I do not know why postpartum depression is such a taboo subject in our society. When I had my first child in 2012, I did not know what postpartum depression was, and I had never been told what it was. Of course, I had heard about it, but I had this preconception that it was something people were going through when they did not want their child. I know this thought is insane. But I was barely 21 when I had my first child. Postpartum depression has always been a sensitive subject, but for one reason or another, it has never been discussed with complete honesty.
My fight against post-partum depression at age 21: Letter to all young mothers:
I was diagnosed with postpartum depression before I knew what it was. To make matters worse, I started having panic attacks at the same time and soon after I was diagnosed with panic disorder. As a young adult, it was also something I had never heard of, and I was admitted to the hospital thinking that I was dying. I was totally unaware that panic attacks could make you feel like your throat is closing, fainting and giving you heart palpitations at the same time. It took me a few years to realize that it was not heart attacks, it was just panic. I would have liked to have someone to talk about all this at the time I was at worst.
It’s hard to admit that you’re suffering from postpartum depression, especially when everyone congratulates you on this beautiful life that you’ve been putting so many hours into the world. You look at this little person and smile, telling yourself that you have created this little being in your own body. So why do you feel so empty and wrong?
Postpartum depression may differ from person to person. No matter what you feel, it should be taken very seriously, and you should always seek medical help if you have symptoms. Listen to your body and your mind. What I have taken so long to realize is that the doctors are there to help you, not to hurt you. If I could give advice, the first thing would be to talk to a health professional as soon as you feel symptoms. I would have liked to do it earlier.
Symptoms of postpartum depression include feeling unable to be a mother, feeling guilty, not feeling connected to your baby, feeling crazy, feeling irritated or anger, emptiness or numbness, extreme sadness, loss of appetite or binge eating, insomnia, inability to concentrate, or even a sense of family abandonment. And for some reason, we feel like people who are too horrible to admit it. Never be ashamed. More than one in ten women suffer from postpartum depression. I was deeply touched, despite a happy pregnancy. During my pregnancy, I had some fright and some medical problems, but other than that, I was happy. After having my baby, I beamed for about a week before being struck by this feeling of absolute misery and anxiety.
Once again, I felt like I was dying. As if I lost my head and was completely disconnected from the outside world. I lost contact with everyone: friends, family, neighbors, I did not care. I thought of leaving my child with a loving family and going away for a few months to breathe. Even now, I feel bad about saying that. I felt like I did not even know who I was.
Fortunately, I ended up talking to a doctor, but also to a close relative who was going through the same thing at the same time. Her child came a few months after mine, but we were able to help each other and talk to each other during the restless nights of different levels of depression. I ended up spending five years in therapy, and all of that ended up saving my life. If I had not looked for help, I might not be alive today. Whether you are experiencing postpartum depression, anxiety, or both, there is help and you should never be ashamed of needing it.
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