Find Something That Works For You – Ariel’s Story – Mental Health Matters
Hi all, and welcome back to my blog. Today is day 15 of my mental health awareness month. If you missed yesterdays blog, get that here. Today I am joined by Ariel from Mamaofkings Ariel is talking to me about her battle with depression throughout her life, and postnatal depression after having her third baby. Please show your support, like, comment, and share this post.
I am a stay-at-home mom to three children ages 4, 2, and 1. I have been out of work for over a year now due to health conditions that surfaced during my last pregnancy and have ultimately made the decision to stay home permanently to home-school our children.
What type of metal health condition did you, or do you have?
I started experiencing bouts of depression in the 9th grade when a close friend of mine attempted to rape me. I began stress eating and wearing baggy clothing because he told me that it was my fault for “looking so good”. So naturally, I began to feel guilty and wanted to hide. I accomplished that through my weight gain and wardrobe change. My best friend at the time, now husband, was the only friend who knew everything that was going on with me, and truly, if it hadn’t been for his support during that time I wouldn’t have made it. A few years later, during my senior year, my mom remarried and transferred me to the rival high school which literally ruined my academic career.
I then went on to suffer from Post partum depression, and anxiety.
I’m sorry that you had to go through that, Nobody should ever be at risk of rape because they “looked good.” I am glad you were able to find support in your now Husband.
What Struggles do you/did you face?
I had deep seated feelings of guilt and insignificance. I never felt good enough in any situation. I was one of the top of my class, the most accomplished musician in the band, very skilled in theater, was the manager of the dance team, and participated in basically any extracurricular that i could squeeze into whether it was at school or church. I felt that if i stayed busy, I wouldn’t have to face my demons. When my mom transferred me to a different school, however, I wasn’t able to participate in much, so i had all the time in the world to think of all the reasons that I hated myself. I became suicidal, and attempted suicide quite a few times.
When planning to start a family, did you have any worries, if so what were they?
I was extremely worried that it could be passed down to my children genetically. I didn’t want anyone to feel the way that I was feeling, ESPECIALLY my children. I also worried that one day it would all become to much and I would leave behind a motherless child(ren).
How did your mental health condition affect you during pregnancy?
During my first pregnancy, it actually didn’t affect me much. There was only one night during my pregnancy that I can remember feeling truly depressed. At the time I was living alone, and I believe that was a huge trigger for me.
During my second pregnancy it was a little more prevalent. I remember getting mad at my husband (literally about nothing of importance), so I got a bag and walked out into the pouring rain. I had no idea where I was going or what the end goal was, but I just had to go. I ended up walking 4 miles, at 8 months pregnant, with a giant bag full of clothes, in the pouring rain until a friend saw me and picked me up.
My third pregnancy was rough physically, and I think that had a big impact on my mental health as well. I cried ALL the time and contemplated suicide a few times. Ultimately, I couldn’t leave my children or risk the life of my unborn baby.
When did you first realise that you had a postnatal mental health condition, what were your first symptoms?
I realized it in the hospital at one day post-partum with my third. I was constantly anxious about everything. I probably called the nurses into my room every 15 minutes because I “didn’t know what to do”. When I gave birth to my older two, I was never nervous and hardly ever wanted the nurses in my room. After birth, hormones are pretty crazy, but I found myself crying literally all the time.
What was your biggest worry about having a mental health condition?
Most days I could cope with my anxiety and depression in a number of natural ways. But I was always worried that one day it would end up being too much to handle and I would snap.
Did you receive any help? If so, what was it?
No, I was TERRIFIED to reach out. I spoke to a few friends that I knew had dealt with it in the past, and they all encouraged me to talk to my doctor. However, I had this fear that if I told my doctor they would take my kids from me.
This is a massive fear for most Mothers including myself who had PND. I feel there needs to be so much more support to parents suffering from PND, for them not to worry about this being the outcome.
Has your mental health improved since?
I am now just a little over one year post partum with my youngest. I have learned better ways to cope, and have also learned the importance of “me-time”.
What do you do personally, to help your own mental health?
I start everyday with worship music to set the tone for the day. When I start to feel anxious I will either go and pray or play with the kids. If my temper starts to get out of control I will go to my bedroom for a few minutes to breathe and sometimes just jot down my feelings. I have affirmation statements all throughout my home that I can read all throughout the day when passing from room to room. When I started blogging a little over a month ago, I noticed that I was a lot less stressed, so I have started implementing a mandatory blog time at least every other day and it has helped tremendously.
Do you feel there is enough support out there, for parents with a mental health condition?
Honestly, I am not very sure. My biggest support during this process has been women online that have experienced the same issues and January Harshe, owner of Birth Without Fear (birthwithoutfear.blog) who is constantly reassuring women through her Instagram feed and live videos! I didn’t look too much into professional help because my fear of losing my children was so great.
A Massive shout out to the online community, it’s such a great support for a lot of people suffering from mental health conditions. It’s literally been a life saver for some.
What advice would you give to parents suffering from a postnatal mental health condition?
Find something that works for you! Try EVERYTHING until you find something that gives you some relief. Your babies deserve the very best you that there is, and we can’t let our thoughts get in the way.
Thank you so much for taking the time to complete these questions, and helping me spread awareness. If you would like to follow Ariel’s journey, the link to her blog is below. Tomorrow’s interview is with Gail who is talking to me about her battle with PD. Post goes live at 9am.
Much love 💕
Blog – Mamaofkings