That dark place…

Kate Spade.

Anthony Bourdain.

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 listened.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

4 thoughts on “That dark place…

  1. So true. We need to TALK about it. PPD, depression, anxiety…all of it. Any of it. When I was a new mom of two I was diagnosed with panic disorder. I thought I was just weak, going crazy, dying-you name it. I’ll never forget the nurse (wish I could thank her today?!) who said to me (when I was struggling to adjust to meds and wondering if I would feel “this way” forever-(they made me physically ill at first and would I be a “pill junkie”-waking up every day needing meds) “Honey. This is NOT uncommon. You are going to get through this, hell half our office is on something. I wish they’d just put this (serotonin) in the water. Our world would be a lot nicer.” Besides being. Hippa violater, lol-she made me realize I was not a freak, weak person, etc.
    You are doing a great thing-bringing it to the forefront Amanda. Keep reaching out. I made a promise to myself “when I got through it” that I would also reach out and try and show others it happens!!

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  2. You have been to he.. and back, twice! Praise God you found someone willing to listen, not criticize and who understood your feelings. I was very fortunate to not have that happen to me with both my babies (who are now 41 and almost 37). I can’t even imagine how those poor new mommas got thru it. Unfortunately some didn’t. Praying for you always, Amanda❣

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  3. Thank you for sharing! I just had my 4th baby & starting falling into a dark place. So much stress & anxiety. At 33 wks I broke my leg & couldn’t do anything! I was the person who cooked, cleaned, did dishes & laundry…plus cared for the kids…along side a full time job as a labor nurse. Had a wonderful baby boy by my 4th csection & couldn’t even carry him myself for weeks. Then at almost 7 months pp I had an incarcerated hernia & emergency surgery. Then my hubby decided to quit his job. Long story! Stressed to the max. I’m starting counseling Monday. I’ve noticed more anxiety being short with the kids & overwhelmed!
    Thanks you are inspiring!

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  4. I also suffered from post partum depression. It is hard to put into words how that felt. Thankfully my doctor helped me through it and that I had great support.

    Thanks for keeping things real and reaching out to help others.

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