Postpartum depression, and perhaps depression in general, feels like a black box.
In the box are two doors. The door behind you is closed, locked with a very faint light shining through. Your past self lives behind that door. The door in front of you is closed, locked with no indication of what lies in front of it. The box has no windows and is pitch black.
You know there was some light, some joy behind this past door. Intellectually you know this. But your memory of happier times – how to feel happiness, contentedness and joy – is locked behind that door. You try to grasp at that door, maybe just to wedge it open just a tad, but it’s firmly locked.
Postpartum depression – particularly for a mother to her first/only child – is additionally challenging in that your life is completely different. You knew your life would be different, but you just didn’t know how. Postpartum depression becomes your new reality and having lived no other parallel life – a happy life while having a child – you assume that this is what your life will be like forever.
And so the door in front of you is locked, just as securely. Yet there’s no light shining through the cracks. You assume your sentence is 18 years…or maybe life. 18 long, hard, dark years until your new life of “mother” shifts and you can enjoy life again as you once knew it.