As I mother, I know how important keeping a focus on mental health is. I myself have battled with PPD (postpartum depression) and anxiety and depression after the birth of my son. While dealing with these issues I continued to push myself and try to be the best mother and wife I could be until ultimately I hit a brick wall. I found myself in bed for days in the dark and crying most of the time. When I still cared for my child and my family; any alone time was clouded with misery. I began to feel myself fading away slowly but I just kept going through the motions. It was the worst feeling I have ever felt. Finally, I decided to get help. I found a doctor who listened and understood my feelings and helped me troubleshoot through a few different medications until I found the one for me. I found a counselor that shared my beliefs and started meeting regularly. I also shared what I was going through with my family and close friends who were able to understand and support me through this process. Through this experience, I am grateful that I decided to get help because I found myself again. In fact, this experience is one of the reasons BritFit doesn’t just focus on health and fitness, but wellness is just as important to what drives our mission.
Here’s the thing guys, I’m not alone in this. Though you may not have gone through, or may never experience PPD or anxiety and/or depression, mental health is important for all women, especially mothers. We have so much to take care of- our households, children, spouses, jobs, etc and everyone expects us to keep it together. According to CVS Health News, working mothers have been diagnosed with anxiety and/or depression (42%) than the general population (28%), their coworkers without kids (25%) and even working fathers (35%). In addition, stay-at-home moms experience depression, sadness, stress, and anger at a higher rate than working moms according to Forbes. The facts are there. Our mental health as mothers needs to be a priority.
I recently read that 1/10 women are diagnosed with PPD, but 3/7 women experience PPD. What does this tell us? Most of us are not getting the help we need. But why is that the case when we have the fact and feelings right in front of our faces? Many people think about what getting help means. Some think of it as a negative thing that will not be socially acceptable. They think that the diagnosis will affect their relationships or that people with think of them differently. I don’t know about you, but the reality is you’d rather allow ignorant people to think you’re crazy than actually allow go crazy. Another reason why mothers will not get help has to do with cultural factors. According to marchofdimes.org, certain cultural beliefs and traditions may play a role in the decision to ask for mental health help.
If you’re reading this and something is holding you back from getting mental health help, stop now and put yourself first and get the help you need. If you think you may be experiencing PPD or anxiety and/or depression reach out to your primary healthcare provider because screening and assessment are necessary - please don’t self-diagnose or self-treat. If you’ve had depression before, you’re more likely than other women to have depression again so please be aware of this fact. Also, when dealing with mental health it is super important that you dig deep and are honest. Take it from me, if you decide to put yourself first you won’t regret it.
Resources for help:
The National Maternal Mental Health Hotline — 1-833-TLC-MAMA (1-833-852-6262)
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline — 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Helpline — 1-800-622-HELP (1-800-622-4357) or https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov
Postpartum Support International — 1-800-944-4PPD (1-800-944-4773)
If you are thinking about harming yourself or your child, or if you are concerned about someone, call 9-1-1