Removing the Stigma of Mental Illness
My Experience With PPD
According to psychologytoday.com, January is Mental Wellness Month by the International Association of Insurance Professionals (IAIP).
Over the past several years it has become less taboo to talk about mental illness. Celebrities such as Glenn Close has been open about her mental illness. She founded Bring Change 2 Mind in 2010. Their mission is “to act as a portal to a broad coalition of organizations that provide service, screening, information, support and treatment of mental illness.” In their article today, Mashable along with Bring Change 2 Mind, launched a week-long initiative #MindfulAllies to help educate and end the stigma surrounding mental health.
My Story: Post-Partum Depression
There are a lot of details that I may not cover in this piece but I want to share my experience. This is the first time I’m publicly sharing my story on social media.
I had suffered from anxiety and depression a teenager. I never really spoke to anyone and never sought professional help. Now at the age of 27, looking back I regret not seeking help. I had my first child at 22 in 2010. I felt fine up until the second week where I had the “baby blues”. I would get emotional and have sad feelings but I thought that it was related to the “newness” of being a parent and the excitement of it all. Around the time my daughter had turned 2 months my husband and I watched a movie at home that one particular Sunday night. We later went to bed, I nursed my baby, we played a card game and went to sleep. As I tried to fall asleep, I suddenly started having suicidal ideations and other ideations that were NOT normal. Those thoughts and feelings then triggered anxiety and it became a vicious cycle. My husband was knocked out by then and I started crying and screaming. He woke up and quickly started saying a prayer out loud for me and asking what was wrong. We called our close friends/spiritual leaders. I felt OK after but those ideations would NOT leave my mind. My husband waited for me to go to sleep.
The next morning I wasn’t better.
Considering the fact that I had suicidal ideations, I was somehow able to get ready and drive to my mom’s house. My grandma was home and got worried to see me so distraught. I told her I needed to go to the hospital and what I had been feeling. I called my OB-GYN but their clinic was closed that day — however, the nurses were available. She told me to go to the ER. I told her, “If I [decide to] drive to the ER, I won’t make it.” That’s when the nurse became very concerned and after putting me on hold she directed me to the hospital where my OB’s partner from their practice was available. I quickly left and my baby stayed with my grandmother. I knew I had to get better in order for me to be a better mom and better human being.
I was received with support and love. The nurse cried with me. And the OB said in these words (which to this day gets me choked up), “I truly believe in the healing power of God and gave us the ability to help people and we will help you. You will not go home. We’re going to get you better.” I felt the atmosphere change. I truly felt right then and there that everything was aligned for me beforehand. There were no coincidences. All fell into place. I got admitted and I got the help I needed. I was officially diagnosed with “Post-Partum Psychosis” though they treated it as post-partum depression (PPD). I was in the hospital for 6 days.
This was Thanksgiving week 2010. And yet I was so thankful for everything: my life, my friends, my family, etc. I had the support of my family, my friends, my church…and not one of them judged me.
I was helped.
I was heard.
And that got me through.
This is my story. What’s yours?
. You are not alone!
If you are in a crisis, text 741–741 to reach the Crisis Text Line. If you are having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1–800–273-TALK (8255). If you want to find out more information regarding a mental illness, about symptoms, and information regarding treatment, call the NAMI Helpline at 1–800–950-NAMI (6264).