Have you ever thought about the fact that postpartum depression and depression, in general, is such a taboo subject? No one wants to talk about it, and no one wants to hear about it. If we don’t struggle with it, we don’t want other people’s problems on our plate, we have enough to deal with. If we do struggle with it, we don’t want to bog other people down with our sadness. Or even worse, we don’t want to make other people think that we are weak, desperate individuals. Whichever side you are on, I am here to tell you that people are dying from this terrible disease. Yes, I said disease. The definition of disease is “the disorder of structure or function in a human, animal or plant, especially one that produces specific symptoms or signs or that affects a specific location and is not simply a direct result of physical injury.” So, yes, I believe any form of depression is a disease.
So why is this such a touchy subject for everyone involved? Here is what I think. We live in a world that tells you “live your best life”, “you are strong enough on your own”, “you don’t need help, you’re a woman, and women are warriors!”. And while yes, women are strong and women are warriors, we are not invincible. We do not have the power to tell our depression to just “go away.” If it were that easy, don’t you think we would have done that by now? I mean, I certainly would have. And because we live in such a world as this, it makes it hard to admit that we are just merely fragile, weak, desolate human beings.
Well, I am here to tell you that pretending to not be hurting, pretending to be “capable” of handling it on your own will get you absolutely nowhere. It could lead down a path of certain doom that no one will warn you about. My heart aches for women all over the world who have to deal with this in silence. Humans are meant for connection, for love, and for encouragement. So why don’t we do just that? Why don’t we reach out for some connection or some relatability? Why are we so afraid of what people might say?
I sit here feeling wildly convicted for how I used to think. I was one of those people sitting face to face with my husband refusing to go get help. In my mind I didn’t want medicine, medicine would mean that I don’t trust God, and I don’t want to do that. Medicine would mean that there truly is something wrong with me. Medicine would break the walls of pride that I had put up. The stubbornness is real with this one, just ask my husband! I fought and fought and fought some more. No one will tell me I’m weak, I can decide that on my own. A doctor can’t help me, this is my own battle to fight. But boy, how wrong I was.
After I decided to go to the doctor, God opened up so many doors for me. I began feeling back to normal, I was enjoying my kids again, and I had a clear mindset to be able to help new mamas and others who were desperate to find answers.
So why write this article? Why say that you, in fact, do need to seek help if you are dealing with postpartum depression or any form of depression. Because I have been there and currently, am there. I dealt with postpartum depression, and currently, deal with depression on a day to day basis. Another reason I am writing this is to give you some tips on what to do when you feel overwhelmed by the mountain that stands in front of you.
Go to the doctor
Doctors are not there to take away your babies the minute you tell them that you are sad and feeling helpless since you’ve had your baby. They are there to listen, talk with you, and help you in any way you need. Obviously, postpartum depression can be different in each individual person. Some women can get prescribed a small dose of medication and be okay, some might need counseling, and even some might need hospitalization until they get better. I urge you to be 100% real with your doctor. Tell them exactly what you are feeling and don’t hold anything back. How can they help you if you are not being honest with them?
Confide in someone you trust
Whether that be a family member, a close friend, pastor, or mentor, just do it. I am telling you this is when my journey towards getting better drastically changed. I found someone I could call or text at any time of the day, and they would be there. They recognized how desperate I was to get better and was willing to meet with me, cry with me, and pray with me.
Write down your feelings
Journaling is something that I love to do, and when I had my son, Hayden, it is something I quit doing because frankly, I didn’t have the energy for it. But when I went to the doctor he encouraged me to write down how I was feeling and then look back on how much progression I was making throughout the weeks to come. It was extremely helpful for me. I think we get so stuck in our heads that we can’t see through the fog, and journaling just helps you remember that you are not in that place anymore. Or it can even help you recognize a pattern of thinking that needs to be addressed. My mentor always used to tell me “re-wallpaper your mind” and at first, I was like whattttttt did you just say!? She meant, get rid of all the old, grimy, muck that is stuck in your head and replace it with Bible verses, quotes, and words of encouragement. Life changing.
And finally, lean on Jesus
What are we if we do not have Jesus? I could literally just stop there. But I want to tell you about this God that died for us. A God that sees us in our hurting and cares, deeply, for us. It is so hard to look at God and think that he loves us when we know that he could flip a switch in our brains that would make us better. But, what would we learn? My struggle then and my struggle now has 100% been orchestrated by God. It sounds weird to say that God would orchestrate me to struggle, but He did. I believe He did to a) bring me closer to Him, b) realize my need for Him, c) realize how prideful and stubborn I am, and d) to be able to do this right here, to be able to write about this subject. I am thankful for a family, church family, and friends that have continually pointed me back to his Word, regardless if I wanted to hear it at the time.
I encourage you today if you are struggling with any form of depression, to re-read this article. Read it from the standpoint of a young woman who desperately wants you to hear what she is saying.