Postpartum Depression Experience
I've spent a lot of time reflecting the last few days, because it was just about a year ago I reached my tipping point with my postpartum depression. Last Easter I had my lowest low and a big emotional breakdown, which was then promptly followed by my final push out of it/recovery. That whole month (April) last year was such a strange time, because I went from such a low, dark point to such a high point and feeling of triumph that I had finally overcome all of the issues that had been pulling me down. It's hard to believe it was 1 year ago. In some ways it still feels so fresh, and in other ways it feels like a whole separate lifetime. Either way, I can't help but feel incredibly grateful that period of my life is over.
When I think back to last April, I feel very proud of myself for overcoming such a challenge. This whole year, I've kept thinking how nice it is to feel like my self again, except now that I think about, I'm not necessarily my old self, but a new and improved version of myself. You can't go through something like postpartum depression and remain unchanged, the outcome of the change just depends on how you process your experience. I believe through the course of therapy and medication I was able to process my experience and come out with positive change, and I feel stronger, more self-assured, and more capable than ever before. That being said, there were times when I was in the thick of it, I could never imagine being where I am now.
In honor of my success of overcoming postpartum depression, I wanted to post, as a sort of tribute to where I've been and what I've done, something I wrote while I was deep into my depression. Often, when I thought about my struggles I was going through, I always visualized myself clinging to a tall, sheer, rock face, trying my best not to fall off into the abyss as I attempted to climb and crawl my way upwards towards the top, which is what inspired me to write this as a way to sort of explain how I felt.
**** Darkness surrounds me. There’s just enough light filtering down from high above me that I can make out the rough features of my surroundings. I’m clinging to a sheer rock face inside a chasm extending miles deep; I’m about half way up. It’s quiet, noises are muffled down here. The only obvious sound I can make out is my own heart, pounding and racing. The air is musty and cool and I’m yearning for the warmth of the light to touch my skin and the crisp air to fill my lungs. I know this all waits for me at the top. Looking up to where the light is, at times it feels so close, yet I still have quite the journey to get there. My fingers are straining from holding on to the wall in front of me and I am oh so weary. I’ve been stuck down here for some time now and progress is slow.
Just yesterday I was further up in my ascent, feeling great about my forward progress, when my hand grabbed a loose rock. I was helpless to the wild scramble and slide back down that followed. Tears burn my eyes as I think about how much progress I’ve lost. I’m so tired and feel like I’m running out of steam. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time such a thing has happened. As I said, progress is slow. There are a lot of unknown loose rocks, the way up is treacherous, I never know when I’m going to backslide.
Still, just as I have in the past, I know I must keep climbing, despite the despairing setback. I hope to rest here awhile, mull over my next steps, map out a new route, then I must continue my trek. There’s too much at stake to quit, and I know from experience I feel better and better the closer I get to the top. Now that I’ve had a taste, I can’t keep myself from wanting more. I must get myself back to where I was before, and then even further, until I get all the way to the top and finally pull myself out of this pit I’ve been trapped in. I don’t know how many more setbacks I will suffer, and each one is more heartbreaking then the one before it, but I’m going to endure, for there is no other choice. I must get to the top.*****
If you are going through postpartum depression, and you feel you can relate to this, just know, you will get to the top too. Keep climbing! When you have inevitable backslides of progress, don't give up. The path of recovery from postpartum depression might be one of the most challenging things you ever experience and in the end, when you can stand on top of that cliff and look down at where you've been, and breathe in the fresh air, and soak in the sun, you will feel all your struggles to get to top were so worth it. Ultimately, this is your journey and there are some things you must do your self, but remember there are people who want to help you, so let them help. Please don't struggle alone.
I see you.
I recognize the challenge of what you're going through, and I'm so proud of you for keeping on going when you are so frustrated and tired, and you want to give up. I'll be waiting for you at the top, because I know you'll get there too.
I'm here for you, reach out to me if you want to talk about what you're going through. If you need help and you're not sure where to start here's a great website to find local resources for postpartum depression www.postpartum.net
Remember, you've got this!