Below is a letter we received detailing the woman’s journey through depression:
My childhood was a very happy one. I have loving parents, many brothers, and a sister who is very close to me. I excelled in school and at home. I gave my parents a lot of nachas and I was every teachers dream. I had friends. I had virtually no medical issues at all. After graduating, I b”h got a job and my employees were happy with me. I really enjoyed my work. I met my future husband and got engaged! I was very happy throughout my engagement.
The day after my wedding, I awoke with a not so pleasant mood. It continued throughout sheva brachos. I guess I had a pretty rough adjustment. I felt horrible about myself and extremely inadequate. I cried a lot and had a hard time sleeping. At times, I was so miserable that I just wanted the earth to swallow me up- I told my husband that I will never be able to be a good mother and that I don’t want any kids. I knew I shouldn’t be thinking or saying those things, but I couldn’t help it.
For a few days here and there, I was as if the sun shone brightly through the thick clouds, and I had excellent moods. I had difficulty sleeping at those times too. I was just too excited about everything. Life was too good; who could sleep?
But some days, I felt horrible. I thought that my husband wouldn’t want me anymore. Who would want a wife that mopes all day? Who wants a wife that says she wishes she could die? I was not the same happy put together girl that he went out with. I asked my husband many times for reassurance that he would never leave me. He tried very hard. He stayed home from yeshiva, he bought me presents. But I only got worse. One day I saw a knife and it entered my mind to use it the wrong way. I knew that I would never do it- even in my wildest dreams, but the though scared me. I told my husband that I needed help. We didn’t know who to call and my husband wasn’t too concerned. After that, things started clearing up a bit and settling down. I closed that chapter of my life and turned the page. I never wanted to go back there.
And then a few months after my wedding, I found out I was expecting. I was really really excited. I could hardly hold in my smile throughout the day. We told our parents and they were happy for us. The next nine months passed by pretty much uneventfully.
And then the day came! My yummy baby was born! It was such a special time for me. After recuperating by my mother, I went home. I remember thinking hat b”h, I had no bad moods since the baby. Not even the baby blues my Lamaze teacher taught about.
A few months after my baby was born, I was having difficulty sleeping. Sometimes, I would finally fall asleep, only to wake up half hour later. I was also noticing mood swings. One week of an especially good mood, and one week of the opposite. The good moods were too good and the bad moods were too bad. During the good weeks, I was hyper. I talked fast, I forgot things, and I had so much energy. I remember once putting on a slinky skirt, turning on the music and just dancing. I needed to move and lie was amazing. I remember feeling that I can clean my entire house for Pesach in one day. I felt like I really should do that, because who knows when the bad mood will come?
During the bad moods, I felt so bad about myself. I wondered why I couldn’t control my moods. Why can everyone else manage to be normal? I was very quiet. I had a hard time deciding things. It took a long time to go shopping. I didn’t enjoy like I used to. I would see people smiling and would ask myself “Why are they so happy?” and during the hyper mood, I would wonder why not everyone was grinning.
I didn’t know which one was worse.
When the lack of sleep starting getting to me I called my doctor. To make a long story short, I got connected with Yad Rachel and I was told that I was going through a postpartum issue and that I should be put on a low dose of medication. At that point, It got worse for another couple of weeks. I only had bad days. I kept on telling myself I don’t have PPD and I caused. I was obsessing over it. They introduced me to a mentor who I cried to endlessly- complaining how life is torture.
I remember telling my husband one night, in the wee hours of the morning “I want to die, I want to die” When I passed by a cemetery, id wish I could be there already. When I was in the car, I wished the car would crash and that it would be the end of me. I loved going to bed at night (my sleeping patterns normalized with a relaxer). I would count down the hours until I can finally get into pajamas. I wanted to go to sleep and not wake up. Sometimes I’d cry and cry. I hated the fact that my precious, innocent baby heard my cries. I started doing exercise. I was told it would help. A picture that stands in my mind is when I was jumping rope while crying bitterly. I couldn’t pull myself together. I felt like I had such bad luck, when in reality there was no reason whatsoever to ink that way. I had a great husband, a healthy baby, and a wonderful well-paying job. At times, I felt very tense as if 100 rubber bands were pulled tight in my chest.
At times, I felt inadequate.
At times, I felt overwhelmed.
At times, I felt despair- as if trudging along in 10 feet of snow with no end in sight. Here is an excerpt from a journal that I kept:
“It is morning. I am still in bed. Right now, I feel that my fate is o live a life o suffering… when will the good days come back? Will they ever? I want it o be night time”
Then, I had 3 good days in a row, then 5!
When I found out that I would have to be on birth control, I cried for hours and hours. It was so sad. When I finally accepted the fact that I do have PPD, and I did not make it up, the medicine kicked in and I started only having good days. At first, I wasn’t sure I was better. I was still traumatized by he previous couple of weeks. But the good days were not running away! I was holding my breath and bracing myself for the bad mood to come back, but, lo and behold, it didn’t! It felt so good to feel good.
The first day I felt like myself again, I set the supper table with real dishes and I derived so much pleasure from it. I actually enjoyed reading a magazine! It took a few weeks till I came to terms with birth control. At that point, I accepted it.
From my journal:
“Right now, everything is great, it is amazing that I am feeling so different tan last night. I feel driven. I feel relaxed. I feel calm. I cleaned he house and it looks really nice”.
“Things are great, they couldn’t be better”
Believe it or not, it is now a few months of only good days. I am very religious about taking a twenty minute walk daily as per the therapist’s recommendation. Iy”h I’ll be starting to o of the medicine soon.
I want to thank Yad Rachel for all that they’ve one for me. I don’t know where I would be today if not for them!