Have you ever thought of taking your own life?
It happened to me. It could happen to you.
Hush hush, we are in the South and aren’t supposed to talk about this sort of thing at all. Postpartum depression (PPD) grabs the life you once had and rips it apart, even though you’re supposed to care for this new baby you longed for and brought into the world. People don’t understand it, but it should be talked about because it’s happening to women everywhere.
Every day, I battle living with the effects of PPD such as lethargy, negative self-image, pushing away people you once loved, and the feeling like you can’t do anything right. Waking up itself is a chore when you battle depression, trying to fight an aching body and a brain craving extra sleep.
I was so sleepy and lethargic all the time and felt really down. I thought it was just because I was waking every hour or so to feed or rock my baby. But as every month passed I felt worse and worse.
I was not a depressive person before pregnancy, but the hormones after pregnancy threw me out of whack. I first knew I had PPD when I got home from the hospital and didn’t feel bonded with my baby, which made me feel guilty sending me in a downward spiral. Some people refer to this as baby blues, but baby blues only lasts in the first three months postpartum.
After that, it’s called PPD for up to one year postpartum, then after the first year, you’re classified as clinically depressed. I’ve been battling PPD and clinical depression for almost two years now, trying every psychiatric medicine traditional (and nontraditional) under the sun, therapy, exercise, you name it, I’ve tried it. One depression medicine will work for a while, then it’ll just stop working, causing me to relapse.
It would be the most beautiful day outside, and all I wanted to do was sleep.
I could sleep and sleep for hours and still wake up not feeling rested, my face and lips so pale, my desire to do anything removed, even the need to take care of my new precious baby! The same baby that I wanted so much I underwent surgery and fertility procedures and treatment to get pregnant. Some days are better than others, but that dark cloud is always there, no matter how many times you wish it would go away.
The way that other people view us PPD women just sucks. So many people told me to snap out of depression. If I could just snap out of it, trust me, I would. Those are the people who don’t understand why, how, or what I could possibly be depressed about.
They just don’t get that it is truly a chemical imbalance that encompasses you.
Who loves female hormones? Not this girl. The other night I put on a full waterworks show! Could. Not. Stop. Crying. I started laughing, then boom, crying again. WTF! My poor husband Chris, held me, probably thinking, “How long is this one gonna last? Crazy coot!” But, he said nothing as he held me, and I did feel better after. I’m guessing I had a lot of pent up stress inside me that needed to come out. And out it did!
Yes, depression still kicks my ass every single day. It’s a battle, then I get back up and do it all again the next day. Why? I look at my perfect creation, my daughter, and I know it’s worth it. I know I’d go to the ends of the Earth for her. But, it doesn’t mean my PPD has lifted. It’s still there, it will always be there haunting and torturing me like a lost soul.
Please recognize the signs of PPD in yourself, and look to help other women.
I fight for my life every single day. I hope to help get the word out that it’s ok to have (and admit to having) postpartum depression. We are in this together, we women are strong, and we can fight this.
Editor’s Note: Part II in Victoria’s story will be posted soon