It’s been a couple months since I talked about being diagnosed with Post Partum Anxiety, so I thought I would give a little update and reflection on how I’m doing now.
In two words, much better. But it was definitely a journey to get to this point. I was already in therapy at the time, but that continues on a regular basis. I was also put on medication, which I continue to take. And I incorporated meditation and regular exercise (either walking or yoga or both some days) into my routine.
While I think the conversation around mental health is getting better, there is also a stigma still surrounding the topic. But mental health is just as important as our physical health. I find it interesting that if I was diagnosed with diabetes or cancer, taking medication, adjusting lifestyle, and going to doctors on a regular basis doesn’t seem out of the ordinary. But if I’m dealing with depression or anxiety, it’s a different story.
In fact, something I still feel weird talking about is the fact I was diagnosed with PTSD while I was pregnant with my son. I always thought PTSD was reserved for “real trauma” – war veterans, physical or sexual abuse, things like that. But I did go through real trauma with my daughters.
Anne Bogel, a blogger on modernmrsdarcy.com, shared a post she wrote last year about her experiences on 9/11 and the panic attacks she had following those events. And how she didn’t get help right away because she felt like her situation wasn’t as bad as others. In the infertility and pregnancy loss world, a comparison can be just as detrimental.
Even now, when I’m asked if Sam is my first, I say that I had two stillborn daughters before him. If I say I had miscarriages or pregnancy loss, they ask how far along was I in the pregnancy. As if to say that if it wasn’t far enough along, then I’m not entitled to my grief or to even talk about them. In fact, I still struggle to talk about my first miscarriage, before my two daughters, because it wasn’t “as bad.”
I know that it’s hard to talk about what’s going on inside our heads and our hearts. Sometimes even we aren’t able to process everything fully and with clarity. And it’s easy to compare our situation with others and write it off as nothing. But it’s not. If you found a lump in your breast, even if it wasn’t as big as someone else’s lump, you would still go to the doctor to get it checked out, right? In the same way, going to a professional therapist to talk about the things you are experiencing is just as normal.
No matter where you are in life, and what you are feeling, you are not alone. To be honest, I think everyone should include mental checkups in their annual routines. So if you are experiencing anxiety or depression, or even just think a mental checkup would do you good, I highly encourage you to seek out a good therapist or talk to your doctor.