Alyssa Milano has opened up about miscarriage and the postpartum anxiety that closely followed.
“I have a secret, and I am not alone,” she began. “I am a mother, an actor and an activist—and like over 40 million Americans, I live with a mental illness.”
Her story, written in Time Magazine to support Mental Health Awareness Month, talks about the “overwhelming” feelings of guilt she experienced after being induced for labor 10 days early and then undergoing a c-section against her wishes.
“I felt like I had already disappointed my child,” she wrote. “I felt like I failed as a mother, since I was not able to give birth vaginally or nourish him with the breast milk that had not come in yet. My heart raced. My stomach seized up. I felt like I was dying.”
“Every day, I would drive to work and think about all the ways that Milo could die in the hands of his caretakers. Every night, after working 16-hour days, after I was finally able to hold my child and put him to sleep, my day’s anxiety would culminate into a debilitating anxiety attack.”
“Finally, I hit a wall. One early morning, I went to the emergency room at 2:00 AM, asked for a psychiatrist and got help. I felt as though I had no choice: I asked to be committed; I stayed in a public psychiatric ward for three days.”
“At last, I began to feel as if my pain was recognized, but it wasn’t easy. One of my doctors dismissed my symptoms, and many of my colleagues, even female colleagues, still had trouble understanding that I was hurting at all.”
Alyssa added, “Here’s the thing about mental illnesses: you don’t always look sick, and the answers are not always clear or black-and-white.”
Postnatal depression is a common problem, affecting more than one in every 10 women within a year of giving birth.
Signs can include…
persistent, generalised worry,
development of obsessive or compulsive behaviours,
abrupt mood swings,
feeling constantly tired,
withdrawing from friends,
feeling constantly sad or crying for no reason
having thoughts of death or suicide.
If you or someone you love are suffering with post natal depression or anxiety please reach out and seek help.
PANDA National Helpline Mon to Fri, 10am – 5pm AEDT on 1300 726 306 OR Lifeline 13 11 14.
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