Beautifully Human... Rachel...

I want to thank Rachel, who has chosen to leave off her surname. What power in this message. To share something that happens to so many.

Truly beautiful and so much power in this story.

Tell me a story of life and struggle...

- 7 years ago, with the help of professionals, I saved myself from Post-Partum Depression. I was spiraling downwards fast after the birth of our second daughter, and neither my husband nor my family saw or recognized the signs or they pushed it aside. A few days after the birth of my firstborn, I started to have hallucinations of putting my child in danger. When I would blink my eyes I could see it happening in my head. I mentioned it to my husband and he said that I would never do anything to hurt her and to not worry about it. He shrugged it off to being a parent to a newborn and being exhausted.

I tried to shake it off and kept it to myself. My anxiety got worse and I tried to hide it with a smile, going to work and trying to enjoy the first year of her birth. It's a terrible feeling as a mother to think that those things could even enter your mind.

7 months after the birth of our second child, I started spiraling downwards quickly with thoughts of driving my car off the side of the road, and having panic attacks while teaching. My lowest point when I hit rock bottom was a few days before Halloween in 2014 when giving my daughters a bath. I felt paranoid that someone was watching me and I could see myself hurting my daughters.

Panicked, I pulled both girls out of the tub, pulled the drain plug and I started bawling , rocking myself back and forth against the wall waiting for my husband to come home from work. He seemed shocked when I told him, but he didn't say anything to me and got the kids ready for bed. I knew something wasn't right, but I was scared if I told someone what I was experiencing, my children would be taken away from me. I was also scared because a close family member of mine struggled with psychosis a few years back and I was afraid that is where I was heading. But, I knew I needed help and I couldn't go on with how I was living. At my doctor's office I just cried and cried and couldn't tell her what was going on.In my mind, I kept thinking "How did I get to this place? What was wrong with me? What mother acts like this? " I was ashamed and broken. My doctor referred me to a therapist. My therapist, *Lola*, saved my life. Her office was closed on Saturdays, but she opened her office to see me. She must have sensed that I would never have taken off work to get myself help. She worked with me for two years and helped me realize my life long General Anxiety Disorder, and helped me find a great psychiatrist who after listening to me, knew exactly what was going on with me and began working with me to find the correct meds. When I met my psychiatrist, I was certain that she would lock me up in a mental institute. I was so scared to go into her office. I had only seen mental health offices in movies and it scared me to death. My psychiatrist actually started crying when I begged her not to take my children away from me. She reassured me, and told me that I was not a bad mother, and that she was going to get me help. That there are many mothers struggling like I was and that I would be okay. With the help of medicine and my therapist, *Lola* kicking my butt on a weekly basis for two years , I have been able to change my own thinking patterns and realize that Anxiety and Depression is not much different than any other disease. It is not a character defect like I once thought, but a disease that needs to be treated just like someone with Diabetes would be treated. My mindset has changed so much about mental health in the past 7 years. I think I went through my struggles so that I can help others who are struggling like I was. Mental Health issues are still taboo and people need to share their stories with others to change the stigma. We need to share our stories so people know that there is hope to get better. I am in a much better place than I was 7 years ago. There are days when I am struggling, but I have learned tools to help dig myself out. Being outside in nature, reading a good book, taking a day off of work and going to eat at a restaurant alone, spending time talking with a friend, are some of the ways that help me.

My message today is do not be afraid to reach out ! You are not alone! Find a doctor that will listen, and if they don't listen to you, keep looking until you find someone that does. You are worth it!

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