‘Battling’ Depression

Battling depression. I find this phrase interesting. It makes it sound like depression is something you can fight. Like if you just tried harder to be happy, to appreciate what you’ve got, that you’d get better. (Subtext: you weak, whiney, ungrateful person).

That’s bullshit.

I used to think that, too. I admit it. I understood exactly nothing about post-natal depression before I had it and, if I was that kind of person, I might believe my suffering from it was well-deserved. A lesson in not judging others. Either way, I learnt that lesson.

Now I believe that post-natal depression is something you can’t ‘get over’ – it’s something you have to get through. I read countless articles about PND when I had it, all brimming with advice about breastfeeding, eating healthy food, spending time outside and doing exercise. Guess what? I had been doing all those things and I still got sick. I kept doing all those things and it didn’t make me better. I just had to wait it out.

I could have taken medication, I know, but I was afraid. I thought it would make me completely numb. I thought feeling angry and miserable was preferable to feeling nothing at all. Maybe I was wrong in that, maybe I made the journey harder for myself. But when my depression began to lift, I knew it was really me and not some pills. I was getting better.