The Shadow in the Night

I can’t sleep, the nightmare haunts me. I wake with my heart pounding unable to shake the feeling of being trapped. Nobody talks about these things. The nightmares, the sleepless nights long after the baby starts sleeping through the night.

I struggle to find peace after these nights. I can’t seem to anchor myself into the present. The things that happened when I was at rock bottom seem to try and bring me back down. I wish I had an easy solution for once.

Nothing seems easy right now. Day to day is still really hard. I’m finally breaking free of my postpartum mood disorder now two years later but that doesn’t automatically make me better, man I wish it did! Every step of this journey has taken more strength than I ever thought was possible. My tolerance for hard things seems to be fleeting.

I’m usually someone who tries to be positive. It’s been hard to feel like that part of me was lost through this journey. Lately I’ve seen it return and that has given me hope that I’m finding the new me. This morning though, I feel discouraged. Sleep was nonexistent last night and the few hours I had left me far from rested. I know from my regular struggle with this that today will be hard to shake the nights experience and my PTSD tonight will be worse fearing what the night will hold.

How do I ever break free from these chains? I get told regularly I’m doing everything right.. even when I was hospitalized. All I can think is if I’m doing everything right why am I here? Why am I still struggling? How did I wind up crying alone in a hospital bed seeing the bars out my window, aching to be held by my husband?

Life doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense now days. At this point I think I can say I’m through the worst of postpartum mental illness and we can only go up from here. We are over a month now of being out of the physically painful depression and anxiety. I wonder if someone handed me a cure today if I’d take it? My immediate response is yes! Then I think about this journey, I would never choose it, I’d never wish it on anyone but now I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel I don’t know if I’d change it. Sure I’d love to have a different experience with my last baby. I wish I could have fallen in love with him as I should have and bonded with him from the beginning. If I had though I wouldn’t be here. You wouldn’t find yourself reading this. How many women would experience the pain of postpartum mental illness in any degree and still feel like they are suffering alone? That thought makes my heart ache for them. I know how painful it is. I hope that with every step of this journey I share that I can reach a mama who is suffering and that she will know she is not alone. Hopefully she will be able to find hope through my survival story.

So for today, I’ll keep pushing on. I’ll try to be more compassionate and patient with myself. Focus on my self care with a little more intent. Take a minute to remind myself the prison I was once in I no longer am. Do something to show myself I am a survivor. Then learn to believe it.

2 thoughts on “The Shadow in the Night

  1. So well written!
    I think the way to break free from the chains is to change the meaning of them entirely – exactly what you’re hinting at in your last paragraph. That’s what I’m working to do with recovery from anorexia: find meaning, make something good come from it (I’m writing a book on early recovery). Have you read “Mans Search for Meaning?” This is exactly what he talks about.


    • I haven’t. I look it up. I call it re-authoring your story. It’s finding meaning in it. It’s why I’m doing this. Why I speak at conferences when asked to. It’s why I’m going back to school. It’s completely redirected my life and even though it was a very dark experience it’s changing my life in the long run for the better.


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