Seeing someone struggling through postpartum depression and anxiety cracks my heart wide open. I don’t care if I’m a stranger to them or not, I want to take their hands into mine and tell them to trust me.
I want them to believe me when I tell them I have been where they are, in that frightening place when you’re filled more with fear and pain than strength. When you look in the mirror and don’t recognize the person looking back.
I want them to listen when I say that I have lived in the skin they are in now, when you are not who you used to be.
I have walked through those days, those hard days, when you’re too frightened to look anyone in the eye because you don’t want them to see straight through to the dark despair and hopelessness that fill your head.
I have been there. The days of pulling clothes out of the closet and letting them fall over my body, wondering where the person is who used to wear them. I remember sitting in the driver’s seat of my car and it didn’t feel like it belonged to the person who now sat there.
These days are anything but easy. Living through postpartum depression is harder than we can ever explain. We struggle to give words to the choking jumble of our thoughts. We want to be heard, but when someone asks us to tell them how they can help, we can only break down in tears.
Postpartum depression is a wall that hides our strength from us. It won’t let light in so we are unable to see how tough we are. The dark clouds of this time block the real view, the one that would show our determination to get better.
We are still there, behind the empty sadness in our eyes, there is the fight and fire we need to recover. We are imperfect in this life, we are lost, confused and we are more scared than we have ever been. When our lives become survival for one moment at a time, our souls can’t rest to see the beautiful spirit of survival that lives within us.
I want those in the heartbreaking midst of postpartum depression to trust me, as hard as it is. We need to believe that inside we have what we need to make it through. It’s a leap of faith, a desperate grab at hope, but it’s necessary.
I want them to hear this message of hope, so that they fight, so that they keep fighting. Because it is the promise of hope that someone asked me to believe in during my own postpartum depression, that saved me.
You will see this through to the other side.
You’re not alone.
You will find yourself again.
Someone once promised me that I would be myself again. I was too scared to believe that who I once was, was still there. What if I wasn’t going to get better? What I would have told the frightened new mom that I was back then, would be this, You may feel like you’re in a thousand irretrievable pieces right now–too broken beyond anything that can be made whole again. But believe that you will heal.
You will find happiness again. The numbness will lift one day and you will hear yourself laugh. The sound of it will surprise you so much that you’ll laugh a second time from the joy of it. You will look in the mirror one morning, and this time the eyes you see back will dance and shine. And you will come back stronger than you ever thought you could be.
You are still there, inside.
Even if now you feel lost, scared and alone, you are there.
Please let my words here be the ones that take you by the hand and hold you until you are back home again. Reach out, ask for help, don’t stop until you feel you are getting the care you need. Believe that with time, professional care and treatment, and the support of your PPD community, that the help you need to find the way back to you again will be there.
The incredible you that you used to be is still there. You will find yourself again. And just as I did, you will smile again.