An Unapologetic Letter About My Mental Health
My dear follow friends,
Today I am tired, short changed, in mental anguish, and at the same time have a heart overflowing with love and dedication to my two toddlers who rely on me to keep them alive everyday. As you could probably tell from the cover photo, I am here to put myself out there and normalize the perspective of mental health medications in my little corner of the world. Yes, that is a pill bottle in my hand. Yes, my children have seen it and know I take medication (well to some degree, they are under 3 after all). I will continue to take this medication every morning until I know I can be the mother that my children deserve without it. **Insert gasps and shock from all of the above statements**
…I need medication everyday—for now…
In honor of September being Suicide Prevention month, and the fact that my kiddos have taken it upon themselves today to turn into mythical creatures hell bent on squeezing every last bit of patience from me, I want to talk to you about my mental health. The struggles, successes, and shear honesty about the fact that despite my outward appearance and how much I get accomplished throughout my week, I need medication everyday—for now. What I jokingly call my “happy pills” have been a mainstay in my life since around high school. High school was when everything that I had been suffering with alone boiled over and I just couldn’t do it anymore.
Thankfully, through therapy and the support of my family, I was able to learn different tools to help cope with my anxiety and depression. Through a rather unpleasant trial and error process throughout the years, I have found a medication that helps. When on the medication, I can get out of bed in the morning without feeling like there are 100lb. weights on my chest. I can go through the day without crying for everything and nothing at the same time. I can be a successful business owner, student and more importantly I can be the mother my children deserve.
There is this level of perceived weakness around mental health even though we now have many people speaking out and sharing their stories trying to shed a light on how common anxiety and depression truly is. For a long time, I hid this from everyone I met because I was ashamed. I felt alone. I felt like I was the only one feeling this way. I felt guilty for feeling this way because I had and continue to have many blessings in my life. It wasn’t until I experienced Postpartum Depression (PPD) episodes after the birth of my daughter that I felt deep in my gut, I needed to share my mental health story.
To the shock of everyone in my family and especially myself, I didn’t experience any PPD whatsoever with the birth of my first child. With my second child, it was a different story and after many moments or episodes where I just felt like a different person completely, I finally asked my doctor for help. He told me that this was extremely common for mothers and that what I had experienced was actually on the lower end of the spectrum. The lower end? I remember thinking how what I had just gone through for months was on the lower end? How are those mamas’ out there struggling to hold it together just as much as me if not more coping? Why do we wait so long to feel better?
I believe this is because we have this misconception that it is a weakness to ask for help. Especially mothers who are given the beautiful weight of creating, birthing, then raising human beings, WE are the people who have all the answers. WE do not ask the questions or give in. Even the strongest people have times where they need to stop and care for themselves. We hear all the time the importance of self-care but rarely do we mention how self-care could mean talking to your doctor about mental health and learning the tools that work for you specifically.
So there it is friends. Not my entire story by any means but maybe I will get more confident in the future to share more. For now, I purpose we start more conversations about the ever present mental health issue. Maybe instead of focusing on self-care boxes or spa packages (which are still very much appreciated especially after you literally grow a human inside your body) we start focusing on the long term self-care presents like giving ourselves a much needed break! Realizing its OK to need help and OK to lean on other people who just may be going through the same thing as you.
All the love,