Maternal Mental Health Awareness

Maternal Mental Health is one of the hardest struggles and one of the hardest things to talk about.

I was happy to be a mom, and was terrified that if I told anyone how I was feeling, that they wouldn’t believe that I was happy to be a mom.

Because there is so much shame in that.

I actually realized recently that what I had was a 25 year anxiety disorder, magnified by the postpartum condition.

I was lost in an ego trip of anxiety and depression from the time I was around 11 years old. I didn’t know that was what it was because it was my state of existence. And I didn’t let anyone in.

Pour on the gasoline of a difficult childbirth, complete lack of any kind of rest or self care, post pregnancy hormones, a baby who screams bloody murder nonstop, and a pervasive feeling of having to go it alone, and you have a serious paralyzing mental health issue.

Here’s the thing.

I still didn’t recognize it as such. I didn’t let anyone in. I didn’t tell anyone about the horrific racing thoughts, the fear so deep in my heart that I would have to remind myself to start breathing again, the inability to move at times, or the impending doom I felt.

So how was anyone to help me?

My husband didn’t even know. From outside of my body, it appeared that I was handling it all. No one knew that in the few minutes I was allowed to rest that I couldn’t. No one knew that I couldn’t focus because my brain was flashing horrifying images all day and night. No one knew that I was going through the motions and not present.

A year later, when I was finally working my way out of the worst of it, THEN I could look back and recognize what it was… sort of. Because people still didn’t explain what postpartum mental illness actually looked or felt like. When I could finally see it, I didn’t have language for it and still couldn’t reach out for help.

I still couldn’t see that I was in a state of a lifelong anxiety disorder.

It took me another 5 years to break free from my anxiety. I was finally free, could finally see, and could finally be myself. For the first time.

That will be a story for another day.

But I am writing this for you today to tell you that if you are feeling any of these feelings:

  • inability to be present or focus
  • paralyzing fear
  • racing fearful thoughts
  • lack of rest
  • seizing body tension that can’t relax

I encourage you to reach out right now to someone who can help you. Call 1-800-662-HELP. It’s free. Don’t wait. Don’t waste time in this state. Do it for yourself and your family.

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