Stephanie Witt wrote -
To those of you that know me well, know that I am very open about my struggles with postpartum anxiety. It is a personal passion of mine, to not only raise awareness of postpartum mental illness, but to also make it a comfortable topic that women are not afraid to talk about. I consider myself to be honest and open, to a fault at times, but even I was embarrassed about the level of my anxiety and I was so afraid that my family and friends would think I was "crazy or weak" if they really knew how much I was truly struggling. I knew I needed professional help when I wished my infant daughter would not wake up from sleeping. Even typing this still shakes me to my core, that I would wish that upon someone I love more than anything in the world. I confided in my husband, friends, and family members; it was determined by all that talking to my OBGYN was imperative. I went in to my doctors office at my worst and opened up about my sleepless nights (even when my kids were sleeping, I was not because I felt that my skin was crawling with anticipation of when I was going to be woken up by a crying baby), my inability to eat and or keep anything down, my panic attacks, and my dark thoughts of wishing my baby would just not wake up again. It was then that I realized that there is no where near enough emotional support for women in my position. My doctor prescribed me medications and explained that it would take some time for them to work, but when they do and when I start to sleep I will feel better. I asked about support groups or local therapists that I could reach out to and my doctor had nothing other than a women's name who used to run groups years ago. I left the office crying of fear due to the fact that the one medication I was prescribed for immediate relief was extremely addictive. I didn't want to use it and often my husband or Psychologist friend would tell me that I must use it!!! I am fortunate enough to have a family and support system strong enough to have gotten me through my darkest days. They allowed me to open up to them without them judging me. Several women don't have this support system and that combined with the limited resources for these women saddens me and empowers me to do what I can to support this amazing cause. I know I didn't elaborate in too much detail about my personal dark days, but if anyone really wants to know or needs to talk about their dark days my home is always open, I will make myself available for coffee or a walk or anything else that you need. You have a friend in me! Climb Out of the Darkness® is the world’s largest event raising awareness of maternal mental illnesses like postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety & OCD, postpartum PTSD, postpartum psychosis, bipolar/peripartum onset, and pregnancy depression and anxiety. Climb Out of the Darkness® is held on or near the longest day of the year annually to help shine the most light on perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. The event features mothers and others across the globe joining together to climb mountains and hike trails to represent their symbolic rise out of the darkness of maternal mental illness and into the light of hope and recovery. We can’t wait for Climb Out of the Darkness 2017, to be held on June 24th. Mark your calendars! Help us shine the light of hope with our words and our advocacy efforts so that our fellow mothers will receive better information and better treatment, and their new families will get off to the healthy and strong start they deserve. If you have questions or would like to lead or join a Climb or become a Climb sponsor, email us at email@example.com.