It all began in the fall of 2008, what started out as the happiest phase of my life suddenly turned into nightmares.
I had just gotten married to my high school sweetheart, he was working in a prominent hospital as a doctor, and I was working in a pet rescue home. I loved my job and though it was hectic, I derived joy from the fact that those helpless animals are rescued and given a chance at life again.
On this particular beautiful morning, I woke up a bit under the weather, thinking I needed rest from my straight days of working without rest, I decided to stay home and rest. By the next day, it became a fever. My husband served breakfast that morning and insisted I went with him to the hospital for a checkup which I reluctantly obliged. I went in for some tests and by the afternoon the results were sent to me. I can never forget the joy I felt when I read the result of the test which confirmed that I was 7 weeks pregnant. I prepared dinner and waited patiently for my husband to return home; right after the meal I shared the news with him, the emotions, the joy and all the feeling of having a baby is one of our most prized memories. Things gradually began to change for us in the following weeks and months, preparing our home for our baby. The pregnancy was normal until the third trimester suddenly I began to experience pains in my waist region; I saw my doctor, did a series of tests, everything seemed normal, but the pains persisted. The pregnancy suddenly was threatened, I was placed on bed rest till my EDD but that didn’t seem to help since I was wheeled into the emergency ward and the baby was removed at 35 weeks. He was so beautiful, the most beautiful thing I had ever seen and he was my son. Though I was very weak, immediately I held him in my arms, strength came from within and I was the happiest woman in the world. My husband stood by my side holding my hands and I could see the love that flooded his eyes as he smiled at us, the most important people in the world to him.
I feel asleep for what seemed to be the longest time in my life and as my eyes gently opened I saw my husband beside me with tears in his eyes; the only thing I could remember was shouting and that was it.
My baby had suffered some complications and was anorexic; but this was not diagnosed until it was too late.
This caused me to go into depression. I became withdrawn from everyone and everything. I would always imagine my baby was crying and needed to be breastfed. Everything made me unhappy; the room we had prepared for him, his clothes and everything we bought in preparation for him.
I became frustrated and blamed myself insisting that if I had not slept, I would have been there for my son.
Four months later, I was diagnosed with postpartum depression (PPD) and that was when my husband insisted that I needed to get help. This had greatly affected our marriage, I had shut my husband out of my life, I felt that he wasn’t deserving of me and I had caused him so much pain. I was totally cut off from my life, my job, family, and friends, my whole life came to a standstill.
My mind began to conceive different thoughts, I contemplated taking my life on several occasion but for my husband who was always there for me.
The love and support from my husband was the light in the dark tunnel of depression I found myself, he understood that I was sick in my mind though it was not physical and needed to be treated.
I found strength in the support group I joined seeing other people with far worse experiences than I had encountered, fighting to get back their lives. During this time, I found a book which became my companion and one line in the book I found helpful was “Protect your mind; it’s not an open field”. All manner of thoughts would cross my mind; how life was not worth living, how I should free my husband from the pains I brought him and these thoughts made me suicidal however the information I got from that book helped me in re-channeling my thoughts to begin to see the beauty of life and living. This was by no means an easy journey but each day I fought with the demons in my mind determined to win the war.
Now it’s been 6 years since I lost my son, life has not been the same, but I discovered an inner strength which I never knew I had.
Overcoming depression is one of my biggest achievements in life, now i spend most of my time sharing my experience with people to help them know that depression can happen to anyone however, you are not alone in the struggle to come out of depression. You are not your illness; joining a support group is helpful and you too can come out of depression just like I did. Having a positive mindset will also help you get better faster instead of dwelling in your lost.
Chris Oyakhilome, D.SC, D.D, A 2016, The Power of Your Mind, Print version.