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Rising From Post Partum Depression by Evi Figgat

Rising From Post Partum Depression by Evi Figgat

Evi Figgat is a Utah County mother, teacher, and creator of the organization Rise from Post Partum Depression. For mental health awareness week, Evi shares her battle with post partum depression and psychosis to continue this conversation which affects so many mothers.

“Why can’t I shut my brain off? Why can’t I sleep when I have the chance?”

My son was born in March of 2015. That August, I was diagnosed with both post partum depression (PPD) and post partum psychosis (PPP). I’ve always had a tinge of anxiety, but never enough to seek therapy. It wasn’t until I had my son that I started losing sleep. It began five weeks after giving birth and slowly plagued my life in the months to follow.

Like many new moms, I thought, “This is sleep deprivation; it’s normal.” What wasn’t normal was that, even when I had the chance to sleep, I was wide awake stewing over things that could go wrong and perceiving ordinary experiences as irrational dangers. No one could reason with me. I’ve always considered myself a pretty rational person, but I found myself having panic attacks and anxiety that kept me up at night.

After shrugging it off for months, I finally broke down and called my mom. I said, “I’m crying and the baby’s crying, and I don’t know what to do!” My mom refused to let me ignore this anymore. She asked, “What are we going to do about this, Evi?”

“If this were cancer, obviously we would treat it.”

I was living in Orange County at the time and thought I couldn’t afford therapy. My husband noticed my anxiety worsening. He wasn’t going to let me continue down this path. “We can afford this, Evi,” he told me.

“This is your life. If this were cancer, obviously we would treat it. You’re not immediately dying but I am slowly losing my wife.” My husband—who won’t go to the doctor for anything—knew we couldn’t let this go. His honesty and support gave me that final push to seek help from a professional.

womanAs it turns out, my moods were fluctuating so heavily that I was diagnosed with both PPD and PPP. Seeking help was the best thing I could have done. My therapist and I clicked immediately. She was very receptive and made me feel comfortable discussing how I felt with her.

“Happiness rushed over me in a way it hadn’t in months.”

My therapist was also a psychiatrist who was able to prescribe medication and oversee my treatment. I was put on a combination of mood stabilizers and Zoloft. Both worked wonders. Within a week, I felt like a completely different person.

One night in particular, I was chatting with my husband and started laughing. I just kept laughing and it felt so good—I told him that it’d been so long since I’d felt the ability to laugh. Happiness rushed over me in a way it hadn’t in months. And when my son’s first birthday rolled around, it felt like a layer had been peeled back. I was finally feeling like myself again.

“These stories need to be heard, and in a very accessible way.”

I began sharing my PPD experience with friends; our neighborhood had several young families just like ours. I was shocked to learn that so many moms around me had similar feelings. Many of them had never talked about it before.

During this time, I was also finishing my graduate program and needed a thesis for my Journalism minor. Post-partum was in the front of my mind; I knew there was an opportunity here to help others. That’s where Rise from Post Partum Depression was born. I knew I needed to bring these stories to light because they held so much power. I submitted the idea to my professor who accepted it as a thesis project.

What is Rise from Postpartum Depression?

Rise from Postpartum Depression is a collection of 10 true stories from women who have overcome PPD. The website also includes statistics about PPD and resources for mothers who are struggling. PPD can happen at any age, after any birth, to any woman. Visit to learn more.babies

“Even anonymous stories are hard to share—that tells you where we’re at.”

During my research, I interviewed a woman who had children 20 years ago and never discussed her PPD. Twenty years and it’s finally surfacing—how crazy is that? I also spoke with a handful of ladies who only wanted to talk but didn’t want to be published, even under an alias.

Even anonymous stories are hard to share—that tells you where we’re at with this. Women often think that having PPD makes them less of a mother. That couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s a stigma we place on ourselves. When you hear these stories, you feel nothing but compassion for these women. It’s never, “Huh, that’s not normal,” although that’s what sufferers think they will hear.

It’s sad that there’s still a stigma; sad that we’re not giving ourselves an outlet to seek help and heal; and sad that other women don’t get to feel that connection since it goes unheard.

“Be trigger happy on this one. Get help—it doesn’t just go away.

Before I became pregnant, I watched a couple friends go through PPD. I caught myself labeling it as “baby blues” because that’s what I was familiar with. It’s so often not “baby blues” and we need to be very careful about this mislabeling. We need to continue talking about what PPD is and how to seek help, because it doesn’t just go away. I have never met a mom (in my interviews or otherwise) who was able to wait this out. Talk to someone—be trigger happy about seeking help.

Where did you find healing?

Therapy was vital for me. Fortunately, my therapist also handled my medication. I recommend finding a therapist who will work closely with your doctor during your care. Medication is important in many cases—we need to make sure that women are being prescribed and overlooked responsibly by a professional while simultaneously receiving support.

Talking is equally important. I wouldn’t have come out the other side without my support team. This doesn’t have to be your spouse or your parents—some people don’t have either to rely on. But it’s better to reach out to someone than no one: tell your closest friend, your cousin, or your sister how you feel.

Facebook was an unexpected place where I found help. When all of this happened, I posted in a mom’s group, simply asking: “I got diagnosed with PPD and put on Zoloft. Has anyone else had these symptoms?” At least 20 moms chimed in within the hour. One commenter, who later became a good friend of mine, invited me to join a PPD group she ran. Connecting with other women makes a world of difference—and it’s free. I’m not saying don’t see a doctor, but when you’re scrolling and breastfeeding in the middle of the night, Facebook can be a really great tool.

How can we lend support to someone who is experiencing PPD?

If you get the “something’s up” vibe from your spouse, family member, or friend, reach out and offer to talk about it. Understand that they may not want to talk—it depends on the person and where they’re at. But, in my case, it made a world of difference to hear people express concern for how I was feeling.

“Can I buy you lunch?” or “Want to go on a walk?” are more powerful than you might think. Provide that environment to talk to them—and be okay with whether they want to or not. I remember my husband asking me, “Do you want to hug or do you want to cry?” It was perfect. Those who options were the most empathetic things he could have offered me.


Connect with Evi Figgat on Instagram (@evifig), Facebook (here), and her blog (here).