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Content warning: Discussion of postpartum depression, birth trauma, domestic abuse or other tough topics ahead. If you or someone you know is struggling with a postpartum mental health challenge, including postpartum depression or anxiety, call 1-833-9-HELP4MOMS (tel:18009435746)—The National Maternal Mental Health Hotline This free, confidential service provides access to trained counselors and resources 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in English, Spanish, and more than 60 other languages. They can offer support and information related to before, during, and after pregnancy.
My mental illness does not define me.
I have struggled for years with severe depression and anxiety. Many days I would binge drink to not think about the pain, only to wake up not remembering anything from the night before.
One day I tried to take my own life. I finally admitted myself into a mental health facility. Taken by ambulance, I felt ashamed being taken through the double doors on a gurney. That one week at the hospital was an emotional rollercoaster—hearing the diagnosis from the psychiatrist and having to finally be brutally honest with myself.
I have sought out many forms of treatment from talk therapy to medication. Medication has saved my life. Depression just doesn’t go away. It will always be there when I’m feeling my best and it will try to creep up and take me down.
Related: Postpartum depression and anxiety are more common than you may think—here are the resources you need
When my daughter was born, postpartum depression crept up on me and I was at my worst. But I did not let that define me as a mother.
Often people associate mental illness as a weakness. I say it brings out the colors in us. It makes us stronger as a person.
For the mothers out there that feel like they have failed due to postpartum depression, and for the people struggling daily with depression or anxiety, there is nothing wrong with asking for help.
You are not alone. My mental illness does not define me.