As I’m sitting here with my five year old upstairs pitting Barbies against each other I wonder, is there a time limit on postpartum depression? Because essentially from the moment she sprang forth from my loins I became postpartum. It’s beginning to feel as though motherhood and PPD are BFFs and have been holding each other’s hands for the last five years.
You caught me on a bad day. Tears and sniffles as I write this.
I so desperately want to be uplifting to you new moms, tell you this too shall pass.
But the truth is it just changes. Either by who you choose to have in your life, how you take care of yourself, the choices you make and also, what medications or treatments you decide to pursue.
Motherhood does not bring me the ultimate joy promised in parenting magazines or sappy Mother’s Day cards. It is a daily struggle for me, to push all the ugly voices and feelings in my head aside to take care of this little person first and foremost.
There are moments, yes. Moments that make all the heartache and worry worthwhile.
I am sending a good kid out into the world.
Next week I’m sure I will be fine. I have good people in my life, I have genuine faith in something.
Sadly what I do not have is doctors or medical professionals in my life. We belong to a very small minority of people who have fallen through the cracks. My husband’s law firm does not offer health insurance yet and with astronomical student loan payments we are left unable to afford decent private healthcare.
So I’m left to rely on myself and the other magnificent women and mothers in my life. Women who have walked this road, women who are still walking on it. And people who have helped, watched, witnessed and cared for those lost in their own brains.
Not all of us are able to get the help we probably need or even deserve.
Thankfully PPD is becoming more and more understood and accepted. However depression is still a few dozen years behind. But we, the people who have lived through PPD and those of us who still have depression lurking in our lives have a strength that no medical journal can touch.
We can give a voice to this disease.
By talking about it.
Never being ashamed to say “I’m not doing well.”
What you are feeling is real. You can’t eat your way out of it, sleep your way out of it, pray your way out of it or just get over it.
But you can talk about it. Eating, sleeping and praying, all in moderation, can and will help as well, but there is no once cure.
This too shall pass.
When I’m depressed I can never remember what happiness feels like, but I know it’s somewhere out there, and I fight and claw like hell to find my way back to it.
I can promise you it’s out there somewhere for you too.
Please don’t give up.
Casey Mullins is a writer, Mormon, mother and wife whose happy place is somewhere with peanut butter-covered cheeseburgers and a camera shoved to her face. You can find her at Moosh In Indy or on Twitter at @mooshinindy.
I love what you said about how we can give a voice to this disease by talking about it. I am so sorry that you're not feeling well, and that you're going through this without the help of more medical professionals. You are one tough cookie, and I really admire your honesty and your willingness to be so real about this.
Beautiful post. You're so right. We need to raise our voices, if nothing else. Support often follows. We're all here for each other, to encourage each other to keep fighting the good fight. Blessings to you!
Much love to you, your words are comforting, they are so real and true.
This is very brave, lady.
I can't believe your health care situation is so crazy. Keep in mind that many licensed mental health counselors offer services on a sliding scale. I don't know if you're seeing anyone, but it's definitely possible to get help for little to no money. (Drugs on the other hand, yeah. Never going to be cheap.)
Keep talking, people need this.
Seeing you through to the other side, I hope for you, only the best.
My depression started almost as soon as I got pregnant and decided to stay long after my son was born.
There but for the grace of employer-provided health insurance go I. Hang in there and know you are not alone.
Casey, you are an amazing woman and mother. Thanks for sharing your stories.
You know I'm always rooting for you.
Depression sucks. Living with it is hard and I am learning slowly how to do it. Thank you for the honesty and the bravery. Like you, I won't give up. Thank you.
Thank you so much for being part of this and being so honest about your struggle. Many mothers, not just those in the first year postpartum, suffer from depression. What a tough chronic illness to have when you doing the hard job of mothering, yet you are doing it with such grace and strength. I look forward to the day I can meet you in person.
As someone who has been on antidepressants for 20 years, it makes me angry that you can't get medical treatment. If you lived in Canada or anywhere else on this planet, you'd be getting the medication you need. I've been in that dark place, where it feels like I'll never be happy again, and I so wish I could be there to help you. Thank you for writing so honestly about how hard it is.
love you girl.
You've done more to help me understand my mother than anyone else ever has. And that, THAT, is a very wonderful thing. Big hugs to you, Casey, and thank you for giving voice to those who can't always speak up.
We CAN give this a voice. Thank you for being so honest. Love to you, and happy Mother's Day.
Casey, what an honest post. I'm so glad that you wrote it- for yourself and many others who will read it. I know it will provide strength and hope.
Sometime in the first year postpartum or so I read the book The Ghost in the House. It shed a lot of light into my childhood (living with a mother who had mental illness), my risk factors and also challenged me to continue to fight to break the cycle, create a better life for my child and helped me prioritize what that actually meant in terms of my actions and relationships.
Thanks so much for this honest and touching post. Take good care…and remember, treat yourself as you would your best friend.
Honesty about depression is so important. You're doing such a service by sharing your stories, Casey.
I am always amazed when another voice feels like it could be my own. I am so moved to be reminded I am not alone. So often, I tell others they are not alone…but I forget…neither am I.
I am in that hole, too, the chasm of no health care because it is too expensive and my husband's employment does not provide it. It is a scary place to be… and yet, I am reminded I am not there alone.
Thank you for sharing and talking about it. It's what we "can" all do.
Casey, I was uninsured for a looong time (because no one would insure me with an eight-year-old diagnosis of PPD, not even for a policy without maternity coverage) and paid between $400-500/month for my meds. I eventually had to sell my house because of it (oh, and because I haven't seen child support in two years) but I am still here because my kids need me sane and healthy more than they need things.
I am right there with you, hand in hand, convinced that it doesn't go away for some of us; it just gets an uglier label: Major Depressive Disorder. Thank you for reminding me gently not to sleep my way through it. It doesn't work. All it does is postpone everything I have to get done in a day. Can't guarantee I won't go back to bed today, but at least I'll be thinking of you if I do.
I understand the sleeping thing. Every
now and then when I get a bout of depression
(and I know I'm very fortunate that it's only
every now and then) I just want to
sleep the day away. It seems so much
easier than facing whatever troubles I'm
going through. You're right that it
doesn't work. But sometimes that's all
you can do. My therapist taught me that
we shouldn't beat ourselves up for our coping
mechanisms. We can just try and find new
ones that work better.