Giving postpartum depression a new narrative

The first time I spoke about postpartum depression, I did so because I knew that sharing my story was the purpose of my struggle. I was suffering. I was terrified. I was giving up. And then, after many days and weeks of struggle, suffering, and fear, I heard something. Looking back, with what I know now, I think God spoke to me. He brought a voice out from inside of me that had been suppressed for so long. “This is your purpose. Tell your story.”

I then realized that the first step to recovering, for me, was getting to a place where I felt like I brought value to the lives of others around me. To a place where I didn’t so strongly feel that everyone would be better off without me. To a place where I could be honest with myself and stop lying to everyone else. The phrase “I’m okay.” was just burying me further in my grave every time I said it. No more. I had to turn myself in.

I started with Instagram. I posted a picture of me and my daughter for the first time in what felt like a long time, with a caption briefly describing my struggle over the prior few days, being diagnosed with postpartum depression and panic disorder. Maybe someone else would see it and know that it’s okay to speak up. I felt so strongly that I needed to hide—that I was worthless. And I felt compelled to change that narrative for other women. When I spoke out—so vaguely—I was hit by the force of so many people warning me to take it down because

“Aren’t you afraid you won’t get a job?”

“Aren’t you afraid your boss will see?”

“Aren’t you embarrassed?”

Embarrassed? Really? I’m fighting for my life and had the audacity to fess up to it all so that some woman suffering in silence would maybe feel less alone and you’re asking me if I’m worried about ruining my reputation?

I need to share my story because NO ONE. ELSE. WILL. I had nowhere to go and nothing to make me feel like I could exist in this world again. The only stories I could find were the stories of lost life or of self pity and I needed a story of strength. Someone to lift me up and through because my arms were just too weak from fighting. In this moment of fear, disgust, anger, and mortification, I found my purpose. And so I will share my story here, as I piece it all together. I’m not done walking through the fire yet, but if all we have is now then why not start today.