but at the same time so sad? I should be frolicking through fields of daisies singing at the top of my lungs! I love my son so much, what the Hell is going on with me?
He had recommended a few counselors and when I was in the car on my way to meet my first one I had this overwhelming sense of fear. Is this lady going to judge me? Is she going to send me to a psych-ward? She’s going to tell me I’m crazy. Am I even going to know what to say when I go in there? Are we just going to sit there and stare at each other for an hour? Well needless to say, the first counselor and I didn’t click. She helped me figure out that I was battling post part-um depression, anxiety and OCD. I had checked 36/40 of the symptoms. Unfortunately for us, her help stopped there. I think my specific situation just wasn’t one that she was going to be able to do much with. I was clearly post part-um depression, anxiety and OCD.. But there was much more to it. There were underlying pieces and she couldn’t help me fix those pieces.
After my Super-Mom found a new doctor for me; one that draws blood to see if there are more biological reasons for depression, I was sent from there to see Becky. She is a counselor in Lawrence and she has been a life saver for me. Literally. 45 minutes with her and I found myself talking about things that I had intentionally buried deep inside and tried for months, some for even years to ignore. Which was part of that underlying issue my first counselor couldn’t quite help me with. I never feel judged by Becky, and it truly feels like I’m just talking to a friend. A friend that has helped me face some demons that I have always had, I just kept running away from.
After seeing Becky for the last two months, I find my self esteem is slowly but surely getting better. My depression has gotten much better. I don’t have that bone-deep sadness anymore. Sure, there are days here and there that I do feel low and I don’t want to even get out of bed, but those are the days that I roll over, I look at my son and I remember who I’m doing it for. Liam and I are establishing our own weekly routines with school and church. The best part of my week is the hour we spend together in church! I look forward to it every day. All the proof in God I need is in my son, so I’ve found myself re-establishing my relationship with God and thanking Him for sending Liam my way to show me why I’m here.
I am sharing my story for anyone who may be reading this wondering if she’s going to get through it. You will, Momma. Don’t feel bad. Don’t feel alone. The stigma attached with depression isn’t fair. We shouldn’t feel bad about going through something we have no control over. Especially if you’re willing to get help. Medicine is only a small portion of the healing process. Finding a counselor, unless you’re one of the lucky ones, is a true trial and error process. It can get hard, and the error may make you feel like you’re alone, but you’re not. The right counselor for you is out there. And I promise, you’re not alone. Many women suffer from PPD.
We should be able to talk to each other about it. Lend a helping hand to a mom you may be concerned is battling post part-um depression. I promise you, no one is harder on her right now than herself. She may just need you as a friend or family member to lift her up. To be that ear to listen, shoulder to cry on or maybe a hand to hold. So I’m sharing my story to offer myself as an ear to listen. To let you know, post part-um or just battling regular depression, you’re not alone.
And when you get help and get over that hump, be sure to thank those who were behind you to help push you over that hump.So not only am I sharing my story, I’m sharing my public thank you note.
To my amazing parents, brother, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents.. To the select few friends, (you know who you are) I hold near and dear to my heart who have stood by my side and took this depression head on with me. They never judged. They always listened. And most importantly, they always told me the truth.. that it’s going to be okay. I want to tell you that I love you all more than I can accurately put into words. I am beyond grateful for you all and hopefully the day will come that I can find a way to repay you all for being there for me.
Just know that whenever you need us, Liam and I will be there.