Cathy shares how she coped with the symptoms of postpartum depression.
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Cathy: Hi, my name is Cathy, and I am a survivor of postpartum depression. My postpartum depression didn't come on immediately. I had a wonderful pregnancy. I had a beautiful 2-year-old daughter and was married to my husband, and life was great. Soon after I had my son, things started to feel a little different for me. I was beginning to feel a little bit weepy and tired, overwhelmed, almost felt like I was in the middle of a juggling act. And I tried very hard to do my best because I am a perfectionist by nature, type A, try to get everything done just right. And I was trying to be very present and real and there for my 2-year-old daughter, and I was trying to give that 100% of myself to my son, my newborn son as well. I felt as if I was being pulled in two different directions and I couldn't quite give my all to either child, and I felt a tremendous guilt for that. My son also never liked to sleep through the night. He never liked to take a bottle. So I was up with him every single night, and at first I was used to it. I knew that new mothers had to do this, and it was no big deal for me to get up. But after several months of doing this, day in, every single night, several times a night, it began to wear on me, and I didn't realize that it was wearing on me. I was functioning, I was getting out of bed, I was doing everything I was supposed to do. I had always thought that postpartum depression was someone who was in bed all day long with the curtains drawn and just crying and crying, and maybe perhaps for some people that's true, but for me that's not what happened, and so I thought, that can't be. I don't have depression because that's what depression is in my eyes, what I thought that's what it was. So I thought there was something wrong with me. I thought that I just couldn't cut it as a mother that I was just the most horrible mom out there because I couldn't care for my children even though I was caring for them. But I just wasn't caring for them to the standards that I had envisioned myself to be doing: having a sparkling clean house, and hot meals on the table, and playing and running with my kids, and just being there. I was just very, very tired, and after a while, I just started to kind of go into a fog. I wasn't happy anymore. I wasn't excited about things. I just kind of started going through life just barely just trying to get through the day. My family members will say that I lost the sparkle that was in my eyes, the excitement for things. It was as if I was hollow. If you could look inside of me, I was hollow. There was this emptiness there. I felt lonely. I felt sad. I felt hopeless. I felt like I couldn't keep doing this anymore, that if this is what life was like with two children, then I was a complete failure because I was not enjoying myself and I was not doing it right, according to myself.
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