The Silent Disease - By Yvette Mystakas
I never thought I was suffering a mental illness until post natal depression and anxiety came crashing down into my life, like tidal wave. I felt like my life shipwrecked and I sunk to the bottom of the ocean, and there was no swimming up to the top.
During my pregnancy and the first few years of my sons life, I was drowning - and I was oblivious to it. You see, I thought it was normal to be scared to become a mother. Becoming a first time mother made me doubt my ability to be a good mother. In fact I carefully crafted a picturesque ideal what the perfect mother should be. This idea of the perfect mother was my deity and I worshipped it, and it became my core belief.
I put so much pressure on myself. I became erratic and I had particular routines and ways to try and have everything perfect. When it did not go right, all I saw and felt was failure. I was beyond exhausted, frustrated and felt defeated. This became a vicious cycle and I became more and more withdrawn and empty.
On the outside I looked like I had it together. It was so easy to flash a smile and tell everyone how well I am coping and I how much I am loving motherhood. My husband and I looked happy and loving towards each other in public, it was quite the opposite behind closed doors. We became so disconnected, little did I know my husband was suffering from post natal anxiety, little did he know I was falling apart and dying inside.
That is the issue with mental illness. The disease can be so well masked. Unlike a physical wound, mental illness is compiled of multiple wounds that are not transparent. Nerves are rattled, heart is aching, chest is heavy and the soul is broken. No one can ever see it, not even the sufferer. Only the suffer can feel it.
My severe post natal depression resulted in two suicide attempts. Both times I completely snapped and just wanted to give up. It has taken me four years to comprehend that it was the silent disease that made me almost take my life. It has taken me four years to realise my self worth, and that I am in fact a good mother. I have stopped being hard on myself and instead of constantly worrying and crying. I am soaking up every day as it comes with my son. I am enjoying every single moment. Even when I make mistakes I am reminding myself I am only human. Instead of letting the wave drown me and consume me, I am riding that wave.
The other day my son told me I am the best mother ever so I know I am doing something right. I am perfect enough for him.
Telling my story is my pledge to raise awareness of post natal depression and anxiety and remind other parents that they are not alone in this beautiful mess called parenthood but most importantly to speak up, start talking and ask for help if they are struggling.
Yvette Mystakas is the founder of She Is Sacred. Her online platform empowers women though an exchange of raw, real and heartfelt experiences around modern womanhood, motherhood, mental health, marriage and wellbeing.
Yvette’s continued involvement with the Gidget Foundation, plus her shared personal accounts of postnatal depression and pregnancy loss have established She Is Sacred as a significant study of modern motherhood and womanhood.
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