Ever since I had my daughter something with me has been off. I dealt with a few weeks of baby blues, and I started to feel better. So I chalked it all up to my hormones regulating after giving birth. When things didn't return back to normal, I simply thought this must be my new normal. As a new mom, I didn't know what to expect after having a baby. What feelings were normal? Should I be worried constantly about my child so much so that I can't even leave her? Is it normal to worry constantly about nothing and everything? I muddled through as best as I could. I never let on to the fact that I was struggling. No one asked me how I was doing, so I figured I was hiding it well.
I walked around in a haze for about a year until I did some internet "research" and diagnosed myself with postpartum anxiety. I developed some coping strategies for myself and was functioning better than I had in a while. I got off Facebook and limited my time on other social media platforms. I spent more time on my hobbies. My mood seemed to be balancing itself out, so I thought I things were getting better. At times, I considered going to talk to someone, but the things I was doing were working so I thought I could do the job myself. Then, I got pregnant again. I focused all my energy on my pregnancy and my toddler. After I had my son I felt more normal than I had in a while. We moved back from NYC to GA to be closer to our families. I was going out by myself more, I had more support. I was finally back to "normal." But what is normal?
There's a fear and stigma sometimes with people of color about seeking help from an outside source. I was taught from a young age to keep things within the family. When things were not going well, prayer was the answer. I'm a firm believer in prayer, but prayer much like "faith without works is dead." I felt like asking for help was a sign of weakness. I mean what would talking do? I had friends who I could vent too, but that was that enough? Sometimes that is exactly what you need, but sometimes you need an unbiased opinion. And yet still, I waited even after my coping strategies started to stop working, and new issues would arise.
Finally, I did. I took the plunge and called someone. As I sat in her office I was actually excited to be there. Excited to release and get some real help. The first session was just me talking, more like rambling on about everything. I was sad when the 50 mins were over. I felt like I had truly taken the first step to my recovery.