Mum admits to feeling like a ‘failure’ in honest blog post about postnatal anxiety

A mum-of-one has written an inspiringly honest post about the moment she was diagnosed with postnatal anxiety, and how it made her feel like a ‘failure’.

Mum, actress and blogger Tammin Sursok sheds light on the pain that mother’s feel when suffering with postnatal mental health disorders in an inspiringly honest blog post for news.com.au.

Tammin, who appeared in the TV show Pretty Little Liars, posted to Instagram telling followers about her piece and described how she felt ‘numb’ when her doctor told her she was suffering with a mental illness.

My essay I wrote on news.com is out today this one is very personal. I hope you can read and share with anyone struggling 🙂 it's about postpartum anxiety which hit me like a ton of bricks after I had my daughter. Often misdiagnosed and just as dangerous. Here is an excerpt below. Please read the whole essay and share it with anyone struggling. Link in the bio above. "I remember that day. Even in my detachment from my newly formless world I remember it so vividly that it burns bright in technicolor. “Mum, I need help.” I faintly whispered that morning. “I can’t do this anymore.” I’ve never really asked for help. I spent my life trying to pave my own road like a relentless, tunnel-vision warrior, reframing every painful experience into that of a positive one. But then again I’ve never really suffered so much that it broke me. Suffered so much that I felt like my entire body was made of glass and a mere touch would create hairline fractures that would slowly break, like pieces of a puzzle, and take my soul away with it."

A post shared by Tammin Sursok (@tamminsursok) on

‘Feeling nothing, I was numb, and yet feeling everything, like an electric fire through my spine. I remember looking at my hands, the hands that wiped my daughter’s tears and held her unformed head, and they didn’t feel like they were a part of my body. Like I was watching.’

Tammin wrote about her anxiety symptoms, such as feeling detached and unable to eat or go about normal daily tasks.

‘Watching a life outside myself, never really hinged to the earth. I remember not being able to swallow. Not being able to eat. Not being able to cry. Not being able to breathe. Just not being ‘able’. Then I heard those words ‘You have postpartum anxiety’.’

Recalling how she should have been ‘celebrating my magnificent newborn and the rebirth of myself as a mother’, Tammin admits she thought that she was over-reacting for ‘six months’.

‘After six months of trying to figure out what was ‘wrong’ with me, trying to boil it down to ‘just hormones’ and ‘just sleep deprivation’ and ‘just life adjustments’, I was officially branded by two words.’

After being prescribed anti-depression medication, the 33 year old suffered a further break down, revealing that upon taking the pills she began to ‘spin’, thinking of herself as a ‘failure’ and ‘imperfect’.

‘As I arrived home I remember staring at the medication in the palm of my hands and it triggering a complete panic attack. I lost my balance, as the room started to spin, with the almost cartoon like voices yelling ‘failure, faulty, imperfect, let down’.’

The mum-of-one recounts how she chose to throw the medication ‘in the bin’ and embarked on a self-healing journey for the next three years, choosing ‘meditation, yoga, therapy, mindfulness, prayer, nutrition and reading and connecting’ to get her through.

The blogger is now calling on other mothers to ‘break the stigma’, wanting to raise awareness of postnatal mental illnesses.

‘As mothers, women, parents and caregivers, we need to break the stigma. Lives are being lost. We need to speak up about our tales of sadness and hope and joy.

‘We are no lesser because of it and only through heartache comes true resilience. And not to sound trite, but ‘we need to be the change we want to see in the world’ and it all starts with us.’