Recently I’ve felt my mental health slowly deteriorating and I’m frantically searching for something to keep me from spiraling into a darker place than I already am. I would like to state that I am safe and am in no immediate danger.
What is PPD (Post Partum Depression)?
Mothers can develop various anxiety and mood disorders that often were never there until they gave birth. From my experiences, most mothers that I have known have not sought help. I happen to be one of them.
Mothers are often given the label of perfect. They’re expected to be everything that their family often wants them to be. They have to be a rock for their children, which is a very hard thing to do when you can’t get a grip yourself and are slowly sinking deeper and deeper into depression. I’ve struggled with depression long before I had a child. I remember being a child and feeling empty, but I couldn’t quite explain it. After I turned 10, I was sad most of the time. Quiet. Reserved. I didn’t want to let anyone in.
As I got older, my mood became worse. I had recurring thoughts of death. I never thought that I would live to even graduate high school. My life was full of self-destructive tenancies. I wrestled with self-harm and anorexia through a majority of my teenage years. I always told myself that it had to be normal, and that everyone had their problems. I wasn’t special for feeling this way.
“Someone out there has it worse than I do.”
I constantly used to tell myself.
My depression lingered throughout my pregnancy. I was bed-ridden and completely useless through the entirety of it due to severe morning sickness. “It’s the hormones.” I would say. I convinced myself that having suicidal thoughts while 8 months pregnant was normal. That everyone had them. Once my son came, I figured that my depression might go away. It got worse. While it never prevented me from taking care of my child, it did keep me up during most of the night. My anxiety sky-rocketed, I wasn’t able to even clean the room without becoming overwhelmed and crying.
Anxiety and depression are a nasty pair. One ridicules you for everything you do, the other beats you down until you feel smaller than a grain of sand. During a breakdown, even if the room is silent, it’s deafening inside. Anxiety will be yelling, like a radio with multiple frequencies. They’re full of nasty words and insults. It’s like a large crowd and everyone is trying to talk over one another. Depression will leave me feeling empty. That I have no one even though the love of my life is laying less than an arms length away, peacefully sleeping.
“You have no one,” my brain will hiss. “Everyone leaves, your own family doesn’t even want you.”
When depression creeps up after anxiety’s first attack, that is when I truly feel most alone. If you ever self-harmed, it will leave a tingling numbness trailing through your veins where the blade used to cut you, or where the bobby-pin would singe you. You never lose that feeling. There’s no way to describe it other than when your heart sinks or stomach drops. Most days I tell myself, “what’s the point?” Because I’m worried that I don’t have a future. My brain has been programmed to not allow myself to have ambitions. PPD could almost be considered a ticking time bomb.
I’ve accepted the fact that I have a chemical imbalance in my brain. There’s nothing wrong with me, and it’s okay to feel this way. It’s not just ‘hormones’, and that’s okay. I still haven’t sought professional help, but I’m working on a better me. I’m taking baby steps and trying to modify my life to work around my mental illness, rather than pretending it’s not there.
This is a very overwhelming thing to live with, but I’m doing the best that I can.