Behind Christina's Mind

    

It felt like there was something very wrong with me. 

I suffered in silence, yet my husband and my newborn son heard my cries, my screams, my rage.

I felt like I didn't have control of anything because I was drowning in emotion and telling myself a story -- a lie -- "I can't do this anymore. I don't want to live like this."

I didn't want to feel psycho, but I couldn't bring myself to ask for help.

I was afraid of being prescribed anti-depressants because of my negative past experience with Zoloft.

My mind had me considering ending it all. Somehow, likely with my darling son in my arms, and the love in my heart that carries a stronger voice than the dark parts of my mentally ill brain, I fought against the suicidal ideation. 

I just wanted to sleep. I was drowning in overwhelming guilt for my resentment towards what robbed me of bonding -- feeding my beautiful, healthy, innocent dependent cry-baby every hour. I ate my rage. Even though my dream had come true with a smooth, happy, chill, healthy pregnancy and a quick, blissful delivery, I came to resent the adjustment to new motherhood and the glamorous life of changing diapers.

Even with a history of anxiety and depression, I was in denial of the possibility of postpartum depression. 

The postpartum survey from the nurse seemed a distant memory because I had passed the test. So, I dismissed my postnatal illness as sleep deprivation and hormones... but I could no longer dismiss it when the scariest thought I had (though I would never have acted on it) struck me: 

One night, annoyed and extremely irritated, rocking my angel in the chair back to sleep, I empathized with the mothers who would drop their own infants at fire stations or, worse, leave babies in dumpsters.

It hit me -- this isn't just sleep deprivation.

I need help.

The light of hope lifted me from the floor of The Darkness, from sobbing into a pillow locked in the bathroom with the light off. I found fitness and started fighting for my mental health.

That was five years ago. 

I'm not depressed. 

When I feel low (but never depressed), I have the tools and the power to turn it around. I ask for the support now; I know what inner work needs to be done now; I have therapy to turn to; I have passion and affirmations; I have fitness and yoga and meditation; I nourish gut, mind, body and mood with my food and personal development to help me when I'm struggling. 

I have my passion for lifestyle coaching, where I get to help others feel supported and connected, not isolated. I love on them and I celebrate with them.

I did try medication, as my last resort, and though I was unsuccessful, I still believe there is no shame in seeking the medication that works for you.

It's normal for a baby to feed every hour or three, to not sleep through the night, to be an early riser, to not eat when you want them to.

It's normal for a parent to lose quality sleep, but asking for someone to let you nap should be normal too.

It's normal for a child to cry to communicate.

Being depressed doesn't make you a bad mom. It doesn't make you cause physical harm, but the emotional damage? I think that's more harmful to you and your family.

It's normal for a new mother to cry and communicate with a support system when she needs help and hope.

I share this to give you hope -- if you're feeling crazy; psychotic; like something is very wrong -- What if one day soon, you will be a light for others in darkness? What if magic happens when you admit your story to yourself, and tell someone else? Seeking help is strength.

I think that with hope, you're equipped to live life strong as a mother... and find what makes you more than a mother... and that life you created will outlive you!

 

Christina S.

Edmonton, Alberta

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