My Post PPD Fears

4 comments

Overwhelming sadness. Alone. Irritable. Ashamed.

These are the words that come to mind when I think back to my struggle with postpartum depression three years ago. During those dark days I remember feeling so confused. I knew how lucky I was to have this beautiful baby, and how happy I should be, yet I began feeling the exact opposite as time went by. Feelings of hopelessness, despair, and even anger began taking over my brain. I felt so alone, whether I was sitting by myself at home or in a room filled with other people. No matter how hard I tried to force my emotions to match the fake smile I plastered on my face, it didn’t work. I convinced myself it wouldn’t be that much longer before I “snapped out of it.” I was so wrong. Days turned to weeks which turned into months of depression.

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Thankfully, I eventually received the help and support I needed in order to overcome my postpartum depression. I no longer feel detached from my friends and family. I am not constantly overcome with sadness and despair. But I would be lying if I told you I don’t have concerns about the future.

I’m so afraid of a “relapse.” To be completely honest with you, my postpartum depression was not the first time I dealt with depression or anxiety, nor can I guarantee that it will be my last. That scares me. It is something that is always there; a monster lurking in the shadows, just waiting to attack. There’s just no room in my happy life for that unwelcome guest.

I am terrified that my daughters will follow in my footsteps. Of course as parents we want  the best for our children. For me, that includes never feeling the same isolation, shame, sadness, hopelessness, despair that I have felt during my bouts of depression. If they do show signs of a mental illness, I can only hope I will be able to recognize them very early on and get them the help they need and deserve.

 I worry that the stigma that surrounds mental health will never disappear. For some, it is much easier to offer support and encouragement to a friend with a terrible illness like cancer than a friend who’s suffering from a mental illness. I hope with time, and perhaps more education, that will change. There’s nothing worse than having an elephant in the room and knowing that elephant is your mental health.

I do have hope though. A hope that these fears of mine will not come true. And so for now I will try my best to live my life each day, soaking up as much of the joy and happiness  I possibly can. 

4 comments on “My Post PPD Fears”

  1. It has been said before, but your bravery in sharing this is amazing.
    I think that a lot of the problem with PPD is that women dont talk about it- so when it is something that they do deal with, they might not recognize the symptoms or might be ashamed to come forward and get help. I agree with your sentiment about depression in general- that people seem to know what to say and what to do to support those with Cancer, but tend to stay away from those with Depression. Maybe it is a mix of feeling uncomfortable and not wanting to offend, and some of it is people thinking that you can just “snap out of it” and it is something that you can control. You writing this post is a step in EDUCATING people about it, and with education comes tolerance and compassion.

  2. Carly, you are brave and beautiful. Thank you for your honesty here, which no doubt will help others be honest with themselves. ♥

  3. Carly this really resonated with me. Thank you for being such a passionate advocate about issues relating to mental health, specifically postpartum depression. I had depression once before having my daughter and have had a life long struggle with anxiety. Hearing stories like yours really helps me, and others, feel less alone and I really believe helps combat the “elephant in the room” stigma. Thank you for your continued bravery. It takes courage to talk about this. Your girls are so lucky to have you as their mom because you will always be there for them if they do being to struggle.

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