Apr 16, 2017

Stigma

I had a session with a psychiatrist a few weeks back and she informed me that 1 in 7 women have postpartum depression.
She also said there are women who don't get treated because they don't recognize they are experiencing postpartum depression or they just associate it with the drastic and new changes that have just occurred in bringing a new baby into the world and caring for them.
It has been 12 weeks since our amazing baby boy joined our family. 
My love for him was never in question and I didn't feel like harming myself or those around me.
I did know that something was different right after I came home from the hospital. 
It progressively got worse as the days and weeks went on. 
I didn't know what was wrong. 
I physically ached but when my husband tried to massage my back, neck or head, it didn't seem to help. 
It almost seemed as if I had phantom pains. My left foot felt swollen and sore and I could feel shooting pains up and down my spine.
It hurt to sit up and my pelvic bone felt and continues to feel bruised and sore.
I struggled to get out of bed and most days it took all of my energy to get up and get out of the house. 
For 6 weeks I only left the house to pick the boys up from school. 
I struggled being around big crowds and was really protective over my baby.
The first 4 weeks after baby was born, I had to think of one major task I needed to accomplish and would try to complete it before the end of the day.
I made sure it was just one thing because if it was more than one, I would get overwhelmed and the panic and anxiety would set in.
I would panic and get nervous if I knew I had an upcoming appointment and it would take me days in advance to work myself up to going and leaving the house. 
I hid in my room and would go from one extreme of sleeping way too much only doing the bare minimum to going a couple days with just 2 hours of sleep. 
I cried about nothing all the time and often my boys would find me in the room wiping tears from my eyes asking me what was wrong. 
I would lose my train of thought mid sentence and forget what I was saying and I would forget simple words which frustrated me even more.
My mind felt cloudy.
I would space out and couldn't even do simple tasks such as record a video for my husband, walk without falling or tripping or explain something in layman's terms. 
I suddenly had trouble looking at unorganized things or stacks of papers laying in piles on our dresser and had a strong need to declutter. 
The OCD made me want to rearrange our room so many times and throw things out even important items like our car registration & updated tags on accident. 
I easily forgot where I placed things and often left important items like my wallet or papers I was supposed to mail out when leaving to the post office. 
The list goes on and on. 
I have really good days where I feel productive and somewhat normal and then I'll have one day that will knock me off my feet and I'm back to square one.
I'll tell you what though mental wounds, mental illness can be easily hidden. If you  were to see me, I'm sure you wouldn't know anything was wrong.
So you may be wondering why am I telling you this?
Why be open about such intimate and somewhat embarrassing details of your life?
1: Hardly anyone talks about postpartum depression but I'm finding that as I open up about it, I'm hearing stories from close friends and family members that they have experienced this too. 
All from different spectrums of PPD. 
Some being mild, others experiencing a couple or a handful of symptoms to others just being really overprotective of their babies.
Some getting professional help as well as medication and some just pushing through an awkward and trying time hoping and knowing things will subside and get better.
2: There seems to be this stigma associated with postpartum depression, anxiety and any mental health issues or illnesses especially in the Polynesian community.
I guess my goal and point is to tell people it's okay to talk about it.
It's okay to let people know how you're feeling and know there is support out there for you.
Mental health issues are not something to be ashamed of and can be managed in the correct manner if you can acknowledge that there can be something done instead of brushing it under the rug.
I'm still navigating through postpartum depression, anxiety and postpartum OCD.
I know I'll get through this and will find my footing and get a feel for what feels normal for me again.
I believe I'll be able to find myself and not feel so lost.
But in the meantime, I'll continue to speak about it and feel my way through this new territory.
The good news is, my better days are more frequent.
I know that the one or two days that knock me down are only temporary and I recognize that this is just part of the process.
If you're struggling through postpartum depression please don't be afraid to tell someone and get the help you need.
If you ever need to talk or want to vent or need a virtual hug, you know where to find me and I hope you know you are loved, you are special, you'll get through this and that you.are. enough.  
~All my love!

No comments:

Post a Comment

You Might Also Like:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...