Parents

The Haunting Realities Of Postpartum Depression, Illustrated

"It felt a lot like drowning."
08/17/2015 12:27pm ET | Updated August 18, 2015

"It felt like hopelessness, resentment and anger," wrote mom Michaela Ludwig of her postpartum depression. "I felt like I wasn't going to be a good enough mother and as much as I love my son, I felt like he would be better off without me."

The medical definition of PPD says the diagnosis is a long-lasting form of depression with symptoms "more severe" than common "postpartum baby blues." Signs of PPD can vary from mild to severe.

Indeed, when we asked moms of the HuffPost Parents Facebook community to describe their experiences with PPD, some used words like "apathetic" and "numb" while others expressed intense anger.

One echoed theme among the moms who commented was a feeling of guilt. A 2014 BabyCenter poll revealed that a huge percent of moms don't seek treatment for PPD, and experts speculated that the stigma surrounding the diagnosis could discourage new mothers from admitting something is wrong.

"I still felt like I was met with a lot of judgement when I admitted I needed help," Ludwig wrote.

Mom Thais Hayum articulated a common thread when she said, "The feelings ranged from extreme sadness, uncontrollable crying to resentment and anger. And all of those made me feel constantly guilty, since, in theory, I had everything I needed to be OK."

Below are illustrations of eight moms' experiences with PPD. Each one different, each one worth talking about.

"It felt like being in an empty box, alone with my thoughts of resentment, regret and loneliness. I look back on those days and can't remember much as I wish I could because I was so consumed with my dark emotions."

Pallavi Das

"Everything would set me off, the smallest, stupidest things. I was like a walking time bomb that kept exploding and exploding. I terrified even myself."

Pallavi Das

"It feels like the scariest roller coaster ride in the world, complete with thousand-foot drops. All of these horrible feelings while you try to put on a good show for those around you."

Pallavi Das

"Postpartum depression was this huge pendulum. It swung from sheer exhaustion and numbness, to being fine, to this deep rage."

Pallavi Das

"It was just like an out-of-body experience. I could see myself doing things, but it didn't feel like me. I just felt like I was in a big dark black hole, trying to claw my way out."

Pallavi Das

"It felt a lot like drowning."

Pallavi Das

"I found myself feeling like I was under the weight of bricks everyday and everyday they were piled higher and higher. It was hard to do anything but the bare minimum of what was required."

Pallavi Das

"It was like I wanted to crawl out of my own skin."

Pallavi Das

Illustrations by Pallavi Das.