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Photo by contributor Danielle, a woman with bipolar II disorder. She experiences extreme depression, agitation, anxiety, and panic attacks.
About this photo: “This photograph was taken by my husband as I was being whisked off to have our baby.
I like to be in control – of my environment, my situation, and most of all myself. This is hard to do when you have a mood disorder. One of the scariest, most out of control moments of my life, was just before I had my baby. After several days of laboring, sleepless nights of no meds and bad ’80s movies, and several hours of pushing, I was told that if I kept going my baby might get stuck, so they were advising an emergency c-section. I started panicking, not because I was about to have a c-section, but because my body was starting to get numb from whatever they gave me and it freaked me out. I suddenly couldn’t move and no longer felt in control of my body. I remember laying on the table hearing the doctors talking about summer homes in the woods and deer as they cut me open. I felt completely vulnerable and exposed, unable to protect myself, even though I knew I was in a safe environment. I concentrated on trying to wiggle my toes, until she was brought to me, the perfect baby girl. She stuck her tongue out at me, and I smiled through my tears – tears of panic mixed with joy.
The reality of life is that we can’t always be in control, and it can be scary. Sometimes we have to give up the reigns and let the experts take charge, but hopefully that will help us get from our greatest panic to our greatest joy.”