postpartum depression recoveryHave you ever played the children’s board game Chutes & Ladders?

As players move through the game, they advance along the board, sometimes skipping ahead several spaces by landing on a ladder and sometimes falling behind several spaces by landing on a chute.

I like to describe recovery from postpartum depression and anxiety as being like a game of Chutes & Ladders. For a while you’ll be moving along nicely, maybe even having such a great day that you feel you’ve shot forward to the end. You’ve reached out for treatment, you’ve been doing what you’re supposed to do and you are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Then, for whatever reason, you fall back into a hole of despair. A bad day, or a string of bad days, hits and you become convinced that you’ll never get better.

Setbacks are a completely normal part of recovery from postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety and postpartum OCD. I can’t tell you how many women I hear from who are worried about them and want to find out if other women experience them. The answer is a resounding yes. I can’t tell you that I know exactly why they happen, because I’m still not very clear on the intricacies of brain healing, but I do know they happen all the time. I also know that they don’t last and that you should never give up.

If you just keep going, despite temporary obstacles, you’ll realize the same thing that pre-school players of Chutes & Ladders learn: No matter what happens, the players always make it to the end of the game.