Mental Illnesses are Real: Postpartum Depression
By Jamee Villa
Mental illnesses are real. Depression is real. Sadness is real. Your feelings are real. In light of recent events and digesting them with my own experiences, I wanted to share something personal with you. It has become such a taboo to talk about mental illnesses or admit we may have an undesirable fault. I can’t wrap my head around why but its true.
I gave birth to an amazing and beyond beautiful baby girl in May of 2013. She filled a hole in my heart and soul that I didn’t know needed to be filled. My husband and I have been so deeply in love with her since the first second we laid eyes on her. It’s hard to think about the months that followed her birth. I suffered from Post partum Depression. It hit me like a ton of bricks months after she was born. I woke up one day unhappy, sad, lonely, confused and questioning everything I was and wasn’t. I couldn’t explain it to my husband. I couldn’t explain it to anyone. I felt so alone and thought if I reached out for help people would question me being a Mother. Looking back that sounds insane, right? At the time it was my reality.
I heard about the “Baby Blues” but didn’t think I would feel that way. Who thinks they will be sad about having a baby? I never wanted to harm my child or myself but I felt like I was in a time warp. I cried inconsolably at home but was able to put on a smile when need be. Nothing brought me joy. Of course, I was happy and in love but I felt irrelevant. After holding these feelings inside I decided to open up to a few close friends and of course, my husband. Once I said the words, post partum depression and just admitting I felt sad was the light at the end of the tunnel. I needed to say it out loud and I needed someone to hear my pain. I had all of the support in the world right under my nose. I just needed to ask for it.
In the months that followed, I worked with my doctor to stay on top of these feelings and I talked with my fellow Mom friends about how they were coping. My husband provided the safety net when I felt like I was drowning and I am forever in his debt. Just hearing the words, it’s okay, I love you and we can get through this redefined my focus.
Mental illnesses are real and are very scary. You could think someone who always seems to be on top of the world would never feel this way but they do. I urge you to connect more. Not via email or text but a phone call or a coffee date. Spend time face to face and really connect with those you love. You may be the person they need at that moment. Asking for help is so hard but being that person that cares is so easy.
photo credit: WeHeartIt