In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, I want to introduce you to my former college roommate Cole Gilbert and allow her to share her story. Cole is a homeschool mom to 4 kids – Ava (10), Grayson (8), Brogan (5), and Livy (3). Her husband is Associate Pastor of Community and Missions at Trinity Baptist Church in Lake Charles, Louisiana. She is a reminder that there is NO one size fits all to mental health. Everyone has a different story to tell, and we MUST be our own health advocates and trust our instincts. I hope her story touches you as it did me.
Chad and I recently went on a date to celebrate . . . Prozac.
Yep, you read that right. I’ve been on Prozac/Zoloft for 5 years and our date night celebrated one week since I had taken my last pill. I’m officially medicine-free and that’s worth celebrating!
But we were also celebrating and thanking God for how much this medicine has helped me these last few years. I’m glad to be off of it, but I have NO SHAME from needing to be on medicine!
If you are dealing with postpartum issues, depression, anxiety, or other mental illnesses, please hear my encouragement to talk honestly with your doctor and/or counselor and get the help you need. This may be medicine, but it could also be counseling to help process issues (trauma or fear), or someone helping you see changes in your life that need to be made (diet, boundaries, relationships, activities). Whatever it is, you will not regret getting help!
I’ll share my story below for anyone who could benefit from my experience with postpartum anxiety, but if you can only read a little bit, then I want you to know this:
You are not alone when life is hard. There is help available. It’s hard to be vulnerable, but getting help is worth it. You know yourself best so trust your instincts. If you feel like you are not yourself, please talk to your doctor. You will have to push through the embarrassment or urge to explain your symptoms away, but it will be worth it. Fight the shame and fear. Call your doctor, call a friend, call someone!
You may not deal with these issues, but chances are good that someone around you does. Be gracious. Be a good friend. Check on new mamas. Beg them to be honest with you about how they are doing. Offer prayers and practical support even when you don’t understand what they are going through. Resist the urge to minimize their issues, judge, and shame. Please don’t suggest that something that is chemical/hormonal is really just a spiritual problem or a lack of faith. Walk through the hard WITH them. The Church can do better at this!
When Brogan (my 3rd child) was 10 days old, something changed. I was of course exhausted and a little overwhelmed with bringing a 3rd baby in the mix, but this was more than just being overwhelmed. I woke up a few hours after going to bed and was having the first panic attack of my life. I spent the rest of the night having panic attacks, throwing up, crying, and praying. By the time Chad woke up, I was a mess. He took one look at me and knew something was very wrong. In wisdom, he asked me to immediately call my OB. I was so confused because I wasn’t having the symptoms of postpartum depression and at that point I didn’t even know postpartum anxiety was a thing. All I knew was that I was not myself and I needed help asap. Continue reading “Mental Health Awareness Month: A Postpartum Journey”