Mental Health

Victim or Survivor?

I am the 1 in 10, I am the mother who has suffered with Postnatal Depression and anxiety.

For many years Postnatal Depression became a permanent guest in our house, one who was not willing to leave and made it self at home, taking over our whole lives.

Although I wanted this illness to leave and never come back I didn’t have the strength to make it leave, and although its presence was uncomfortable and miserable it became my ‘best friend.’

I suffered in silence for years until I no longer had it in me to keep it hidden and finally got the help I needed to get myself better.

When I was going through the illness and was at my lowest point I never actually felt like a victim, I didn’t actually think that I was going through anything that big or of important. I knew I didn’t like what I was feeling and that I wasn’t myself but the illness wouldn’t let me see what I was going through was tearing me apart.

Maybe because I didn’t want to feel like a victim, I was ashamed of what was happening to me, I never wanted to be seen as being weak or people taking pity on me.

When you’re in the middle of having Postnatal Depression and you’re already feeling rubbish about yourself and everything in your life seems to be falling apart the last thing you want is another word added to the already huge list of words you label yourself with everyday.

It took me a long time to realise that having Postnatal Depression doesn’t make you weak, in fact if anything I have learnt that it takes a huge amount of courage and strength to be able to not only deal with the illness on a daily basis but to also admit to yourself and others that you’re not well and to be able to finally tell Postnatal Depression that it has outdone its welcome!

In the dictionary the word Victim is defined as ‘A person who is tricked or duped. A person who has come to feel helpless and passive in the face of misfortune or ill-treatment’ I believe this describes well what I went through, I was tricked into believing that I wasn’t good enough, that I was a bad mother, that no one loved me and that I was alone. I felt helpless in what was happening to me,  I lost all control and handed my life over to Postnatal Depression and let it make all the decisions for me even though it was doing nothing but harm to me and my family.

So yes I do believe that I was a victim of Postnatal Depression, but by no means do I now feel ashamed to say that, being a victim of something doesn’t define who you are, you are not the illness.

It wasn’t until many years down the line that I sat down and truly took in what exactly had happened to me and how much it had affected me.

I realise that I went through a huge ordeal and should really give myself the credit that I deserved for overcoming it.

I can now stand tall and say that I am a survivor! I have overcome a mental health illness and am here today and able to share my story with you in hope that by doing this you can take some comfort in knowing that even if you do feel like a victim and feel that Postnatal Depression has taken everything away from you, don’t ever forget that you will get better and that you too will become a survivor!

Victim or survivor? I am proud to say that I am both!

I have been a victim of Postnatal Depression and I am now a survivor of Postnatal Depression!

Elisabeth x

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2 Comments

  1. Been there. I so identify

    1. Thank you for reading. 😊 x

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