bouquet of flowers in vase

5 Years After Postpartum Depression

It’s 5 years out from the day I went to the emergency room for postpartum depression

July 26th will always be a significant date to me for that reason. In years past, it was always a day that filled me with guilt and shame. A day that reminded me of my ultimate failure as a mother. 

The lie that “I’m not a good mother” still tries to creep in every so often, especially today, but I’m getting better at recognizing it for what it is: a lie. 

5 years ago what I needed was to get help. I needed to go to the psych hospital and recover until I could be safe enough to be on my own. I gave up a week of my life with my baby so I could spend the rest of my life being the mother he needed me to be. It was the right decision. 

I’m thankful to my husband for having the courage to make the difficult decision to take me to the ER. It was scary and stressful, and I wasn’t in any state of mind to be at all helpful. I’m thankful for his background in mental health and for his experience with crisis work. I’m thankful he didn’t wait and hope I would get better on my own. 

I’m thankful for the person I’ve become because of this experience. I’m thankful for the opportunity to practice vulnerability with people, to share my story with others, and to make meaning out of suffering. 

I’m grateful for my postpartum depression being a wake up call to my obsession with perfection. I appreciate how this experience humbled me, how it helped me to realize that I’m not in control of everything, and how I learned that doing my best is oftentimes better than doing something perfectly. And everyone’s “best” looks different.

I’m grateful to be in a healthy place emotionally about this experience. I really feel like I hit a turning point last year, 4 years after the event. Honestly, I think it took about 3-4 years to really fully recover mentally from the depression. Healing is such a long process. 

I’ve said before that going through this made me a stronger person, but I am only stronger because I recognize my weaknesses and my shortcomings. And because I accept them. I accept myself.  

I’m grateful to have been writing on Threads of Anxiety for four years now, and look forward to more years in the future. 

Thanks for reading.

The Anniversary Effect

Last week it suddenly occurred to me that I was nearing my anniversary – July 26th. For a minute I had forgotten all about it, but on a random Tuesday it hit me and I felt a bit sick to my stomach. Today is the 3-year anniversary of the day I was admitted to the psych hospital for postpartum depression/psychosis.

I like to take this day each year to share parts of this story on the blog, in hopes that it might help or encourage at least one person. For whatever reason, this year it is proving to be particularly hard. It’s like reopening the wound – healing has taken place, so it hurts to go back and poke around inside of it.

For those who are new to my blog, I’ve written a series of posts over the years about my experience with severe postpartum depression, which led me to admitting myself to a psychiatric hospital for a week. My son was only 4 weeks old at the time. If you’re interested in reading them, you can search the tag “Postpartum Depression” and find all the posts I’ve written.

That experience was really what inspired me to start this blog – I wanted to be open and honest about my struggles with depression and anxiety, and use it as a way to let others know they are not alone.

Before writing this next section, I went back and reread all of my previous posts, including a draft that I have not made public yet. There’s so much more to say, so much more to the story that is not complete. Someday I would really like to write all of it out, but it feels too hard today.

Instead, today I would like to focus on the idea of trauma, and healing from psychological trauma. As the days were leading up to this anniversary, I found myself really struggling with a lot of anger. It was coming out (mostly at Dean) but at everything in life really. I had an appointment scheduled with my counselor yesterday, and I came in seething. As we talked, I decided to bring up to her that Friday would be three years since I was admitted to the hospital. I couldn’t even say it out loud without crying. I didn’t realize how much this simple date, July 26th, was really causing havoc to my emotional and mental state.

Read More »

Unexpected Lessons From Japan

My husband Dean and I have been back in the States for about 2 weeks now after taking an 11-day trip to Japan. This trip was an early 10-year anniversary celebration for Dean and myself (actual anniversary June 5).

One of the most common questions we’ve gotten about our trip was simply, “How did you decide on Japan?” Dean and I are very different, but we have known for a long time that if we ever got the chance to internationally travel, we would go to Japan. For starters, I went to Japan 19 years ago when I was in 8th grade.

Screen Shot 2019-06-03 at 9.08.39 PM
Me in my host family’s home (April 2000)

 I had the opportunity to participate in a “Junior Ambassador” program with my school, and we had the chance to meet and connect with a Japanese student of the same age. We got to meet their families and stay in their homes – a pretty awesome experience to have as a 13-year-old. As happens when you travel somewhere new, you usually want to go back someday. This trip was my “going back” opportunity. Besides that, over the past 3 years we have really gotten more interested in Japanese culture – manga, anime, sushi, etc. We have a sushi night once a week (local Abilene sushi, although it’s actually pretty good!) and normally watch an anime film or show while we have dinner. It was pretty cool to see and experience in person some of the things we had seen in the shows we watched.

Screen Shot 2019-06-03 at 9.07.07 PM
Tomoe, on the left, and her sister on the far right were my host family

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you know from our pictures that we did a lot – we went to Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka – this included visiting places like Akihabara, Disney Sea, Studio Ghibli Museum, Fushimi-Inari… through the social media lens, where I have strategically chosen the best of the best pictures (and filtered them beyond belief), it looked like the trip of a lifetime. That’s always how it is on the other end of the screen, isn’t it? Perhaps there’s a twinge of jealousy or longing as you scroll through a friend’s travel pictures.

Well, it was an awesome experience, and I am super grateful that we had the chance to go – however, there is always more to the story.


Read More »