“1 in 5 Americans will be affected by a mental health condition in their lifetime and every American is affected or impacted through their friends and family and can do something to help others.” – *NAMI
When I read that statistics of mental health conditions here in the US it broke my heart. That means everyone is impacted from a mental health condition whether directly or indirectly. Even more shocking is that 60% of adults with a mental health illness and 50% of youth with a mental health illness did not receive mental health services in the last year. For years I was a part of that statistic.
Looking back I wish I would have asked for help sooner rather than making myself and my family suffer through it for years. When we first moved I became depressed rather quickly and my husband and I did not know the facts or the signs of depression. When I had our first daughter I was diagnosed with PPD by my daughter’s pediatrician but was only offered a pill and nothing more. Personally I was terrified of the medicine and too scared to google anything because I was worried what I may find. I had no idea that there were so many more options out there for help and assistance. What was more shocking was that I was only followed up with six months later and never again.
My depression not only affected my daily outlook on life but my marriage suffered, raising a child was very hard, and it made meeting and making friends (what I wanted the most) incredibly difficult. The first thing I wish I would have known were the facts and not in medical mumbo jumbo terms. I had read all the symptoms on the Mayo Clinics website on PPD and even after being diagnosed I talked myself out of every symptom on their website. I was miserable but somehow told myself I was not depressed (complete denial) and that I was going to be fine. This is not a healthy way to deal with depression, PPD, or any mental health condition. My close friends and family knew I was depressed to some level and were incredibly supportive the entire journey. However, I also wish someone was more firm with me searching, going and getting the proper help or self-care to get through all the difficult challenges I was going through.
I love this post from Post Partum Progress’ blog as she puts the symptoms and describes PPD in her “plain mama English”. Her descriptions of the symptoms are put into every day normal life situations which make it much easier to understand and harder to talk yourself out of. Had someone shared this with me I probably would have taken my diagnosis more seriously.
There are many support groups, counselors, therapists, and self-help options out there if you believe you are suffering from a mental health condition. If you think you may be suffering please go speak with your doctor and a trusting love one that can support and encourage you through the process. If you are scared of taking a pill ask your doctor for more options and talk to your support partner. I know if I had gotten help sooner it would have shorten and possibly lessen the intensity of my depression. It is OK to ask for help and it is OK to do what you need to do to get better.
One thing I found helpful was to ask my church for a list of counselors they knew of and could recommend, that helped me with narrowing the field down. I’ve included some links below for counseling resources here in Wisconsin and support groups for woman. If you know of any that you like or recommend please feel free to share.
Please do not feel like you need to suffer silently. There are a lot of people out there who are willing and wanting to help you.
PPD and depression symptoms in “plain mama English” – (http://www.postpartumprogress.com/the-symptoms-of-postpartum-depression-anxiety-in-plain-mama-english)
Post Partum Depression WI Resources – https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/mh/womenresources.htm
Post Partum Support International WI Resources – http://www.postpartum.net/locations/wisconsin/
Luna Perinatal Counseling – http://www.lunacounseling.com/services.html
Postpartum Doula – http://www.madisondoula.com
A list of local support doulas and groups – http://www.momsinmadison.com/formoms.html
NAMI mental health statistics and info: https://www.nami.orgmentalhealthmonth#sthash.k3o0rNQz.dpuf