Disclaimer: The following article mentions the topic of suicide or other sensitive subjects, which may trigger negative thoughts and feelings for those currently suffering or still recovering from a mental or mood disorder. Reader discretion is advised.
For me, postpartum depression was instantaneous. The day I gave birth was the day something in me shifted. I knew something wasn’t right within my body, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. I am by nature a sensitive, emotional person, but after my pregnancy I felt nothing. Instead, I was emotionally numb and experienced a void. I thought I was prepared for postpartum depression; I had researched it and talked to my doctor because I struggle with mental illness. Yet, nothing had prepared me for this.
About 6 months after the birth of my son, I became catatonic. It was like I wasn’t all there–my brain was moving slowly, and I would sit on the couch for hours doing nothing. It is hard to think back on my son’s early years. I was in a stupor and not all there. The biggest regret I have was isolating myself because I was so afraid people would judge me for being so depressed and empty. I didn’t think anyone would understand or listen, so I just stayed silent. I hid myself from my husband, ashamed that I wasn’t the ideal new wife and mother.
A few months later, I started having panic attacks and ruminating/obsessive thoughts. The climax of this story found me getting my stomach pumped and later being restrained in the ICU. I spent the next month in the psychiatric ward trying to regain my sanity. My story ends well. I got help. I am alive. My family is currently happy and whole. Joy comes. It may be slow and tedious at times, but hold on to hope.
Mamas, if I were standing next to you telling you my story, I would look you square in the eyes and say…you are NOT alone. Reach out and speak to a friend, husband, family member, pastor, doctor, anyone. And, if someone judges you or doesn’t understand, that is their own ignorance. Try again and again until your voice is heard and you get the help you need.