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Living with depression under normal circumstances is essentially accepting you have a baseline of negativity and toxic thinking that you have to overcome in order to approach daily life in a “normal” way. Once I understood the disorder, and its impact on me, I was able to come to terms with this as a condition for interacting with the outside world. Most of the time, I’m okay with it. Sometimes I get frustrated and just want to shut off this extra process and react in real time, normally, and not have to filter everything through these extra safeguarding measures. But, in doing so, begins a pattern of destructive thoughts and behaviors that are difficult to recover from. It’s best to keep an even keel and not stray too far from the path.

Under normal circumstances, I’d be on medication to assist me, but being in a “child-bearing” mode, I’ve been off medication since we decided we wanted to start a family. The complication with that is hormonal factors from being pregnant, plus the lack of sleep and stress of raising my son are triggers for a lot of my issues. The irony of it is that I’ve never needed medications more in my life than I have now, and I’ve never been less “allowed” to take them. Sure, there are some people who do, and that’s fine. But to go it unmedicated, so to speak, is my choice.

Still, the worried looks from health care providers when I turn in another depression screening questionnaire that’s answered honestly are annoying. Yes, I know the score is high. I’m a clinically depressed pregnant person. No, I don’t have thoughts of suicide or harming others. No, I’m not in crisis. Yes, it is very difficult for me to do the things I used to enjoy doing. Yes, I’m sleeping like crap. Yes, these things impact my life in a severe way. Yes, I’m aware that you’re obligated to ask. And yes, I’ve got a plan in place to manage all this stuff.

I do have a bottle of my meds in my hospital bag, so that once I deliver, I’m going to get back on the wagon. And my caregivers were kind enough to alert the Women’s Emotional Wellness department to have the social worker come check on me, which I’m grateful for. Postpartum depression adds another layer of difficulty, and it’s good to use the resources available to me.