Disclaimer: This story contains details of postpartum depression and suicidal thoughts that may be upsetting to some.
“I remember laying in ‘our’ bed with deep agonizing pain in my heart. I wept, and I wept, and the tears would not stop. At times I screamed so loudly as if that was going to release the dark ball of pain that was building inside me. Here I was, a new mother to a 3-month-old baby girl. I was suffering from severe postpartum depression, the only items I had to my name was a bag of clothes and a computer. I had not even received my first paycheck from the job I just started, and my child’s father was leaving me. The reason he was leaving me was, he couldn’t handle my depression. The only family I had to help me was 4 ½ hours away. I laid there in a deep, dark cloud of negativity. Every thought that came to mind drug me deeper and deeper down in my darkness. I felt as though my situation was greater than any person I was ever going to be able to be. The only answer to my problems, I felt, was suicide.
The days that followed felt like I was living in an alternate reality. I felt like a robot, numb with pain, living life on autopilot completely checked out to the world. I hid in a separate room in our home with my daughter for days. I fed her when she needed to be fed, and did my parenting duties, completely shut off from reality. I would look at her and wonder, ‘I must be such a terrible mother to think this beautiful little soul can’t even give me the strength I need to pull through this.’ The postpartum depression was unlike anything I had ever felt before in my life. I knew I needed help, but I had lived my entire life independently, and asking for help and showing my weakness was a trait I wasn’t willing to work on in the midst of what I was going through.
I spent a week trying to find an affordable 1-bedroom apartment. Periodically I would have break downs thinking about how I had to start my life completely over, and how was I even going to provide a nice crib for her to sleep in. I wasn’t making much money at the time, and the cost of living was far too great for me to afford anything in the safer parts of town. My child’s father gave me the deposit for the apartment I found and also a queen blow up mattress for us to sleep on. My job was an hour and a half commute by bus into the city, day and night. This only left me with an hour in the evening to hurry and feed my daughter, bathe her, spend time with her before it was her bedtime.
It was winter during this time; it was actually a couple of weeks before Christmas. My apartment had baseboard heating which was extremely expensive to keep running. I would wrap my daughter up in multiple blankets to try to keep her as warm as possible during the night. I only had two thin blankets for myself at the time, I remember being woken multiple times in the night with how cold the air would get inside the blowup mattress. I would lay awake at night sometimes and just weep because my daughter didn’t deserve any of this. On top of the extreme shame and guilt of bringing her into this situation, I couldn’t figure out how I was going to get through this depression.
Christmas night, I sat in my apartment and I laid on an empty floor, no tree, no presents, just silence. My little baby girl was wrapped in her swaddle in my arms, and I just let myself drift into thought. I looked around, I saw a bedroom with a blow-up mattress, I saw a kitchen with hardly any food, an empty living room, an empty dining room, empty walls, and a few baby items. I then looked at my daughter sleeping so sweetly, and something deep inside me and greater than me in that moment broke; I told my daughter that night it would be the last night that I would ever put her in these circumstances.
From that day forward I woke every morning and started my day off with podcasts that educated me in moving through depression. I spent my commutes to work writing a gratitude journal (even though at first, I felt as though I had nothing to be grateful for accept my daughter). I began practicing self-affirmations in the mirror each day, saying things like ‘I love you.’ Although, I really didn’t love the face looking back at me. Fake it till you make it, right? I began practicing positive thinking. Wow, boy did I realize how negative I was when I first began trying to correct all my negative thoughts. I began eating a cleaner diet when I learned how important what we put in our bodies effect depression and hormone imbalance. I also began meditating.
With every day that would go by, I felt a ball of light growing bigger and bigger inside me. As I daily devoted attention to my depression and allowing myself to feel my emotions deeply and be kind to myself through that, I began to feel a new sense of respect for myself. I also felt a whole new passion building inside me for personal growth. Rather than spending my spare moments aimlessly engulfed in some reality series on Netflix, I was nose in deep reading something pertaining to my own human behavior and how can I fix it. A new passion that I didn’t know I had was rising to the surface.
I diligently sought out a higher paying job to be able to cover my bills, and ironically, I landed a job closer to home making much more money and working fewer days. I was now able to spend more time with my baby girl. As the money came in, I filled my apartment, and my love for myself grew stronger each day. I was doing it. I stuck with it, and I was really doing it.
I had found a new passion; the fun I had creating clean, healthy meals took over my life and made me re-assess my future goals. My desire for overall well being pushed me to want to turn my passions into my career. I began a blog to express my artistic creative meals with hopes of inspiring others to eat healthier. I took the initiative to go back to school, and currently, I am studying holistic nutrition coaching and will continue on my education in Ayurveda. I am also building my coaching business so that I can help others through their own journeys, and potentially help others move through depression and find their own personal well being.
Pairing the devotion to my personal growth alongside my clean diet, I was surprised to find how quickly my depression subsided. Only months after going from feeling like suicide was the only option, I completely felt more open than I ever had in my life.
As I grew over that first year, I humbly had a new perspective and meaning to my life. The deep rock bottom pain forced me to dive deep into every crevasse of my mind, and the actions that lead me to that exact moment. No longer was I trying to blame anyone for my circumstances. Instead, I was assessing my actions and evaluating what life was trying to teach me. ‘Life doesn’t happen to us, life happens for us,’ life is a journey of lessons, and some of the most beautiful things are created in the midst of chaos. It is pain and struggle that teach us the greatest lessons in life. If we miss the lesson, the pain will keep coming back greater and greater each time. It will start off as a dim voice and move to a loud scream until you’re able to hear it. The key is learning to listen and redirecting yourself when your compass tries to tell you that you’re going the wrong way. There is always bliss on the other side of pain, but first, you must grow through it before you can experience that. My favorite Mexican proverb, ‘They tried to bury us, but they didn’t know we were seeds.’ This was absolutely an experience I needed to endure and grow through to bring me to the next greatest version of myself. Keep your chin up, be excited for what kind of changes are taking place to bring you to the next greatest level of you!”
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