I looked at the hospital discharge packet. The doctor had me listed as a patient who had “depression.” I’m not sure why but seeing it on paper made it that much more real.
A couple of months after I had my son I began experiencing intrusive suicidal thoughts. What alarmed me was not merely the fact that I had them but that they seemed logical to me.
Postpartum depression reasoned for me that death was better than life. I won’t go into detail about how or why here, but it was at that point where I knew I had to get help for myself.
I was verbally assessed by my therapist and was told I had moderate depression and anxiety. (Who knows for how long since I’ve been experiencing much of the symptoms for over a year already).
The shifting hormones of pregnancy and delivery did not make it any better. My brother’s death didn’t. The four hours of sleep I was getting a day from a newborn didn’t. It was a lonely home for me and even though it was just my son & I for the majority of the time, he was truly the only thing who could make me smile again.
And as much as I wanted it to though, even his teethless little grin couldn’t help me in the long run.
I began therapy in September 2020. My therapist took me through something called cognitive behavioral therapy. It’s a strategic practice therapists use to reveal and correct negative and irrational thought patterns.
After about five sessions my self awareness had increased tremendously. It’s what I needed. Without it I would have never been able to better myself. It was something only I could do, afterall.
Apparently I was focusing too much on what was around me, even though I did have a lot going on.
Still, my therapist assured me I wasn’t crazy. He told me I was normal and that I was human. It was actually very liberating to know I was angry and depressed for valid reasons.
However, what I needed was more control – less my emotions take me where I don’t want to be.
So that’s what I worked on.
To be honest, before this my understanding of depression was based on the perspectives of those who lacked serious compassion. A few terms they would associate depression with were:
I even heard someone call it selfishness in it finest form – that to be depressed was to be self-centered and nothing more.
Though I understood their sentiment, there are those who really just need help seeing outside the pain they’re experiencing. They need someone with them and not just looking at them.
Unless medical intervention is necessary, people who develop depression typically have certain events tied to it. Therapists even claim everyday interactions can cause mental disorders when they are repeated over and over again.
Consider yourself fortunate if you have not experienced depression firsthand. If you have had suicidal thoughts or know someone who has, please reach out to someone or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-8255.
Above all, seek help. Your life is of value and you are not alone.