I think it’s safe to say that everyone was shocked when we learned about their deaths. We heard things like “they had it all”…”they were always so happy”…”never saw this coming!”
Then we were reminded to call the 800-number to talk to someone. People posted very sweet messages on social media letting everyone know that they are there if anyone needs to talk.
I wish it was that simple.
I wish the fix was that easy.
But sadly, it’s not.
After my son was born 7 years ago, I hit a wall and sunk into a dark place. It happened so fast I had no idea what was happening. I would cry uncontrollably over miniscule things – like finding a Goldfish cracker on the floor after I swept. I never slept – even when I was exhausted beyond belief, I still could not fall asleep.
The worst was I thought I was a horrible mom because I wasn’t all gaga over my son like I was my daughter. Talk about an awful feeling as a mom to have. I knew something wasn’t right.
I was diagnosed with Postpartum depression.
At the time, family & friends didn’t help.
I was told things like “Oh you’ll snap out of it”…”You’re just emotional because of all of the hormones”…”You’re too strong, you’ll bounce back”…”This should be a happy time”…”Maybe you just need some fresh air”…”You have nothing to be sad about! You have it all! You’re so blessed!”
The more “advice” I got, the crazier I felt.
If someone handed me a card to call a 1-800 number, I would have ripped it up. I was in a deep, dark hole – the last thing I wanted to do was call a number and talk to a stranger…someone who knew nothing about me.
My doctor prescribed some medication…I tried it…but I didn’t like it.
I was irritable…tired…moody…angry…sluggish…incredibly overwhelmed. I have never in my life felt like that. I was so angry at myself because I was just given another one of God’s greatest blessings…and I felt like I didn’t deserve him.
I didn’t know I had a clinical illness.
I didn’t know that I wasn’t alone.
I didn’t know that postpartum depression is more common than most people realize.
It wasn’t until I had a conversation with a friend who went through it too…that I started to heal. She got me…she’s been there…so she listened.
She didn’t give me a pep talk.
She didn’t say anything cliché about being strong.
She was there.
She validated my feelings.
She made me feel normal.
She brought me back to ME.
After the birth of my fourth child this past October, I started to sink back to that familiar dark place. This time I knew the cause: I was in and out of the hospital with a dangerous infection that led to a longer hospital stay and then wearing that wound vac for months. I was feeling lower than low.
This time, I knew something wasn’t right…but I knew I was still NORMAL. I knew it was not character WEAKNESS.
So I talked to someone.
I screamed…I shouted…I cried uncontrollably.
Again – there was no pep talk. I didn’t need one nor did I want one.
I needed my feelings to be validated.
And they were.