Confessing on this blog that I was suffering from postpartum anxiety and depression was one of the most difficult things I have ever done in my life. I was extremely afraid of being judged on top of all of the judgment I was putting myself through personally. However, the response I received after admitting the truth was life changing to say the least. So many people reached out with kind and thoughtful words, which uplifted me in an incredibly healing way. Today, March 20th, is International Day of Happiness and this year I have good reason to celebrate it for the first time, because I can finally say that: I am anxiety an depression free!
I could not see the light at the end of the tunnel while I was battling postpartum anxiety and depression. Everyone kept telling me one day it will pass, but at the time it seemed endless. Guess what though? They were right! And if you are suffering from postpartum anxiety and/or depression know that that there is hope. I promise you, you will get better, as long as you take the proper steps to recovery. The following five steps are what ultimately helped me to overcome my battle with both postpartum anxiety and depression. Maybe they might help you too? If you know someone dealing with postpartum issues, please share this post with them.
- Before anything else, you need to admit and accept to yourself that you are struggling. This was the hardest step for me, as I was embarrassed and ashamed and thought if I ignored my symptoms they would just go away. My biggest regret is waiting six long months to do anything. Then you need to tell both your doctor and your significant other. If you do not have a significant other, tell your mom or your best friend. There is no need to tell the world, like I did, however it helps to confide in people around you who can offer support, guidance, and love. Do not go through this alone!
- Once you have admitted and accepted the truth, figure out a plan of action to get better. Take medicine, get acupuncture, join a mommy group, go to talk therapy. Also keep in mind that time does heal all wounds. There is definitely something out there that will make you feel better and rebalance your hormones.
- Do not push yourself to venture out of your comfort zone too fast. I had a lot of friends and family that meant well, however they had no idea what I was going through. They kept pushing me to do things that I did not want to do. Listen to what your gut is telling you. If you feel like going to the store with your baby by yourself is too much, then do not go! When you are ready you will go. I made the mistake many times of letting myself be pushed and it set me back in my healing process by weeks. People with postpartum anxiety and depression do not need to be pushed. They need to be supported. Having said that, once I was ready to start venturing out of my comfort zone, is when I really started to feel better. I missed being out and about in the world. I began with trips to one store at a time with either my husband or my mom to help me with my son and then once I felt comfortable I started going out alone with him. Now I go everywhere with him and it feels amazing!
- Do not compare yourself to other mothers on social media. Listen to me carefully: social media is fake. Yes, social media is a huge part of my life, but that is why I can tell you with 100% certainty it is not real. It is curated, photo shopped, and edited. It is a great way to stay in touch with people and to gain inspiration, however remember that you are only seeing what others want you to see.
- Not every day has to be extraordinary. I do not know how to cook, bake, sew, and I suck at DIY projects; basically everything “a good mom” should know how to do. I tried to make up for that by taking my son somewhere new every single day and it was exhausting. Then I read somewhere about how mothers feel the pressure to make every day an extraordinary one and that is not reality. Life is ordinary and there is nothing wrong with that. If every day was extraordinary, then no day be would be extraordinary. Once I accepted that, I felt a million times better. Now I am not exhausted and I look forward to taking him to special places every once in a while.
I have mentioned it before and I will mention it again, I am always here for anyone who needs a nonjudgemental friend to talk to. I might not be able to respond to your email immediately, but I will respond. I cannot even begin to put into words how good it feels to be me again. People used to say, “How can you be so happy? It is like you are living life with rose colored glasses on!” They could not understand me and I could not understand them. If you are not happy, why not choose to be happy? Well, I get it now, and I know that going through postpartum anxiety and depression has made me a much better person, mother, and healer, because I now I understand both sides of happiness.