An Honest Account of PPD/A

This weekend we have a special piece written by one of our ambassadors, Codi. She speaks honestly about how she copes with the anxiety and depression she's experienced since having her youngest daughter and about how community has helped to manage her symptoms. If you're experiencing anxiety or depression in your own life or just not feeling right--no matter if you've had a baby recently or not--please get in touch with your doctor to discuss what's going on. Saying something can be scary, but getting the support to help you heal is WORTH it. Thanks for shedding light on such an important topic, Codi. 

I was 25 when I had my youngest daughter. That whole pregnancy I struggled with anxiety. I had never had anxiety before getting pregnant with her, and the anxiety flung itself at me overnight and wouldn’t let its grip off of me my whole pregnancy.

Postpartum was worse.

My anxiety turned into depression because of how bad the anxiety clung to me. My life was ruled by my postpartum anxiety. I was mad at everyone, all of the time. I cried everyday at basically everything. I had multiple panic attacks a day. I had terrible, terrible thoughts about all the bad things that could happen. I thought about how my daughters would be better off without me.

 I was a complete and total mess of a person.

Medication never did the trick for me. Therapy helped to an extent. But what really helped me the best was really, really opening up about my mental state postpartum and having others tell me I’m not alone in dealing with something of this nature.

Dealing with a maternal meant health disorder is incredibly lonely. It makes you feel as if you are the only one dealing with it, ever. It makes you think that you’re going to die from the physical symptoms that it present, as well as the mental issues you feel, too.  This postpartum anxiety and depression is literally nothing for anyone to joke about ever.

I know dealing with postpartum is incredibly hard. I know what it does to your mind, body, and spirit. I know the prayers I’ve cried out, I know how much I needed someone, just one person, to sit there, hug me, and just listen. I know how sad, mad, and frustrated you feel going through something like this. I know all about the confusion you feel going through this. I know how you want everything to go back to normal overnight.

 The best advice I could give someone dealing with something like what I went through is that you’re not alone no matter how alone you feel. Others have dealt with this in the past and will deal with it in the future. You are stronger than this maternal mental health disorder you’re dealing with right now. You can do hard things, and you need to believe in yourself now more than you ever have before. Talking is your best therapy. Talk through your feelings to anyone who will listen. Lean on your family. Tell your doctor what is happening.  You will get through a maternal mental health issue like postpartum anxiety and depression.

Today, at 27, and 19 months after having my youngest daughter, my postpartum anxiety and depression decided it would be a good idea to relapse. No one ever prepared me for a relapse in something like this, nor did I know it was possible to relapse from postpartum. This time around, although I know what to expect, it’s different. The anxiety is attacking in a different way and the depression from the anxiety feels like I’m on a swing in the air and my stomach is about to drop but never fully does. This time I have to take the medication to get through this because I feel like I need it. This time though, I’m going to talk more about it. I’m not going to isolate myself. I’m not going to feel like I’m completely and totally alone.

Postpartum anxiety and depression is a beast. You literally and figuratively have to dig yourself out of the trenches. But you and I, we will get through this. This is something that’s manageable. This is something you can survive. This is something you need to survive. This is something that changes the landscape of who you are forever. But at the end of it all, you’ll get through it and have a heck of a story to tell to others. This is something you can share to help other people get through the battles they will fight with their own postpartum anxiety and depression struggle.

Find your tribe. Find your support system. Find something you love to get you through something like postpartum anxiety and depression. I don’t know what the answers are but I do know we are stronger together. The more we talk about these things, the better we will be-as a society and as women. I hope one day in the future it’s not taboo to talk about our struggles with maternal mental health. We’re all not perfect, but we’re trying the best we can. Motherhood is hard enough as it is, dealing with something like postpartum anxiety and depression makes it even harder. But together we can overcome this and together we can get through these things. 

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