If you’ve been following along as I share my story of postpartum depression, you will have already read the first three parts. Thank you for allowing me to share this journey with you. If you haven’t had a chance to read the earlier parts of the story, you can catch up by reading Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 before reading today’s post. Maya Angelou was quoted saying “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.” I share this with you all because there’s liberty in sharing, there’s strength in opening up and there’s bravery that continues to build up with each word I type.
It was the day of my appointment with the doctor. I was an absolute mess. My husband had the day off and got the children ready for the day while I laid in bed. I didn’t want to get up. I didn’t want to go. And not because I feared the truth, but because how would I even explain what I was feeling? Where would I even start? I was such an emotional wreck coupled with severe exhaustion, the very thought of even speaking to another person about this exhausted me.
I was able to muster up enough energy to at least have a shower. This was huge. A shower meant a small victory. It meant that I could still take care of myself and it was a step towards getting out of the house.
[pullquote width=”230″ float=”left”]I share this with you all because there’s liberty in sharing, there’s strength in opening up and there’s bravery that continues to build up with each word I type. [/pullquote]
After my shower, I threw on a pair of yoga pants and a sweater and I left the house, very much in a zombie-like state. If you know me, you know that I very rarely leave the house without my hair and make-up done. While there are many times I will have my hair in that oh-so-glamorous “mom bun”, it still is “done” and I’ve found a way to style it so I at least look somewhat put together. But not that morning. That morning I did something I honestly don’t think I have ever done in my life. I left the house without even brushing my wet hair. WHAT?! Zombie. Didn’t care. Too tired. No make-up, wet, tangled hair. But I went. That was huge.
I really had no idea what to expect and was honestly somewhat nervous to talk to my doctor about it all. While he was nice, he wasn’t that much older then I was and besides seeing him a few times over the previous year to give my kids their various vaccinations, I hadn’t really known him that long or well. So the idea of opening up to him about my deepest, darkest mental state was a bit unnerving.
Well luckily for me he knew why I was coming in and he had his questions already prepared. Actually, it was clear that he was just reading questions from a sheet on his iPad, but that didn’t bother me. As long as he did most of the talking and I just sat, tearfully and quietly responding, I could handle that. I can remember just a constant stream of tears running down my cheeks with each passing question. There was one moment, I remember, where I became incredibly aware of what was happening and what a serious mess I was. It was a brief moment of embarrassment, but then the fog settled back in and I no longer cared again.
[pullquote width=”200″ float=”left”]There was one moment, I remember, where I became incredibly aware of what was happening and what a serious mess I was. It was a brief moment of embarrassment, but then the fog settled back in and I no longer cared again.[/pullquote]
After about 20 minutes of questioning and talking through everything, he looked at me and said, “Christine, I am diagnosing you with moderate to severe postpartum depression, anxiety disorder and adjustment disorder.” Excuse me, what did you just say? You mean I have OTHER problems besides PPD that I now have to deal with? What on earth is adjustment disorder? Wow…I am seriously messed up, aren’t I? I came here thinking I had one major problem to deal with and now I’m leaving with THREE?!
You see the previous year had brought many challenges including job loss, moving to a new city, transitioning to a full time stay-at-home mom, getting pregnant with our 3rd and then both he (the baby) and I dealing with sickness, my oldest heading into Junior Kindergarten, etc. It was all just too much for me to handle anymore. And eventually all this anxiety and stress finally manifested itself through postpartum depression. Not only was I struggling more then anyone really knew, I was struggling more then I was even aware of.
I can remember just staring at the doctor expressionless. Like was this really happening to ME? When did I become THIS person? When did all this emotional and mental turmoil turn into THIS? How did I allow myself to get this THIS point? How on earth do I get back to ME? Questions just kept swirling through my mind as the doctor started talking about my options:
1. You need a community of family and friends around you.
2. You should see a counsellor to start talking this through.
3. You should take medication before this gets any worse.
What would you like to do, Christine?
More to come: treatment | living with PPD | new perspectives
Thank you so much for following along with this journey. This is hard for me to be so vulnerable, especially to a somewhat unknown audience. My hope and prayer in sharing this personal journey with postpartum depression is that someone, even just one person, will know that they aren’t alone. That the stigma of PPD can start to be lifted as we realize so many mommy’s (and sometimes daddy’s) struggle with this very-real, very-frightening illness. That there is nothing to be ashamed of and to seek the appropriate help, at the right time. I pray you will find solace in knowing and reading someone else’s struggle with this.
Love & Blessings,
* Stock images used