Within the past couple of weeks I read a great article by a columnist down in Palm Beach, Florida. Of course the article is from February 2008 but still relevant. The author waxes over various reactions she’s received as a result of coming clean about her mental struggles and illness. But in the end she decides that shes would not change a thing about coming “out” about her struggles.
I started this blog as a way to cope with my third and very unexpected pregnancy on the heels of a nasty episode of Postpartum OCD which landed me in a psych ward. While there, several of the nurses specifically told me I did not have to share with anyone where I had been or why I had been there. Even at the time I remember thinking that was an odd thing to say. Why would I want to hide what had happened to me? Why would I do such a thing when all I wanted was to talk with another mom who was struggling just like me? Wouldn’t it make sense to reach out to other moms? To open up? What good would hiding my “light under a bushel” do?
So here I am.
Out. Shining. And still struggling from time to time. I have stages – right now I’m struggling a bit with not having the same bond with my girls as I do with my little guy. You see, I didn’t have PPD with him so we got to have the fun bonding way it’s supposed to be according to the books experience. Which, by the way, I found a little weird considering I had never done it that way before. But now I find myself saddened and angry that I never got to bond as strongly with the girls as I have with my little man. But alas, I digress.
Let’s get to just talkin here!
If you’ve “outed” your PPD whether it be through a blog, a book, a news story, sharing with a friend, loved one, co-worker, etc, tell us about the experience. Was it positive? Negative? What you expected? Has the experience of “outing” your PPD changed your life? For the better? For the worse? Let us know!
Talking about my struggles with PPOCD was by far the most healing thing I have ever done in my entire life. It was scary. Really freaking scary to admit that I was afraid of hurting my child. I was afraid on so many levels…losing him, hubby leaving, being arrested or spending the rest of my life in an institution. But you know what when it finally happened I was treated in a way I could have never imagined. I had hundreds of people praying for me, my husband understood and was able to cope with my illness better, I was able to begin the healing process. I was in the hospital for a while but it was because I needed to be. I was never forced to go, though…only encourraged. When I came out we were able to hash out a plan for treatment, safety, etc. Now I am a much stronger mom and wife and person all around. I have an empathy I never knew existed. I have a new respect for all mental illnesses. In a way, PPOCD was the best thing that ever happened to me. I have to agree with you, though Lauren…I do get sad sometimes when I think of all the things I missed out on that first year…but if I hadn’t have come out then who knows if I would even be alive today.
I LOVE your statement “Now I am a much stronger mom and wife and person all around.” I completely identify with that as I think most survivors of Postpartum Mood Disorders would. I find myself not so distracted or upset by the little things anymore. Sure they’re annoying but in the grand scheme of things, they’re tiny and I know I’ll make it through.
Whenever I get sad about missing the first year (or more), I try to focus on the here and now. I know I can’t go back and change the past but I can affect the future. I’m working pretty hard at bonding with the girls. I finally bonded pretty well with Charlotte when she was back in the hospital this past Spring which struck me as odd because that’s where my downward spiral started. Kind of a full circle thing, I suppose.
I hear ya about not coming out and being alive today. I don’t like to think what my life would be like if I hadn’t gotten help and become the advocate I am today. I feel that my involvement in advocacy, educating myself and family members really helped prevent an episode after the birth of my son. My mother-in-law even called a couple of times to check up on me! I was so proud of her and so happy I had really put an emphasis on care for me instead of on baby the third time around. It made such a difference!
I am also out, with my blog. I share my story with anyone who will listen, I think it’s the most grass roots way to help other mothers. My experience with nothing but positive. I’ve been very lucky to find a wonderful online community, like yourself for example, who were very welcoming and made me feel better. I think honestly if I hadn’t come out and started the blog I would still be in a very very dark place. So thank you!
I’m so glad you’ve joined the wonderful community of those of us who are out and have found a brighter place. Thank YOU for finding us and for adding valuable experience for other moms to find as they too struggle to find their own way out of their dark place!