I’m not sure how to start a conversation about depression, but I know it’s a conversation that needs to happen. It’s not something people like to talk about, but it’s important we do so – especially us mamas. Depression seems to create a lonely vacuum that makes us think that we’re the only one experiencing it and that no one would understand. So we stay quiet – suffering in silence – but I know first hand that the darkness of depression begins to lose its grip when we simply talk about it.
For me, stress began to build when our family faced near-death experiences with two of our daughters within the same month. When I say “near-death,” I mean that aside from flat-out miracles, our daughters would not have survived. But they did! And we were ever so grateful that their lives were preserved!
Over the months that followed, the combination of trauma that comes with seeing our daughters suffer, sleep deprivation and the effort involved with our girls’ recovery began to creep up on me. My mind became a very loud, dark and chilling whirlwind of negative thoughts. After several months of struggling, it became clear that I needed to ask for help.
We found a psychiatrist and therapist who worked with me to get my brain chemistry back to normal. Through medicine, counseling and my faith in God, I slowly but surely began my road to recovery. I remember driving down the highway about two years into my healing journey when a song I liked came. I began to sing along as tears came rolling down my face, lots of tears. It was then that I realized I had forgotten what it was like to sing. As I listened to my voice coming out of my mouth, I realized that I had joy again – a joy that I had forgotten was possible.
After a long journey of healing, I am proud to say I am now on the other side of that struggle. It wasn’t easy for me to initially open my mouth and ask for help. It was hard. But I did it. And I’m glad I did because I have found that there is great freedom and empowerment that tends to spread to others by speaking up and bringing depression out into the light.
If you are struggling with depression I want you to know that it does NOT define you. You are STRONG! And you are NOT alone!
Postpartum Progress is a national 501c3 non-profit organization that works to bring awareness of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Their website is full of resources to give you more information about a variety of illnesses that can affect mamas. They also provide a wonderful community dedicated to helping mamas like us.