When you are in the dark hole of Postpartum Depression (PPD), it feels like someone else is writing the story of your life. You can see in your head what you want your life to look like, but every morning you wake up and it’s like someone takes away the pen before you can even begin. The depression writes about how pathetic you are because you can’t take care of your kids and then the anxiety writes wondering if they are going to turn out okay after eating cereal and fast food every day this week. The depression comes back strong saying you are a horrible mother for feeding your kids fast food and the anxiety starts writing about all the health problems they will have because of the fast food. The depression and anxiety continue this pattern for the next 10 pages and you are now emotionally and physically exhausted, but you haven’t even gotten out of bed yet! You’re questioning your sanity and your worth and wonder why you are having to work so hard to just barely exist.
When you are climbing out of the hole of PPD, you seem to be sharing the storytelling. You have your good days and bad, but they are all lopsided and you feel like your story is one big jumbled mess. One day you feel on top of the world and you write so many wonderful pages of your story. This feeling is magnified by the fact you haven’t felt on the top of world, or anywhere close, in so long. The next day, the pen is gone and you feel lower than you have ever felt because the fall from the “top of the world” was so abrupt, it took your breath away. Your story goes on and on, page after page, and it feels like you are watching from bottom of the hole. The climbing is exhausting and you feel like it will never end and you will never feel normal again. Is it worth it to try and climb out of the hole?
Eventually, you make it out of the hole of PPD, but you are still teetering on the edge. It does not feel safe. You actually have 3 or 4 or 5 days where you get to write your story! You write and write and write but are always thinking, how long is this going to last? Should I really be enjoying this as much as I am? Won’t it only hurt more when it ends? The anxiety is sneaky! It just took your pen away in mid thought! You take it back and start writing happy thoughts furiously, but then you look up for a second and the pen is gone again. Back and forth, back and forth, you start to share the pen with depression and anxiety because you eventually trust that you will get it back......even if it takes a day or two. You start to trust yourself and the world around you. Maybe, I will feel normal again. Maybe, I can write my own story.
Then, one day you wake up and realize you’ve moved away from the edge. It was actually a couple of weeks ago, but you have been so busy living your life and writing your story that you forgot about the hole for awhile. As you continue to write your story, the pen starts to shake as it remembers the hole of PPD. Will I have to go back? Or, can I just forget about the hole and rewrite those chapters of my life?
Whoa.....Can I do that? Do I want to do that?
Time goes by and you start to go back and read your story....................Wow.
And little by little, you start to read your story to others. It is RAW and it is a MESS. But over time, it doesn’t seem so messy. It’s not so raw anymore. It actually feels solid.....like it’s holding you up as you tell it. The people that you share your story with? They start to share their stories with you. And their stories are raw, and their stories are a mess. But you are able to help them hold their story up. Not just because your STORY is strong. YOU are strong.
I believe that with my whole heart. When you OWN your story and you SHARE your story with others, it gives them the courage to say… maybe I can share MY story. Maybe.....I don’t have to hide those chapters of my life. Maybe......I can be strong BECAUSE of my story.
What story are you going to SHARE with the world today?
Whose story are you going to LISTEN to today?
What story will you WRITE today?
Blessings to all you mommas out there trying to write your story. If you need help or someone to listen, reach out! Our next Beyond the Baby Blues meeting is on Monday, November 7th at 6pm. We would love to see you there!