Uncontrollable heaved Sobs.
Story by Shreya Mitra
Mental health is not about the destination, but a process. It’s about how you dive, not where you are going.
“I was not allowed to stay with my just born child when he needed me the most”.
“I had lost thousand battles with my own self to ignore my mental health"
These two life-changing experiences acted as a catalyst in paving the path to the ‘taboo’ which was uninvited, which my doctor termed as Post-Partum Depression.
I was two-months pregnant when my mother was diagnosed with cancer. I was shattered. The most-awaited and happiest months of my life were changed to constant worrying and heart-wrenching days. I remember crying myself to sleep or waking up with trauma. Little did we knew, that we are being tested by God.
Each passing month gave us bad news, related to the health issues of family members to the most terrifying news of our unborn child. My ultrasound reports stated that our unborn child would be born with clubbed feet. I was numb. I was angry as well I was in dismay. I was disturbed to the core. Somewhere down the line, I knew things will turn alright. Somewhere I knew that I should not give up.
As they say, positive things happen to those who are optimistic themselves. So, with constant support and affirmation of my family and doctors, we decided to keep the child as they assured us that this abnormality is curable. Soon after, my mom’s health was also improving. I was finally relieved. I still remember the day I held Agniv first time in my hands, I just couldn’t hold my tears.
Little did I knew, this was temporary. All these months had left me paranoid, anxious, and lost. I was fighting with my own-self.
After losing a thousand battles with myself, I finally decided to consult a doctor. My inner fears turned out to be true, I was diagnosed with a brain hemorrhage. In the initial stages of my treatment, I was not allowed to be around Agniv, as I had to travel to another city and he was so small to come with me. I sank in dismay.
With time I got treated and I went back to live ‘normally’. I was feeling a void in my stomach. It was more like a pettish feeling maybe it was a consequence of the ‘mom guilt’ of not being around my child for long. I kept everyone around me unaware of my mental condition as long as I could. But soon, I was diagnosed with post-partum depression.
I somewhere lost my self-confidence and made myself suffer alot. There were times I cried myself to sleep. There were plenty of hard days mixed with anxiety days. I felt alone and cold even in a crowd. I never wanted to leave my bed. I just snapped everyone, even Agniv. The mom guilt was hitting rock bottom and these were the worst days of my life. People around me were concerned as well as affected by my strange behavior. Even medicines didn't help me much.
I was subjected to several mood swings, exhaustion with sense of hopelessness. There were always extremes in behavior, I have had felt frustrated and at the same time overwhelmed. Emptiness, emotionless and numbness were my best friends.
My biggest and the safest closure after my family and closed ones was social media. Here, when I opened up about my life experiences no one judged or taunted me. There were many communities and people with similar life experiences. Sharing and bonding with them were so heart-warming and easy.
Slowly, I started gaining my lost confidence back. Sharing my story helped me to attain closure and also provided a platform for other people who were afraid or suppressed to open up.
Spreading awareness about post-partum depression is like a tap on my shoulder to whisper to myself, “I am proud of you, Shreya!”.
Repeat after me, mental illness is not a taboo. It demands treatment and awareness.