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Rachelle Rowlings Personal Essay on Postnatal Depression

Rachelle Rowlings Pens a Raw and Honest Essay on Postnatal Depression

Mental health and wellbeing is very close to our hearts, and while we aim to have an always-on approach to covering all aspects of mental health, we have chosen to shine an extra bright light on #WorldMentalHealth this year.

We bring you The Big Burn Out — a content series made up of honest personal essays, expert advice and practical recommendations.

Our first essay comes from Rachelle Rowlings and is a piercing account of her experience with postnatal depression.

It's 3 a.m.
It's dark & cold.
It feels like every person in the world is asleep but you.
You're alone with the child you longed for but you don't feel love or happiness.
You don't feel warmth & gratitude!
You only feel emptiness and fear.
You see your reflection in the window & no longer know the woman looking back at you!
She's no longer a girl, not yet a Mother, somewhere in a vacuous limbo!
She's an empty vessel.
It's cold, it's isolating & you're numb!
It's 2 p.m.
The days have rolled into one.
Your body is bruised & battered.
It's been to war but there's no one to help.
The baby won't stop crying.
It feels like your head is being dragged across corrugated iron!
There's no night or day, it's just a conveyor belt of sleeplessness & anxiety!
You don't want to answer calls or reply to messages but you don't know what to say!
You can't scream for help.
You can't beg for guidance or sympathy!
You can't tell people that you resent your child or the life that you now lead!
You're embarrassed!
You're ashamed!
You don't need that judgement because you already hate yourself enough.
Your mind is racing with unthinkable thoughts & you're disgusted by them!
But you're so fragile & so disgustingly tired that you're sure you're about to plunge into the depths of madness!
The baby won't sleep.
Won't eat.
Won't settle.
You're now in a darkness so thick you're completely blind. And all that's encapsulating you is sadness.
No one understands!
No one understands!!!

The above was me for many months.
I promised myself I wouldn't let it happen again, but it did!
And it was the toughest of fights to full myself from the depths of despair to remember that with every thunderstorm comes a rainbow.
We are fragile, we are breakable, we are human.
But most importantly we are never alone.
Ask for help - use your shaky, teary voice!
Scream for help.
Those who love you, those who care & sometimes even complete strangers will pick you up & carry you until you can walk on your own again.
And you will. You'll run! And you'll carry those scars for the rest of your life. Some external & some internal! But they're your constant reminder how important living is!
How much that child needs you!
How quickly those lonely days go by!
And how much there is to live for!
Because life can be heaven & it can be hell & every moment of heaven is worth every second of hell.

You're so very strong.
Never forget that!

If you aren't feeling great and you need to talk to someone, remember: you are not alone. There are people just on the other side of the phone waiting to speak to you — just call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or BeyondBlue on 1300 22 4636.

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