Alyssa Milano revealed about the health problems she faced when she gave birth to her son. Milano said that she started feeling anxiety after the baby birth and the suffering was so intense that she had to see her psychiatrist. While giving an interview to TIME, Milano-45 said that she was suffering from a generalized anxiety disorder and when she gave birth to her first child in 2011, her anxiety was triggered by postpartum depression.
While explaining her mental situation, Milano said that her mental weakness started with her motherhood. She further said that she had a dream pregnancy which lashed out by a complicated labor which included throwing away many pregnancy plans.
The first night after returning from the hospital, she started feeling anxiety. She further wrote that she started feeling disappointed as she had failed as a mother. These feelings came to her mind as she did not give birth to her child through normal means.
She said that her heart was boiling, her stomach seized and she felt as she was dying. After a few months, Milano recovered but her anxiety returned as her son got sick. As soon as she went back to work, her illness got worse. She further wrote that she started developing haunting and irrational fears. Like all the other moms, she was overwhelmed by the guilt of leaving her baby alone at home and like other moms her anxiety was not taken seriously.
Milano wrote that the anxiety she felt 16 hours a day on stage caused more anxiety attacks at night. After consistent night attacks, she finally hit the wall and went to the emergency at 2 AM where she met her psychiatrist.
After that Milano was kept in psychiatrist ward for the period of three days. Milano wrote her essay as part of Mental Health Awareness Month and she joined other celebrities like Ryan Reynolds, Selma Blair and Kristen Bell in sharing their anxiety stories. While commenting on the anxiety faced by mothers, Eynav Accortt a psychologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles said night anxiety attacks are a significant part of postpartum depression. Accortt further said that term ‘postpartum depression’ is not used nowadays as it is now referred to as an anxiety disorder. The symptoms of anxiety are more significant than depression, said Accortt.
In a report published by National Institute of Mental Health, every one in six adults of America is suffering from mental illness. Additionally, every one in seven women suffer from postpartum depression. But the doctors of Milano and her colleagues could not figure out the specific illness with which she was suffering.
The weird thing about mental illness is that you don’t look sick, said Milano. The Los Angeles psychologist Accortt said that mood swings, crying spells are common in the first few weeks after the baby birth but the occurrence of these symptoms longer can be a sign of postpartum depression.
Accortt recommended new moms to consult their medical providers if they had these symptoms. She further said that if these mothers didn’t get the answer that feels good to them then they should be provided with the telephone numbers of mental health providers.
The investigators of Cedars-Sinai are investigating the risk factors associated with postpartum depression. Pregnancy is a normal part of every mother but being pregnant can also be stressful for many reasons and mothers can face mental depression before and after pregnancy, said Sarah J.Kilpatrik.
However, if none of these work, then they should contact Postpartum International Agencies which are designed to cure mental health disease, said Accortt. The purpose of Postpartum International Agencies is to spread awareness about the emotional changes women suffer during pregnancy. According to these agencies, almost 15% of the mothers suffer from postpartum depression and 10% mothers feel anxiety during pregnancy.
At the end of her essay, Milano encouraged the mothers suffering from postpartum depression to speak. She concluded by saying that if anyone of the women sees her on the street, then join her and tell her that she is not alone.