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I am a mom, first and foremost, of four amazing children, ages 15, 11, 8, and 7. With the birth of my first child I was so excited because I had gone to college, had our first home and I was more than ready to be a mom! I got home from the hospital and four days after giving birth I couldn’t get out of bed. I felt scared, ashamed that I wasn’t enjoying this new precious baby girl. I cried and that was all I could do. I could hear conversations by my husband calling my mom and sisters and telling them that I wasn’t OK. I wanted to be ok but my mind and body were not. This postpartum started me on a lifelong path of anxiety and depression and panic attacks.

Fast forward 15 years and I had better experiences in the three following children I had because I was on anti-depressants throughout pregnancy and nursing and I still take medication. The medication has had to be tweaked and changed several times the past 15 years. I have had many counseling sessions, cry out loud to myself and other sessions, and just pure panic attacks where I feel like I will never be normal. I have met several women and family and friends who have suffered these exact physical and mental symptoms by talking to them and opening up to them. I didn’t know postpartum depression was even possible when I had my first child at 26 years old. Not one person warned me or told me this might happen. That is why I was so scared and ashamed because I didn’t know anyone around me who spoke of this until I spoke up and then, soon enough, everyone had or knew someone with this terrible illness.

I know I can make it through even the hardest days or several days in a row because of modern medication, therapy, mindfulness, and medication and those around me who I know will love and will listen to me as crazy as my words and mind might sound. I know that by hope, faith, prayers, mindfulness, counseling, and my four beautiful children, that I have reason to always seek out help and assistance so I can be here for them. Even in my darkest hour where I thought my body and mind were never going to be the same or I could never go anywhere in public again for fear of looking like a fool, I never gave up hope or faith. That is what keeps me breathing and moving forward to find joy in my daily life and my children’s lives.

I try to cope by helping others, talking to others who experience what I do, and by being kind to myself. It has taken me years to know that I am not alone, that I need rest, exercise, medication, counseling, music, hikes, walks, hugs, and so much more to fulfill my needs. I also know that anxiety, depression and panic will always subside and there is always a new hour, day, week ahead. I also know that mental illness/depression/panic/anxiety can affect anyone.

I am a mom of four with a wonderful husband. I grew up in St. George, Utah with a more than wonderful family and home. I was successful in going to six years of college and obtaining a teaching degree in special education and occupational therapy. I own a home, car, volunteer at school, work 35 hours a week, I have birthdays for my whole family every year, I am a scout leader, I take in my sister with autism with her living with me three days a week.

I know that anxiety is unpredictable and in my case runs in my family genetic line. I do know that it is manageable and you can have a full and productive life when you learn the triggers, learn to cope, and take care of your needs.

I also have had hyper-thyroid disorder where a nodule/tumor was found on my thyroid. The symptoms were anxiety, fast heart rate, irritability, and panic. So it is important to get blood work and physicals to make sure there is not another underlying cause to anxiety and depression.

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