Speaking out about PPD

Recently, actress Hayden Panettiere revealed that she had checked herself in to a treatment facility for postpartum depression. Here is why that matters:
A huge element of PPD is isolation. This can either be physical, if you are in a situation where you are caring for your baby with little to no help, or internal, where you are surrounded by people and yet feel completely alone. Some women experience a cocktail of both. This was the case for me with my first son. I didn’t have a daily support from breakfast through about 9pm (or later), as my husband worked very long hours and my family lives over an hour away. But even on the days when people were around me, where my mom came to help out or we visited with friends, I felt alone. Like nobody else could possibly understand how difficult it was to just get through every moment without crumbling into myself.
When someone, anyone, speaks out about a struggle, it is helpful because it shows whoever else is dealing with the same type of struggle that they are not alone. With depression, and in this case we are specifically speaking about PPD, it’s exceptionally helpful because your mind is trying to pull you into the darkness where you live alone and block out any helpful information that others might try to give you. While this information and advice probably comes with good intentions, it does not always resonate with someone struggling with PPD because we associate the people giving us the information as foreign. They are not going through what we are going through so how could they assume to give us advice?
And this is a harmful mindset that PPD pushes into our brains. The idea of “normal, happy, functioning people” versus “people like us” is dangerous. But it’s the way our brains work during this cloudy time. As with clinical depression of all types, we live in a grey bubble while the outside world is saturated with color.
So when someone in the public eye, someone who has held a position as a role model for young women comes out and says that she is struggling with PPD, it shows that it can truly affect anyone. It doesn’t matter that she has more money than most of us could ever dream of, she is still a mother who has the same hormones and goes through the same process of learning to be a mother that most of us do. And not only is she struggling with something that a lot of us go through, but she is getting help for it. Despite the media scrutinizing her and inserting their opinions on her situation, she went public and let everyone else know that you are not alone.
Hopefully some day it will be common for women struggling with PPD to be honest about their struggle so that they can get help right away, but for now, know that you are not alone, and it is never wrong to ask for help.

Take care of yourselves, ~Suzi

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