My name is Danielle. I'm 38 years old and the proud mother of a beautiful almost 3 year old and 17 month old. I love them more than I can put into words. I never quite understood when people told me about how they would give their lives for their children. I get it now. There's a lot I get now. But it's taken me a long time to get here. Back up about a year ago and I was crying on the couch of some doctor that I had just met 5 minutes ago. For me, I had hit rock bottom. I was being evaluated for medication for post-partum depression. At the time, I thought that was the most disgraceful, shameful and pathetic thing I could be doing. I don't think that now. As I said, there's a lot I get now.

I was diagnosed with post-partum depression over a year ago--after the birth of my son, my second child. Looking back, I had signs of it with my daughter but it wasn't as severe and I could easily ignore it or write it off to sleep deprivation or the like. But with my son, I was miserable. I didn't like him, I didn't like me, I didn't like anything. But my depression didn't rear its ugly head in the normal fashion. When I think of someone being depressed, I think of not being able to get out of bed, lethargic, lack of appetite, a somewhat disconnect with the world. Not me. I had no issue sleeping, getting up, eating, taking care of the kids. My problem was my anger. I got mad. And when I got mad, heaven help what object was around. I broke a window with a sippy cup. I made a hole in a wall with a mop handle. I tore a doll apart. I broke toys by throwing them against the floor. I explained to my therapist it was as if I were the Incredible Hulk. I remember watching that show as a kid. Bill Bixby turned into Lou Ferrigno whenever he got angry. That's what I felt like. There was this rage inside of me that would take over and I would take it out on whatever inanimate object was around me. I would like to say this never happened in front of my children. I would be lying if I said that was true.

I was lucky though. I had family that recognized I was going through something that wasn't normal. They didn't say I had PPD but they knew that I wasn't myself. They urged me to seek help. They wanted me to get better. They knew that this wasn't the normal baby blues that women get after giving birth. It took me a while but at my six week post-delivery appointment, I asked my OB/GYN for the name of a therapist. I started to see one and when she wasn't a good fit, I found another. At the insistence of my family, I asked about whether going on an anti-depressant would be the right thing for me. A year later and I can say it was.

Asking for help was one of the most difficult things I have ever done. And were it not at the gentle pushing of my family to get help, I might still be fighting this fight alone. And no one has to do that. I've learned so much in my journey with PPD. I know that it is nothing to be ashamed of--that so many women are afflicted with this and there are so many more that are afraid to ask for help. I am a better mother, wife and person because I asked for help. I'm not perfect. I can tell you that most days my kids drive me batty at some point. But the difference is that I know how to handle it. And some days I excel and some days I fail. But I think that just makes me a normal Mom. A normal Mom that is in remission from post-partum depression; one that just ran a marathon; is moving in to a new home; and delights at her children's smile every day.

The mission of the Los Angeles County Perinatal Mental Health Task Force is to remove barriers to the prevention, screening and treatment of prenatal and postpartum depression in Los Angeles County. The Task Force is a project of 501(c)3 fiscal sponsor Community Partners.