I Am Struggling with Postpartum Depression in Recovery
Yes, I have meditated.
Yes, I have “phoned a friend.”
Yes, I have gone to a meeting.
Yes, I have consulted my “literature.”
Yes, I have eaten.
Yes, I am sleeping well.
Yes, I have prayed.
Yes, I am getting breaks from the kids.
I am struggling with postpartum depression in recovery, coupled with anxiety. I did not come to this conclusion on my own. I fought it TOOTH AND NAIL. I was convinced that “okay” was just around the corner.
If I had an emotional breakdown and processed everything that happened this year, I’d be okay.
If I just ate something/got some more sleep/had a girl’s night out/got everything done, I’d be okay.
When I was confronted with the possibility that I may be struggling with postpartum depression, those were my thoughts. Two separate women saw it. I could not, or would not, admit it was depression. Part of me HATED them for asking me to even consider it. If I had to look at it, I would have had to admit that the tools I have had, the tools of recovery, were not working. If those tools were failing me, then obviously I was a failure and a fraud. I heard myself saying everything I have said to others when they came to me struggling with mental health issues. None of those things could possibly apply to me.
Don’t you know who I am?! I always keep it together. I am always okay. I have never struggled with depression, and I’m definitely not struggling now.
I know what Mental Illness looks like, and it’s not me.
As I write this, my hands are shaking and my mind is racing with all of the other things that need to be done. This has been my constant state of being for months.
I am a fallible human in recovery. I cannot keep it together anymore. I am not okay. I am struggling with mental illness and it looks exactly like me. And now I’m crying. Again.
Postpartum depression did not hit me full force as soon as I had the baby like I assumed it did with others. It crept up on me in such a way that I could convince myself it was something else. My friends were seeing me slowly slip away into it. They reached into me and pulled out what I was fighting to keep hidden. It is absolutely true that those two women saved me when I didn’t think I needed saving.
Some days are okay. Some days are not. Some days start out okay and end up not. I do have some things today that I did not have a few weeks ago. I have a plan to handle this, and it doesn’t involve doing it alone.
I will, with my doctor’s help and guidance, find a medical solution that will increase my quality of life. I will choose this route because, for me, A TWELVE STEP PROGRAM CANNOT CURE POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION.
Today, I will not lie about how I am feeling.
Today, I will not medicate with street drugs or alcohol.
Today, I will try to accept love and care without seeing it as pity or undue concern.
I understand that my struggle will not last forever, but that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with in the moment. The standard 12-Step suggestions are not working for me, and that is okay. It doesn’t mean I am not trying, nor does it indicate that I am spiritually unfit. It just means I am just like millions of other women who have struggled with postpartum depression.
I ask you to reach out to someone, anyone, if you are feeling this way. We don’t have to pretend we’re are okay if we are not. If you are on the other side, I ask you to listen without judgment, because if the mother in your life is struggling the way I am, the last thing she needs is to feel judged or hear you suggest she is failing.
Today is not a good day. Today I am not okay. Today, I cried.
Crying is allowed.
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, please reach out to us. We can help connect you with resources and support.
This post originally appeared on SoberMommies in December 2015.
Rachel has been in recovery since October 29, 2010, and she’s not afraid to speak out about it. She lives in Michigan with her husband and two daughters.