Postpartum Depression Resources for Military in the KMC

When you’re military living overseas, it sure can be overwhelming– the culture, language barrier, and of course the normal stressors that go along with being so far away from family and close friends.

When we moved to Germany almost one year ago, I was in the throws of struggling badly with postpartum depression. We had two kids under two and I had a really tough time adjusting to living overseas, so much so that it affected me as a wife and a mother. I quickly became so depressed that I would lounge in my PJs all day, sit my boys in front of the TV, and just pray that frozen food or cereal would be okay for dinner that night.

Deep down, I knew I was struggling, but I didn’t even know where to begin to ask for help.

Unfortunately, mental illness such as postpartum depression, is viewed as a stigma… which is also a wide range of reasons why moms don’t speak up about struggling with postpartum depression.

I talk about just a few of those reasons in this previous blog post.

Mental Health Resources for Moms in the KMC

 

After going through my own bumpy ride of PPD, I realized how difficult it can be to access resources when you really need them the most– especially when you move to a different country.

Luckily, being in a military community, resources for mental health can be obtained through a variety of channels as well as connecting with amazing and supportive people. With the help of  Kelsey W. Hurlburt, Resource Coordinator in the Kaiserslautern military community, I have listed the various resources that can be helpful for those who may be suffering with postpartum depression…as well as other mental illnesses.

 

 

 

 

KMC PPA & PPD Resources

Emergency Numbers:

                Germany Emergency Response*: 112 (fire & medical), 110 (police)

Veterans Crisis Line* (available to dependents 24/7):

From DE #: 00800 1273 8255

From US #: 1-800-273-8255 (opt 1)

From DSN: 118*

 

Live Chat: https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/

US National Suicide Hotline* (24/7):

00-1-800-273-8255

Hospital Services – Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (LRMC):

GPS Address: Dr. Hitzelberger-Strasse, 66849 Landstuhl

LRMC Info Desk (24/7):

CIV: 06371-9464-4100

DSN: 590-4100

 

LRMC Emergency Room:

CIV: 06371-9464-6322

DSN: 590-632

 

Mental Health Services:

Landstuhl Behavioral Health (LRMC Ward 1C, directly above Family Practice)

CIV: 06371-9464-5847

DSN: 590-5847

Hours: Walk-in M-F 0730 – 1630, after hours go to LRMC ER to access on-call social worker

Landstuhl Child & Family Behavioral Health (LRMC Ward 1D)

CIV: 06371-9464-6311

DSN: 314-590-6311

Ramstein Mental Health (RAB – Bldg 2121, 3rd Fl)

CIV: 06371-46-2390

DSN: 479-2390

Hours: 0700 – 1630, walk-ins OK, after hours call will auto forward, request to be connected to on call mental health provider

 

Military Family Life Consultants (MFLC)

                Ramstein:

CIV: 0152-2421 1233; 0152-0266 3352; 0176-6933 3243; 0151-5674 8179

Hours: M – F 0800-2000

 

 

KMC Mental Health Resource Guide

Confidential services (no records kept), not intended for emergency/life threatening situations, general counseling only

Army                    

Landstuhl Post: 0152-2479-2650

Pulaski Barracks/Daenner Kaserne: 0170-369-3292

Rhine Ordnance Barracks (ROB): 0175-601-1985

Sembach Kaserne: 0175-792-3332

 

Military One Source*

Live Chat: http://www.militaryonesource.mil/confidential-help

24/7# CIV: 00-800-342-96477

24/7# DSN: 800-342-9647

 

Ramstein Chaplain

DSN: 480-6148

CIV: 06371-47-6148

Hours: 0730 – 1630, after hours call will auto forward, request to be connected to on call Chaplain  (walk-ins welcome)

Landstuhl Chaplain (Bldg 3764, 1st Fl, Between 4 Corners Info & Dining Facility)

DSN: 590-5713

CIV: 06371-9464-5713

Hours: 0800 – 1600 (walk-ins welcome)

 

                Parent & Outreach Services (Rhine Ordinance Barracks, Bldg 162)

CIV: 0611-143-541-9066

DSN: (314)541-9066

Hours: M – F, 0800 – 1700

*Indicates US-based service, not located in the Kaiserslautern Military Community

 

If you reside in the KMC, please share this so the respectable resources can be easily obtained to other mamas that may be struggling in silence.

 

If you are military in a different area, whether it be overseas or state side and if you would like to contribute to my upcoming Postpartum Health Military Resources Guide, please fill out the form below.

 

Remember mama, even in your darkest days, you are NOT alone. There is a tribe of mamas out there that know what it’s like and can offer you an abundance of support. We can get through this together!

 

 

A big thank you to KMC Resource Coordinator Kelsey W. Hurlburt for gathering these helpful resources for me.
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The Day I Wrote My Suicide Letter

*DISCLAIMER: SUICIDE TRIGGER WARNING

 

It’s been a terrible couple of months and I’m finally ready to do it. I’m finally ready to leave this world behind. I’m not sure how I’m going to do it yet, but all I know is that I’m ready. I don’t even know if I’ll be missed, sure, maybe for a few months. People will probably cry when they find out what I did, cry at my funeral, cry for the first couple of weeks, but then it will stop. Pretty soon, I will become a distant memory. People forget. They can only grieve your loss for so long before they move on. And so they will move on. Eventually, every-one will get over it.

What will I be remembered by? Well, hopefully, people will think that I was a good mother; a mother that loved her boys with every fiber of her being…a mother that gushed love and compassion and was caring. Will I be remembered as a good person? I would hope so. I know that there will be a lot of people that will say otherwise. I would hope that there is someone out there, somewhere, that I have made an impression on. I’m not sure though. I know that I’ve made some friends but I’ve also made some enemies.

Will my husband cry? How will he react? I’m sure he will  be distraught because chances are, he will find me. It will ruin him and he will probably hate me. For a while, at least. I just hope that one day, he can forgive me for what I’ve done and see that my pain was too much to handle. I hope he can realize that this wasn’t some selfish act, but a way to escape from all of the pain…and all the horrible thoughts. I hope he can realize that I loved him so much that I had to do this. I was becoming too much of a burden for him and he deserves to be with someone better. Someone happy. Someone not so depressed. Someone that could love him and treat him the way he deserves. He will continue to be the best father to our boys and hopefully he will keep my memory alive. Will he remarry? I would actually hope that he would. I wouldn’t want him to be alone for the rest of his life; I would want some type of mother-figure in my boy’s lives. They deserve that. I couldn’t give that to them, so hopefully, someone else will.

What will my boys think? They are too young. They won’t even miss me. I’m sure that my oldest will wonder where I am, but after a few weeks, he will forget. He will stop asking for me. He may see my picture and say “momma”, but pretty soon, I’ll become a distant memory for him, too. Just like everyone else, I’ll be a memory. My kids will grow up without a mom and wonder why I did what I did. Will they blame themselves? I’m sure that they will. I would hope that they wouldn’t. Will they struggle? Can they make it without me? Of course they will. They are better off without such a sad, depressed and angry mother; they don’t deserve that. They need a mom that is together and happy and full of life. They deserve that. They will be fine. There are enough pictures of me around for them to know who I was. I hope their dad will always remind them how much I loved them.

Will my mom miss me? Will she blame herself? How will my family react? They will say things like they can’t believe this happened. They never saw the signs. On the outside, I seemed like a happy women; like I had my life together. I had a blessed life. I was a mother, for Christ’s sake! With 2 healthy, handsome little boys! Why would I do this? I’m sure there will be anger. There will be tears. But people will forget. They will move on.

Pretty soon, I’ll just be a memory. My picture will be hung up then taken down. My obituary will be clipped out then shoved into a shoe box. My birthday will come and go. Some people will cry while others will ask why. My clothes will be donated and that dusty picture frame of me with my family will be replaced with a new picture of some different woman with my family. My kids will grow up and my husband will move on. My mom will die with a broken heart of not being able to save her little girl. My friends will question the signs and wonder if they could have done anything. I will soon become another statistic…. a warning to others.

My life will be over before it truly began. People will comment on how young I was and what a shame, but it won’t last. Pretty soon, people will talk about the next person or the next thing and I’ll be an old topic thrown out like yesterday’s newspaper. It won’t last and therefore, I feel okay doing this.

This is what I’m feeling as I’m about to write my last letter on earth; with tears streaming down my face and my hand trembling. I’m not sure how I got here but I just want it to end. This isn’t what I wanted…this isn’t what I envisioned my life to be like. I can’t handle it anymore. The loss. The pain. The remorse. It can all stop. I want to make it stop. So I will.

Except I won’t.

What if I told you that every single one of those thoughts has crossed my mind a time or two. Yes, I have contemplated suicide and even in my darkest days, planned it out…up to the part on making sure I’d do it so my toddler wouldn’t find me. I even thought of what I would write in my suicide letter; that’s pretty heavy stuff, don’t you think? It’s all true. I’m not here to bullshit you or to lie about my life….to paint some oh-so happy and perfect life. I’m here to talk about the UGLY stuff, the HARD stuff. The truth is, I wanted to die. I was so sick and tired of feeling sad, depressed and broken that I just wanted to leave everything behind. I had the feelings of sadness that just felt like they would never go away. It was terrible. And it was lonely.

I literally thought about EVERY SINGLE THING- yeah, people might miss me, but they would get over it; my boys won’t remember me; my husband will remarry and move on…. I thought of that all. But the truth?

My suicide may not affect everyone that knew me, but it would certainly affect those that LOVED me.

My husband. My boys. My family.

They will all miss me. They will all cry and wonder. They will blame themselves and question life. It will happen. They won’t be fine. They will NEVER get over my loss.

I will be pain free but instead I will be bringing so much more pain to those around me. They may never understand why I did it. They will never get over me.

I have lived through this from both sides; I’ve been so broken that the only form of escape seemed like leaving. I’ve also seen the pain that suicide causes. Both are extremely painful. No side has it worse and no side has it better.

If you have lost someone from suicide and you don’t know how to comprehend what they’ve done, I want you to know that they weren’t being selfish; they were literally fighting a daily battle in their mind and it became too much to handle. Suicide is not the easy way out–it’s a scary and lonely road. The thoughts are frightening. A person that is struggling WILL have every thought (they are better off without me) go through the mind. Over and over. Sometimes, a depressed person may feel like their only option is to just leave.

I’m here to tell my story. There’s a reason why I didn’t go through with it and for whatever reason, I’m so very lucky for that. I want to be around for my boys. I want to see them grow up and prosper. I want to stay by my husband’s side…through the good and the bad. I want to continue to live this life. It’s not always easy and at times it can be painful. But I promise you, it is beautiful and so WORTH IT.

LIFE IS WORTH IT and if you are struggling with depression, postpartum depression or any other form of mental illness, YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

 

If you or a someone you know is having a medical or mental health emergency, please call 911 immediately.

Suicide

If you are currently having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Non-U.S. citizens can visit IASP or Suicide.org to find help in their country.

Postpartum Depression (PPD) or Postpartum Anxiety

If you think you might be suffering from postpartum depression or anxiety, or need some extra support, call womenshealth.gov at 1-800-994-9662. Check out the womenshealth.gov website for more information and resources.

Mental Health Crisis

If you or a loved one is having a mental health crisis, visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), or call the NAMI Help Line at 1-800-950-6264.

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