‘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.

woman struggling with postpartum depression cries while breastfeeding baby
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.

woman with postpartum depression sits holding baby to chest looking away from baby
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.”

woman struggling with postpartum depression smiles in picture holding baby in costume next to husband
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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