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Successfully Battling Depression and Tragedy Upon Tragedy to Find Happiness

“The pregnancy ended up being even more high risk than my prior ones and I was placed in the hospital for six weeks. Depression and anxiety returned as my young daughter bounced between family and friends during my absence. I missed her terribly and my body ached without her presence, but I pushed forward knowing that each day I stayed pregnant brought us one day closer to our baby.”

Hello! Who are you?

Hi! I’m Andrea Blindt. I’m a wife, mom to six kiddos, two who died five days after they were born, and four who are alive and full of energy earth-side. A registered nurse, holistic health practitioner, Rapid Transformational Therapist, author, and speaker. I wear many hats and I love each one!

I live in sunny Southern California with my family and our golden retriever Enzo. In my spare time I enjoy reading, working with my hands, dating my husband, playing with my kids, and traveling.

I am honestly living my dream life and I can’t even believe that’s a true statement! My life wasn’t always happy, so to be where I am today, surrounded by people I love doing what I love to do feels surreal.

Andrea Blindt

💡 By the way: Do you find it hard to be happy and in control of your life? It may not be your fault. To help you feel better, we’ve condensed the information of 100’s of articles into a 10-step mental health cheat sheet to help you be more in control. 👇

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Don’t Miss Out On Happiness

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What is your struggle and when did it start?

I struggled with debilitating anxiety, panic attacks, and depression for as long as I can remember.

I grew up in a home where abuse was all I knew. This caused me to believe that I was unworthy, unlovable, and flawed at my core. As a child, I thought, “If I just fix myself I will be lovable.” I watched my mom’s behavior and anticipated all of her needs.

I learned her triggers and avoided them at all costs. Living in that constant state of panic caused anxiety to course through my veins, and after years of working to earn my mother’s love to no avail, I became deeply depressed.

I began looking for love outside of my mother and found it caring for others. I pulled weeds for neighbors, cleaned their homes, and babysat their children. The praise I received began to fill my cup up and I formed a new belief, one that told me I was worthy of love and that it came from my behavior and acts of service.

This led me to a career in nursing where I was loved by my patients and colleagues. Not only was I loved, but I was praised for my wisdom, excellence, and skill. Patients requested me by name and trusted me to care for their loved ones. I felt on top of the world and began to believe that my life was massively improving.

I didn’t carry my past with me like a badge of honor, rather I avoided it at all cost and fully leaned into my new life.

I met a man who seemed nice and I accepted his proposal when it came a few months into our courtship. I was really beginning to believe that I was lovable, worthy, and capable of living an amazing life.

I was determined to live a great life. To have kids and to show them love, stability, and worth. I was so excited to become a mother, but instead, I struggled to conceive. I worked with multiple fertility specialists, underwent numerous surgeries, and experienced two miscarriages.

The joy and hope I had once felt began to fade quickly and the old beliefs I’d hidden at my core began to crop up again. I started to believe that I wasn’t worthy of becoming a mother. I told myself that God loved everyone but me when I saw women who didn’t want children conceiving. And before I knew it the depression was back.

I continued to pursue motherhood and was anxious each time I received a not pregnant message, and then after another complicated round of fertility treatments, I became pregnant with twins.

I was so afraid I would have a miscarriage that I wanted to crawl into my bed and hide for the duration of the pregnancy. I was so nervous about the pregnancy ending that I forgot to celebrate its beginning.

As the weeks passed and my babies continued to grow safely in my womb I began to exhale. Hope grew within me and I started to believe that I was really going to become a mom.

I started celebrating the big milestones and captured my growing belly with weekly bump photos. I registered for baby gifts and soaked in my family and friends’ love as they showered me and my babies with goodies. I decorated their nursery. Life felt good again and I was grateful until I was forced to deliver my twins prematurely and they died five days later.

My heart was broken but continued to beat. My lungs were deflated but continued to fill with air. Memories flooded my mind but couldn’t be rescued. The world continued to spin, but for me, it stopped when their hearts did.

I watched as two nurses carried my still-warm babies down to the dark cold morgue, and I wept. Pain seeped from my marrow and evaporated off my skin.

The depression returned stronger than ever and I craved death like an addict craves its next hit.

How did this struggle make you feel at your worst moments?

I had panic attacks anytime I saw a pregnant woman. I imagined her baby dying and it caused my heart to ache for her, so I began spending my days isolated from the world around me, too afraid to go outside.

I stopped working as a nurse because I didn’t even have the ability to care for myself.

I stopped talking to my family and friends because I felt like they didn’t understand me and couldn’t relate to my pain.

I lost the career I loved, my babies, and the future I had envisioned. It was a very dark place to exist, and after a failed suicide attempt I found myself in therapy working through the past I’d done my best to escape.

My desire to become a mother was still there, and as I began to heal I allowed myself to envision bringing a living baby home. I didn’t know how or when that would happen, but the hope of holding a baby in my arms was enough to keep me moving forward.

Unfortunately, my medical providers told me that my body was too weak to carry a future pregnancy, so I looked into adoption and surrogacy. When those routes left me empty handed I searched for a care team that was willing to believe in me.

After another round of fertility treatments, I was pregnant. During my 6-week ultrasound, I saw the beautiful flicker of my baby’s heart beating within my womb and I hoped it would continue. I was placed on bedrest immediately due to a subchorionic hemorrhage which is a really scary way to describe a pool of blood surrounding the baby, and I prayed my baby would survive.

At 13 weeks I underwent major abdominal surgery to place a band beneath my uterus that would strengthen my body’s ability to safely carry my baby to full term.

I was in and out of the hospital with preterm labor and my doctors prepared me for another early delivery. I was scared out of my mind and felt all alone.

I did my best to release the fear and anxiety I had so that I could embrace the gift that this baby was, but it was a daily struggle for me.

When I rolled into the OR for my scheduled delivery I prayed that my baby would live. My body vibrated on the operating table as fear shook me. I smelt my flesh burning and could feel the doctors tugging at my skin as they worked to get my baby safely out, and then when she was removed I held my breath and waited for her to cry. The room was quiet and I began to cry.

I heard the doctors talking about my baby being much smaller than she should have been, and then they began discussing her umbilical cord. Despite all the ultrasounds and close monitoring I had during my pregnancy, my doctors failed to notice that my baby had a velamentous cord.

This is where the umbilical cord doesn’t connect to the placenta correctly. It can lead to issues with growth, bleeding, and even contribute to a baby not surviving delivery.

The doctors told me that she was small but that she was lucky to have survived. I was beside myself with emotion as I took everything in. After waiting for what felt like an eternity I was able to hold her, and when I did it was the best feeling I’d ever experienced in my life.

I never wanted to put her down. I was elated to have a living baby, but I was also anxious about everything that could go wrong. I knew firsthand what it felt like to have a child die and I never wanted to feel that pain again.

I was full of joy and awe as I watched her grow, but I also struggled with feelings of sadness as I acknowledged all the firsts I’d missed out on with my twins. It was such an odd experience. I felt like I was living in two worlds, with alternate realities and I did my best to navigate the two.

Life felt brighter with my daughter in it and I began to feel happy again. My husband and I purchased our first home, and we decided to add another baby to our family.

The pregnancy ended up being even more high risk than my prior ones and I was placed in the hospital for six weeks. Depression and anxiety returned as my young daughter bounced between family and friends during my absence. I missed her terribly and my body ached without her presence, but I pushed forward knowing that each day I stayed pregnant brought us one day closer to our baby.

My husband and I grew apart during this time as he managed his emotions in ways that negatively impacted our family, and before I knew it I found myself afraid, sad, and all alone again.

When I was 34 weeks pregnant my uterus ripped. I was rushed into an emergency c-section where my baby and I almost died. The entire experience was traumatic, but for the first time in my life instead of feeling sad or scared, I felt hope, happiness, and excitement.

My husband and I divorced and I thrived as a single mother. I gave thanks daily for the beautiful gift of my children in my life, and I began to dig deeper into healing my mind and body.

I let myself off the hook for selecting and marrying my ex-husband, and I acknowledged the reason for doing so. Understanding this was a pivotal point in my healing journey. I realized that he fulfilled the need I had to feel lovable, and I vowed never to make that mistake again.

I started to feel amazing, like an anchor had been removed and everything was smooth sailing. I met my now husband and began to believe in happy endings. Things felt safe, secure, and solid until suddenly they didn’t.

Fear, anxiety, and panic returned as I discovered I was pregnant. My fallopian tubes were blocked so my doctor prepared me for emergency surgery. I was sad to be away from my children again, but also in awe that I had been able to conceive at all.

Before heading into surgery the doctor placed the ultrasound probe on my abdomen. The room became quiet as a grainy black-and-white image appeared on the computer monitor beside me. Two black blobs stood out to me. I gasped as the doctor pulled the ultrasound wand off my stomach. “I saw two sacs!” I yelled as hot tears slid down my cheeks.

My poor husband shifted in his seat clueless as to what was happening while the doctor’s face grew pale, and his mouth draped open.

“There appear to be two sacs, and they are both in your uterus, not your fallopian tubes.” The shock was palpable as the doctor went on to discuss all the things that could go wrong. Since the pregnancy was still very early it was highly likely that one or both babies would miscarry. The doctor told us to go home and return in a week to see if there was proof of life.

My husband and I practically floated out of the office on autopilot. Everything changed at that moment. We went from preparing for surgery to possibly preparing for a pregnancy. A pregnancy that we didn’t even know was possible. Two lives that may or may not exist.

It was a whirlwind as we awaited our next scan for more information. On the day of our appointment hope pumped through my body as the doctor placed the ultrasound wand on my abdomen and two heartbeats flashed across the screen.

I couldn’t believe my body had naturally conceived twins. It felt purposeful, especially after losing my first set of twins. I was hopeful but I also understood that miscarriage was still a very real possibility. I knew that if the pregnancy progressed I would be on bed rest, and I knew it would be hard, but I was excited at the miracles growing inside my body.

My euphoria faded as my doctor encouraged me to end the pregnancy. “It’s too high risk, you almost died carrying your son. Your body isn’t strong enough to carry two babies, it’s not even strong enough to carry one!” He handed my husband and me a card and urged us to act quickly, referring to my uterus as a ticking time bomb that could explode at any time causing me to bleed to death within minutes.

Instead of leaving the doctor’s office feeling excited, we left carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders. Dread sucked all the joy from us and we drove home in silence.

By the time we arrived home, my mind was decided. I would carry the pregnancy as long as I could, and I would trust that whatever time these babies were with me was meant to be.

My husband on the other hand didn’t like that idea. He wanted to have biological children desperately, but he wanted to have a living wife more than that. He struggled as fear polluted his mind, and he contemplated terminating one of the babies.

I refused. “I spent years trying to conceive, praying for a baby, and now that I have been gifted two you want me to say thanks for the gift but I don’t want it anymore. Or thanks for the gift I only want part of it?! There is no way I’m going to do that! I am going to carry this pregnancy as long as I can with your support or without it, although I would prefer to have you by my side”, I said with heat.

Of course, my husband put me first and stood beside me every step of the way. “I am lovable. I am worthy. I am capable of living a life I love”, I thought.

I ended up on bed rest and was placed in the hospital for weeks. I listened to meditations on my phone in order to combat the anxious thoughts in my head. My husband brought my two older children to the hospital daily to visit me and my sadness went away while they were there. I felt like I was capable of carrying these babies.

I experienced excruciating pain as my uterus stretched and threatened to tear open as my babies grew bigger each day, and then when I was 31 weeks pregnant my twins were born.

They endured daily blood draws, multiple surgeries, blood transfusions, and extensive therapy before being discharged home from the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) 106 days later.

They came home with feeding tubes in their stomachs, IV poles, feeding pumps, multiple medications, and complex medical challenges. Life felt chaotic but also peaceful. We were finally all home together, and while we were still finding our footing we were happy and confident that we could do anything as long as we did it together.

We bought and moved into a new home and finished remodeling it a few months later. We started actively creating the life we longed to live and we had so many joyful moments. Happiness surrounded us and then as it had in the past, darkness rolled in and threatened to take over.

My husband and I had just taken our places on the sofa after getting the twins down for their afternoon naps when my phone rang. It was my ex-mother-in-law. My heart lurched knowing that my two oldest children were spending the day with their dad. Dread filled my body instinctively as I scrambled to answer the phone. It was like my DNA knew something awful had happened before I did.

“There’s been an accident,” she said as I pressed the phone into my ear. “Found him in the pool.. no pulse.. we don’t know for how long..ambulance took him..” my heart beat like a caged animal against my chest and I fell to my knees as despair set in.

After gathering a few of my son’s belongings I ran out the door, my confused husband trailing behind me trying to make sense of what was happening. I felt angry, enraged if I’m being completely honest.

My ex-husband is a firefighter paramedic, he knows firsthand how critical pool safety is but he refused to protect our son. For years I begged him to install a pool gate but he refused. He laughed at me and said that I was too protective of our kids, but now our innocent son was the victim.

As I drove to the hospital not knowing if my son was alive or dead I prayed for peace. I wanted to storm into the hospital and throw my angry fists into my ex-husband’s chest, but I knew that wasn’t the energy I wanted my son to be around. I knew that in order to hope for a miracle I needed to focus on gratitude, so that’s exactly what I did. I walked into the hospital and gave thanks for the gift that my son was to me in my life.

I entered his hospital room and fell to my knees as I saw his frail body lying lifeless beneath the tubes and wires that connected him to machines. The sounds in the room became fuzzy and my only thought was that I needed to touch him. I moved towards his bed and gently scooped him into my arms. “Please be ok my Angel”, I said as tears fell from my eyes and landed on his small cheek.

I stayed that way holding his fragile body in my arms as doctors came and went, as a Chaplain prayed over him, and as God granted me another miracle before I even had the opportunity to pray for one. 

After a few days, our son came home. He had pneumonia, collapsed lungs, and was extremely weak, but he was alive. 

Gratitude poured out of me and I gave thanks for him and his life. But as the days passed the darkness and anxiety returned. I started thinking about how precious his life was, how precious all of my children’s lives were, and that eerie realization that they could die at any moment saturated my mind, drowning out the peace I once felt.

My heart raced each time a firetruck passed by our house and I would burst into tears. I began having severe panic attacks anytime my kids weren’t near me. My mind would race as worst-case scenarios flashed through it. Eventually, I stopped sleeping and hardly ate. I was struggling but didn’t know how to stop the spin cycle.

The trauma of my son’s near-death experience combined with the death of my twins, multiple high-risk pregnancies, infant twins with medical challenges, and the childhood abuse I’d survived caused me to dissociate.

Terror consumed me as I pulled my car into our driveway after returning home from a doctor’s visit and realized that I had no recollection of driving. One minute I was at the hospital, and the next I was pulling into our driveway. I did my best to recall what streets I’d taken, the freeway, the exit, red lights, anything but I couldn’t and at that moment I knew I needed help.

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Was there a moment when you started to turn things around?

I began seeing a therapist again three days a week. It was painful. Some days the fear and anxiety were so debilitating I didn’t think I could go on. Depression smothered me and my thinking became distorted.

I believed that if I were dead my kids would be better off, safer, happier, and less at risk. I blamed myself for divorcing my ex-husband believing if I had remained married to him that I would have been there to protect my children. I blamed myself for my twins’ medical challenges. I blamed myself for everything, and in that space, I hated myself so much.

I fell so far into darkness that I tried to end my life. I craved the peace and finality I believed death would offer, but as I sat there imagining my children’s lives without me in it, I had an epiphany.

I realized that I was ending my life in order to help them live better lives. I loved them with every fiber of my being and I wanted them to know that I loved them, wanted them, cherished them, and absolutely adored them.

I wanted them to live full happy lives knowing that they were loved and worthy of love. I wanted them to feel joy, and experience peace. I didn’t want them to experience the same type of life I had. I wanted to shield them from pain and suffering.

I contemplated how they might feel in the aftermath of my death, and I realized that if I killed myself I would be serving them pain and suffering on a silver platter!

Instead of showing them daily that they were loved and worthy, they would be left to live their lives believing their mother chose to die because she didn’t love them enough to live. They would believe they weren’t worthy of me staying in their lives. They might even blame themselves for not being enough to save me. I realized if I died they would carry the weight of my actions with them forever.

With that realization, I felt even sadder. Stuck again between two worlds. One where peace existed after I ceased to, and one where suffering and pain were a guarantee, but that I had the ability to positively coauthor for my children. 

Death would have been easier, lighter, freer, and faster for me. But for them, it would have changed their world. Knowing that, I chose to live so that their lives would have the opportunity to be fuller. I decided to love them fiercely and to show them daily through my actions and words that they were masterpieces, loved, and worthy.

And then I realized that I couldn’t teach them something I didn’t know or believe to be true myself, so I slowly learned how to love and cherish myself. 

And that’s where the real work began. When I set my sword down and stopped fighting battles and instead cultivated beauty. 

What steps did you take to overcome your struggle?

I changed everything I was doing, and I mean everything. I continued going to therapy and worked with a cognitive behavioral therapist. I did EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing), EFT (emotional freedom technique), RTT (Rapid Transformational Therapy), hypnotherapy, and nutritional and dietary support.

I worked with a body code and emotion code practitioner. I learned transcendental meditation and utilized the gift of visualization to build the vision of the world I wished to one day live in, and I believed it was possible. I changed everything I was doing, and in doing so I found ME.

I found the little girl version of me who was all alone and instead of hating her and bullying her for not being enough I loved her for being ah-freaking-mazing. I praised her for surviving all the awful things she did, because she survived a lot of crazy hard shit, and I praised her for showing up and doing the hard work when giving up would have been understandable. 

I revised, modified, tweaked, and adjusted the things I did, the thoughts I thought, and the environment I allowed myself to grow in. I mindfully pruned away family, friends, thoughts, and behaviors that were contributing to my soul’s decay, and in doing so I witnessed new life begin to bloom.

I pruned again and again and again, and to be honest I still prune today. And my life is flourishing. I see new growth, new life, and an even bigger harvest than I ever imagined possible. And I am so freaking proud of myself.

Of course, challenges still come into my life. I’ve struggled with losing loved ones, protecting my children from toxic people and unsafe situations, and so much more. Life is painful at times, but I have chosen to continue pursuing peace instead of remaining a victim of circumstances.

I am on the lookout daily for sneaky thoughts that creep into my head, and I catch them with excitement. I don’t allow them to take root and grow. I pull them out as soon as I discover them, and then I kick them to the curb and fill the space they occupied with better-feeling thoughts and beliefs. I base my decisions off of how I want to feel and whether or not they align with my life goal. If they don’t, I don’t participate in them.

Doing this shifted my happiness so much. I do it all the time. If I am sad or feeling in a funk I get curious about what’s going on around me that might be contributing to my mood. I change the things I can, like sleep quality, nutritional intake, and environmental exposures, and I surrender the things I can’t.

I know that if I want to live in peace and experience joy in my life, I cannot sulk or be moody all day and still expect to reach my goal. So I sulk for a moment and then move towards the things that will bring me closer to my goal of peace and joy. 

Andrea Blindt 1

If you could give a single piece of advice to someone else that struggles, what would that be?

You can do the same thing in your life anytime you want, a million times a day if you want to until eventually you find yourself experiencing exactly what you desire. If you are struggling please know that you are not alone and that healing and hope are available.

You are loved, worthy, and capable of creating a life you love. I am living proof of that truth. No diagnosis is too final, past too messy, or future uncertain to fully live a life you love, and it can start today. There are people ready to hold a light for you until you make it through the darkness. Reach out to a friend, family member, therapist, or trusted provider for support today!

It was through this healing journey that I cultivated my current business. It’s a one-stop shop in a sense that supports medical, emotional, and spiritual healing from the inside out. It gives people their power back while instilling hope in their lives.

I created this practice because I didn’t find healing in one thing, but rather through a million little things, and I wanted to share those same resources with others so that they too could create a life they love. 

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, YouTube channels, or other resources for you?

Where can we go to learn more about you?

To learn more about me you can go to my website: my website, follow me on Instagram @andreablindt or connect with me through email.

💡 By the way: If you want to start feeling better and more productive, I’ve condensed the information of 100’s of our articles into a 10-step mental health cheat sheet here. 👇

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This Cheat Sheet Will Help You Be Happier and More Productive

Thrive under stress and crush your goals with these 10 unique tips for your mental health.

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Hugo Huijer AuthorLinkedIn Logo

Founder of Tracking Happiness, with over 100 interviews and a focus on practical advice, our content extends beyond happiness tracking. Hailing from the Netherlands, I’m a skateboarding enthusiast, marathon runner, and a dedicated data junkie, tracking my happiness for over a decade.