Oh hey, Vanessa here. I haven’t done much writing lately. Partially because I’ve been so depressed that I haven’t felt like doing anything, but also because it’s time to start getting real.
For the past 5 years, I’ve been publishing articles that tell you how to survive with postpartum depression, but the truth is, I’m right alongside you suffering as well. So who am I to tell you all the things that you need to be doing?
I mean, I’m sure it started as a way to bring awareness. I wanted people to pay attention to postpartum depression and realize what a big deal it was. Maybe it was my own cry for attention. I wanted other people to understand what it’s like. And I knew I had a way with words, so maybe it was my calling in life.
But the more I talked about it, the more questions I got. What do I do now? Does it go away? How can I help? I wanted to find the answers, both for myself and for those who asked.
And for a while, I felt helpful. I felt brave for speaking up, for empowering other women. I never meant to become an advocate for postpartum depression. But after years of talking about it, sharing information about it, online and with those I knew personally, people started coming to me for the answers. There was pressure to know the answers.
And I think that pressure finally broke me. I’m sorry that I don’t have all the answers for you, and perhaps I never will. On my journey to finding the answers, I learned a lot and I tried a lot and I will never regret that. But after my last major depression episode, I just don’t have it in me anymore. I feel defeated and exhausted, both physically and mentally.
Instead, I’m going to focus on the things that bring me joy. Those include my children (sometimes) and my writing, but also my dog, my houseplants, my garden.
I’m also going to talk openly about how shitty depression feels, especially when you’re a wife and mother with no damn good reason to be depressed about anything.
I’m going to get real about depression, about what works and what doesn’t. About what it really feels like. About how I think people with depression should be treated, versus how they are treated.
I’m no longer going to care about what people think because I worried about that for way too long and look where it’s gotten me. I’m done with disclaimers. What works for me probably won’t work for you, and if it does then that’s great. If it doesn’t, don’t blame me. When it comes to mental health, does anyone ever really know what they’re talking about anyway?
So if you’re interested in commiserating along with me, you are welcome here. I can’t promise that I will write regularly, nor can I promise that I will even return a single email in a timely fashion.
Does that make me unreliable in the eyes of society?
But such is the battle that is depression.