I never really know how to appropriately start posts on topics like this one. The topic of Depression. I’ve touched on it lightly in the past and you may have read or heard me talk about it in various interviews, but I’ve never really put it out there. I think because as a single mother who is already living with the pressure of making life great & balanced for my son, I try very hard to provide a strong & impentriable wall. But in reality I am just a human being. An imperfect human being with more challenges than the average mother my age. And some of those challenges are extremely heavy in weight and very complicated in navigating through. And even though I have sought relief of this pressure through professional help, it still can be hard to reconcile and acknowledge publicly. However, in light of my experiences over the past year meeting dozens of patients suffering from depression and some very public suicides recently in the news, I decided to open my mouth and talk.
Depression has a stereotypical face. But the problem is, that stereotype is wrong. Depression actually has a multitude of faces, and you might be passing by it hundreds of times a day. Or perhaps it’s reflection is staring you down and you may not even know it. I was that girl. I had a baby and my whole life changed. My career suspended by maternity leave and then dreadful illness. A new identity led by something I was unsure I was capable of doing or comfortable with, which was being a mother. I wanted to be a mother, I loved the idea of motherhood. But let’s face it, when you’re a new mom, you have no clue what you’re doing and nothing is normal or in control for those first three months as you all walk around like zombies. The baby is trying to get use to being alive. You are trying to keep the baby alive. You are trying to figure out how to reconnect with your partner as you weave in this new person into your home and relationship. There is no sleep. And if you’re a stay at home mom, you don’t have anyone to talk to. I was unraveling and didn’t even know it. I put unnecessary pressures on myself to accommodate my son and his father, when really all I needed to do was be me. They just needed the basics. I didn’t know who I was anymore, as my whole identity had changed and I didn’t give myself a chance to adjust or give myself a pat on the back.
I should have sought help. But I couldn’t see it and unfortunately for me, I didn’t have anyone around me that recognized it either…or if they did, they didm’t mention it until way later. It wasn’t that I thought having post-partum depression couldn’t happen to me or that it was a form of weakness…I just thought I was weak or that I was inadequate. Not realizing that those feelings were based off a hormonal imbalance that was purely organic. And because it was left untreated for so long, it was exacerbated when my illness took over my life. By then I knew something was wrong and I started to speak up. But my mouth was quickly shut when during the heat of an arguments with two different people I was close to, I was referred to as nuts, crazy & an unfit parent. But you can’t let their ignorance deter you from living your truth and getting the help you need. You are stronger for taking control and a better parent when you take care of yourself. I let people’s cowardice & ignorance about what depression and therapy really is deter me for so long. By that time I starting counseling, I was just grasping at straws of normalcy not realizing what the root of the problem was. Now looking back, I think…if only I had just bit the bullet of embarrassment, I could have saved my self months of wasted time & agony.
Yesterday, I touched on this topic as a guest on Rolonda Watt’s radio show, Sundays with Rolonda, as she held a 3 hour town hall digital meeting talking about depression and suicide. There are so many different forms of depression and so many different roots they grow from, that it’s important to talk about it. I wish that I would have been more comfortable and knowledgeable about just what was happening to me. I wish I had heard early on that what I was going through was okay, and it would be okay. I wish someone had said, Honey, let’s get you some help. Yes, I eventually got it, but it didn’t have to go on for so long. The statistics of suicide and depression in women with chronic illnesses & postpartum motherhood are staggering. With acceptance and intervention, we can lower these numbers. You have nothing to be ashamed of! Nothing! Know that there is a way out! You can chase those gray clouds away with a little shift in the wind.
Check Out Lifestyle Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Rolonda Watts on BlogTalkRadio
Depression & Inflammatory Bowel Disease info provided by CCFA, HERE.
Help with Suicide, HERE. or CALL 800.273.8255