I’ve had this post floating around in my head for a long time. I always questioned if I should post it or not. I finally decided that I should share my story in honour of mental health week.
I had postpartum depression. God.. Did I ever. Ollie was born with horrible colic and my father passed away unexpectedly only a week after she was born. I remember begging Shawn not to go to work because I was stricken with grief and horrified at the idea of being left alone all day with a baby. Now.. to make things clear, the idea of hurting Ollie or myself never crossed my mind. I honestly just felt unfit to care for her. But it never really occurred to me that I might be depressed.
Here’s the thing.. Depression isn’t always about laying in bed crying. It can take on so many different shapes and forms. In my case ― extreme exhaustion, feeling distant and withdrawn, feeling overwhelmed and irritated, severe anxiety, constantly have to be doing something, constantly checking everything (Did I lock the door? Did I turn off the oven?)
So last summer I spoke to my doctor about it and I was prescribed Pristiq, an anti-depressant. It took a couple of weeks but I can honestly say that it’s changed my entire life. I’m such a positive person now. My anxiety is gone. I’m no longer shy. I can enjoy events and concerts without feeling sick to my stomach, a problem I’ve had since I was 19 and always attributed to alcohol, and I’m sure in part it was, but it was mostly my anxiety taking control.
I no longer have that feeling of dread when I have to attend an event where I will be socializing with a lot of people. For example, I attended a wedding last summer and I truly enjoyed myself and getting to know the people seated with me.
I can finally enjoy the little things in life again and more importantly ― I can enjoy being a mother to my incredible daughter. A good mother, a strong mother, and a stable mother. Being a Mom is already so hard without adding on anxiety and depression.
Mental health is super important and it’s sad that we feel we need to be ashamed of our suffering. Depression can be so isolating, especially when you have a young child. Bottling up our emotions and feeling afraid to reach out to others makes things so much worse.
So if you are suffering from anxiety or postpartum depression or just regular depression, don’t feel ashamed. Talk to someone. Talk to your doctor. Talk to me. You’re not alone and things really can and do get better.