My Free Falling Journey to Recovery From Postpartum Depression
Have you ever had a dream where you’re free falling? You try with all your might to wake up because your subconscious is telling you if you hit the bottom, you may not survive.
Five years ago I had that same dream; I was falling rapidly, and despite my best efforts I couldn’t wake up. Here’s the catch — I was awake. If you’re doing the math you know my sweet girl was born five years ago and it was at that time I started a free fall into one of the darkest places I’ve ever been.
Becoming a mother is one of the greatest blessings in the world. You’re filled with anxiety, hope, joy and fear all at once. For many women, the moment they give birth, their hearts fill with a warmth and light like none they’ve ever felt before. Yes, they are emotional and hormonal but as they find a routine and bond with their child or children that starts to ease up. However, for some women — like me — the hope and joy are overshadowed by fear and darkness. The need to be the “perfect” mother takes over the realization motherhood is a less than perfect position in life.
I vividly remember the day I had my first “dark” thought. I vividly remember the day I fell on my knees in my closet, crying out to God to help me stop my dark thoughts and pain. I vividly remember the day I got into my car, crying, and drove to my psychiatrist. I remember not being completely honest with her about what I was going through because I didn’t want anyone to take my child away.
I also remember the smiles I gave to family and friends; “We’re doing great,” “I feel good,” and all the other lies I told. I told myself, “I am a Christian. I cannot be depressed. I cannot have anxiety. I cannot be drowning in motherhood.” But I was all of those.
This post, this entire blog, has been about three years in the making. It wasn’t until about a month ago that I told a dear friend and sister what I had actually gone through, what I’m still going through. She, and of course God, is one of two other people who know the whole story.
I can’t remember the exact moment I was “all better,” because I’m not there yet; I don’t believe I’ll ever be 100 percent. I do believe because of who God is, I am here and my daughter is here. I do believe because of prayer I was able to go and get the help I needed to start the process of healing. And I do believe being a Christian doesn’t free me from mental health issues.
I wrote this post as my testimony. But I also wrote it because I know I’m not the only one who’s gone through this and who is going through this. Depression is real. Anxiety is real. Postpartum depression is real. My prayer is somebody reads this and sees themselves — that they read this and sees a friend, sister, cousin, wife, coworker or whoever and reaches out. Listen to them when they say they’re tired. Watch for the lost look in their eyes. Feel the tension when you hug them. And hold their hand and pray for them and get them the help they need.
When I say I have been to the dark side and back, I mean it. But God, I finally woke up from that dream. And for that, I am forever grateful.
Until next time…
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Thinkstock photo via vectorarts.