One of the hardest things to do is to admit that there is something wrong. But I finally did. During my last pregnancy and even now, nearly a year and a half later, I have experienced one of the most severe bouts of depression and anxiety I have ever felt. It is a dark and scary place to be. There are women out there who don’t look like they are suffering at all so it makes it harder for others, also suffering, to admit they are going through a hard time.
“All it takes is a beautiful fake smile to hide an injured soul and they will never notice how broken you are”
If I tried to pinpoint a time when I first experienced anxiety and depression…hmm…well it could quite possibly have started all those years ago when I hadn’t yet been diagnosed with PCOS and my struggle to lose weight seemed futile and my self-esteem was at an all time low. Or during years and experiences with loss and infertility. One thing is for certain though; it has always been because of a constant struggle with my body, whether it was to be skinny or it was to be pregnant.
Even harder than admittance is finding the courage to seek help. There seems to be a certain stigma with mental illness. Women feel ashamed of sharing their experiences. Making an appointment with a therapist to me was both hard a little embarrassing. So much so that I shared my experience with very few people. It’s a very vulnerable place to put yourself. You wonder how people will react. Sharing sort of reiterated my thoughts of feeling alone when all I really got in response was the sound of crickets from those I told. But it’s ok.
What I’ve learned so far:
It’s ok to see a therapist – I did and it seemed to really help.
It’s ok to take medication – For me, this was hard. I have tried 4 medications since my son was born and all have had greater side effects than benefits so I have been really hesitant to start a 5th.
It’s ok to ask for help when you need it. Some days, even the simplest tasks seem daunting and I get anxious and frustrated really quickly. My husband is always up for taking something off my shoulders so that I can refocus. Sometimes all it takes is 15 minutes alone in my room.
What has been the hardest:
Admitting I am “sick”
Having the ones you love see the behaviors you exude, but don’t see. The first medication made me feel the best I’ve felt in years, but it gave me extreme anxiety while driving. About 4 weeks in, my son said “Mama, I haven’t seen you laugh like that before.” That made me want to be better, but at the same time it made me sad. I don’t want my kids to remember me as depressed.
Having my husband and sons see me at my worst and often times get the brunt of my anxiety and anger.
Trying to find something that helps. Its an iterative process.
What I look forward to:
Being genuinely happy and laughing like I mean it.
Not being so anxious all the time. Simple things like driving, getting a facial, and being in an airplane have sparked severe panic attacks that I’ve never had before.
Allowing myself grace. I’m only human, not superwoman.
Working out – I love the gym. Even though I pack my bag everyday, I just can’t seem to find the motivation no matter how hard I try to get back to my healthy place.
My boys are what keeps me going and because…..