When I think back to my postpartum experience, especially the part (which was practically the whole) related to depression and anxiety, I can easily think of one word to sum it up. Sure, it was such a complicated, deep, dark hole. Yet, there is one particular word that for me defines it. In a way that were this word removed from my vocabulary or the English language, I would be helpless to replace it with anything that comes close to depicting the depth and breadth of the Hell that is severe PPD...
That was the worst part. For many of us who have endured physical or emotional pain before, the present, our current reality, even in the midst of the darkest days of life, is not the concern. No, the pain itself is somehow temporarily manageable, though deeply uncomfortable. Rather, the thought, the mere idea, that the pain might not ever end is unfathomable. But, since PPD creates that kind of inexplicably horrifying terror, the mind is convinced that the Hell will not cease. That this terrible pain and anxiety will continue for eternity (or at least your lifetime). And that untruth is as deeply intertwined in the PPD experience as the guilt that accompanies it.
Hope. The one word that changes everything. The one gift that can be offered time and time again, by person after person, and still repeatedly disbelieved by its desperate and devastated recipient. Yet, its power is endless. In the midst of tragedy, loss, pain, and even desperation, hope is the only saving grace. So let's use it wisely...which means using it broadly...again and again, without ceasing, until every woman accepts and knows that she will get better.