You probably can’t tell by looking, but when this picture was taken I was struggling with postpartum depression and anxiety. I experienced multiple panic attacks daily, extremely low self esteem, loss of interest in everything, and every little thing set me off. I can’t tell how many things I broke by throwing them into the walls. I was so miserable! It was hard to bring myself to get out of the bed and do even the most basic tasks, like brushing my teeth, or preparing food. I felt so exhausted. At the end, I lost so much weight that I started to look anorexic. I felt completely out of control.
I was so angry and frustrated I was feeling this way because I was supposed to be the happiest person on earth. Once I wrote to my girlfriend to talk about all that shit, and before I even started, she told me that she doesn’t understand why I complain because there’s obviously nothing wrong with my life. She was right though. But I couldn’t help but feel the way I was feeling, even if I knew that I hurt my family that way.
I constantly questioned myself. Maybe I felt depressed because of a childbirth trauma? Maybe because I felt isolated? Maybe because I missed my pre-kids life? Or maybe I was just unhappy about the choices I made and with my life in general?
I was trapped in a dark cave and it felt like there’s no way out of it.
At the worst times, I imagined the worst scenarios. I remember how I called my mother and said that I can’t do it anymore. She asked me: “What’s wrong?” and I answered: “I have very bad thoughts, mom!” “Which bad thoughts?” And I said: “I imagine myself in the bath, laying dead under water.” I was so scared.
I can’t explain why.
I still struggle with guilt for the way I behaved. But postpartum depression was real, and I couldn’t just snap out of it. You just can’t wake up and be “normal”, no matter how hard you try. One woman said that for her it was like she was watching herself react badly to every day situations, without the ability to stop herself. I felt exactly the same way. It was like I was outside of my body looking in.
I don’t know if this is over or not. There are still bad days when I break down crying. But now my mental health is the top priority. Even if that means to bring the girls to their grandparents on weekends, to hire a nanny, or to ask my husband to come home earlier when I feel like I’m losing control. I can’t be the mother I want to be. My family needs me healthy and happy.
Postpartum depression is a serious illness that is more common than you know. It doesn’t have a single cause, but likely results from a combination of physical and emotional factors. Once I asked for help on my Instagram page and I was surprised how many women and men struggle every day just to survive. I received around 300 comments and 60 messages from women around the world, saying that they suffer or have suffered from postpartum depression and anxiety. I received help and support that I needed, and it helped me feel less lonely.
Postpartum depression is scary and it can feel like a never – ending battle, but you can get through it. Recognizing that you’re struggling is the first step toward getting better and feeling like yourself again. Remember, that there’s someone in your life that needs you!