Health

This is Postpartum Depression: Mum’s Poignant Photo Showcases a Side No One Sees

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“This is me, at the peak of my postpartum depression.”

Tori Block has bravely gone where so many mums have been before – to hell and back, while breastfeeding an infant, keeping a house together and carrying a mental load that is more crushing than any physical pain imaginable.

Many mums experience postpartum depression. Many do it behind closed doors. Many are unsure if they even have it. All they know is there feel angry, frustrated, sad, resentful, or a combination of all these and more.

In one photo, Tori captures this mind-altering pain that is postpartum depression. She shares the image and accompanying words with Love What Matters, and we had to share it with our readers too.

This is postpartum depression.

This is postpartum depression
Source: Tori Block, Love What Matters

If you have ever experienced postpartum depression, these words will resonate with you and Tori’s raw image may feel like it could have been taken of you.

‘I had never known a consuming, mind-altering emotion such as this’

As Tori explains, she asked her daughter to take this picture of her – this picture at the peak of postpartum depression.

“Looking back at this photo I remember perfectly the pain I felt, the dread of waking up every day, the physical pain that engulfed me from thoughts in my brain. I had never known a consuming, mind-altering emotion such as this that flooded every fiber of my being, making its way through my veins like a plague.

This is what postpartum depression looks like, or at least what it did for me. I didn’t want to leave this life, but it seemed like the only way that would rid me of the pain I was in. I didn’t ask for it, it wasn’t welcome.”

Like many mums, Tori wasn’t aware she had postpartum depression. It wasn’t until her sister suggested she might be experiencing it that she realised she was. And then, it just got worse.

“Once I realized I was very much depressed and in a dark place, I started having suicidal thoughts. 

I became hyperaware of how sad, angry, alone, and unhappy I was feeling. I thought nobody could feel what I was feeling. Everyone I knew who had kids seemed to be going through motherhood with ease.

I had this newfound, unreal, unexplainable love for this little baby, yet I was simultaneously severely depressed. I didn’t understand it.

I alienated myself from my family, husband, and friends. I wanted THEM to reach out to me, and was SO upset when they didn’t in the way I wanted them to. Who thinks like that? I thought surely I must have gone mad.” 

This is postpartum depression.
Source: Tori Block, Love What Matters

For Tori, postpartum depression left her feeling suicidal. It was when she started to Google “ways to kill myself” that she realised she needed to reach out for help.

“I straight up told my family that I wanted to die, I wanted to end my life. I was in so much pain, nothing seemed to help it

I didn’t want to take medication, because I was exclusively breastfeeding and in my mind that meant I was weak. Oh, how wrong I was! My family arranged therapy sessions and psychiatrist appointments for me. Both of which saved my life.

Bodhi and PPD weren’t planned, but reaching out for help when I needed it is how I got through, how I continue to get through motherhood. Both were the biggest blessings of my life, I’m stronger for it, and I have a deeper understanding of who I am because of it.”

Be aware, not ashamed

If we could give one piece of advice to new mums, it would be to be aware of postpartum depression and not brush off the symptoms.

We’ve come a long way in raising awareness for this condition and, thanks to mums like Tori, it’s becoming more acceptable to talk about and ask for help.

Postnatal depression is common, affecting about 1 in 5 Australian mums and 1 in 10 dads in the first year after they have a baby. But just because it’s common, doesn’t mean it’s something you just have to ‘put up with’.

Getting help for postpartum depression

There are so many excellent resources available now, plus options for help including therapy, medication and more. PANDA has a mental health checklist that can assess your mental health and well-being online.

There are several 24/7 helplines too including:

  • PANDA (Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia) — 1300 726 306
  • Gidget Foundation — online and telehealth support — 1300 851 758
  • Beyond Blue — 1300 22 4636

Many new mums will need to visit their GP to discuss their symptoms. You may be given a questionnaire known as the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale to assess your situation. You may also be given. mental health care plan which reduces the costs and allows you to get the help you need.

Medicare rebates can subsidise treatment provided by specialist practitioners (psychiatrists, paediatricians), general practitioners, as well as allied health workers (namely psychologists, social workers, occupational therapists and mental health nurses).

There are also online databases that you can use to find Perinatal Mental Health Professionals.COPE has an excellent one as does the Australian Psychological Society

What to read next

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Avatar of Jenna Galley

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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