‘This is me, at the peak of my postpartum depression.’: Mom’s candid photo captures the depths of her ‘mind-altering’ postpartum depression

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“This is me, at the peak of my postpartum depression. I asked Shiloh to take a picture of me, so I could remember how far I’d come, if I ever came out of it. I was lower than low, I wasn’t even myself. Looking back at this photo I remember perfectly the pain I felt, the dread in waking up every day, the physical pain that engulfed me from thoughts in my brain. I had never known consuming, mind-altering emotion such as this that flooded every fiber of my being, making its way through my veins like a plague. This is what postpartum depression looks like, or at least what it did for me. I didn’t want to leave this life, but it seemed like the only way that would rid me of the pain I was in. I didn’t ask for it, it wasn’t welcome. But there it was, and I kicked its fu**ing ass and beat it to the ground before I let it consume me, or much worse, take my life.

Tori Block

I didn’t know I had postpartum depression (PPD) until my sister asked me if I was experiencing it. I was that much in denial. As someone who very much is in tune with her emotions, I chose to resist facing it that much. It’s scary — nobody wants to admit they have PPD. Once I realized I was very much depressed and in a dark place, I started having suicidal thoughts. This was when Bodhi was 3-months-old.

I became hyperaware of how sad, angry, alone, and unhappy I was feeling. I thought nobody could feel what I was feeling, everyone I knew who had kids seemed to be going through motherhood with ease. I had this newfound, unreal, unexplainable love for this little baby, yet I was simultaneously severely depressed. I didn’t understand it.

Tori Block

I alienated myself from my family, husband, and friends. I wanted THEM to reach out to me, and was SO upset when they didn’t in the way I wanted them to. Who thinks like that? I thought surely I must have gone mad. When I started Googling different ways to kill myself, I decided it was time to reach out for help. I straight up told my family that I wanted to die, I wanted to end my life. I was in so much pain, nothing seemed to help it.

I didn’t want to take medication, because I was exclusively breastfeeding and in my mind that meant I was weak. Oh, how wrong I was! My family arranged therapy sessions and psychiatrist appointments for me. Both of which saved my life.

Bodhi and PPD weren’t planned, but reaching out for help when I needed it is how I got through, how I continue to get through motherhood. Both were the biggest blessings of my life, I’m stronger for it, and I have a deeper understanding of who I am because of it.”

Tori Block

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Tori Block, 28, of Grass Valley, California. Submit your story here.

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