Alternatively titled: Zen.
If you're reading this, then I have finally done something I have truly believed I could never do.
If you're reading this, you probably know me. In real life. As a real person.
If you're reading this, I have finally decided to open up about my story.
I am typing this entry soveryfast because I am overwhelmed by a moment of bravery and I feel I MUST do it before I give in. Before I fall back into the shame and fear and darkness and quiet.
Too much is said these days, too much negativity and too much hurtful rumors, regarding mental illness. We have seen it manifest itself in terrible ways, causing horrific situations that we wish were not true. It all serves to remind us that there is so much we don't understand.
But what we do understand is how we handle it. Quite often? It's handled poorly. It's handled quietly, and shamefully, and with no tact or grace or sympathy. We blame. We laugh. We whisper.
It's no wonder why more people don't open up.
In 9th grade, I felt my first bout. Lost in the throes of teenage hormones and a first year of high school, I told my parents I didn't want to live anymore.
In late 2008, I felt it again. Riding a wave of a new marriage and job, new house and city, I came crashing down when I had nothing to plan. Everything was achieved. I should be over the moon happy. But I wasn't. I tried a medication. It did nothing. Slowly and surely, thanks in part to some wonderful friendships, I found my way through the darkness.
And then, things were good. So good. Wonderful, amazing, everything I had ever dreamed. I relished my pregnancy and embraced my future as a mother.
Until a birth where everything went wrong, and nightmares were made and lived and relived and deep and dark and painful and loud.
For 4 long months, I pretended. I pretended so hard that I might have almost convinced everyone. But my husband knows me too well. He saw through it, and he gave me the courage I needed to face it.
I was diagnosed with PTSD and Postpartum Anxiety, and a touch of PPOCD, both on the Postpartum Mood Disorder (PPMD) spectrum. Did you know it goes deeper than Postpartum depression? It does. Far deeper. Why didn't you know? Because not enough people talk about it.
This blog is my chronicle--no, my battle. My journey. My good days and bad days, my scary days and my nearly giving up days. And for these past 17 months, it has been a secret from the world that "really" knows me. My internet friends (also IRL friends, as they are now!) knew, a select handful of coworkers, as well as my BFF. But that has been it. I had planned to keep it that way.
But I can't and I won't and so here it is. Here is my mental illness. For the world to see.
Why did I do this today? Why are you reading this now? Because I'm tired of the shame. I have nothing to be ashamed of. I went through a traumatic event and it broke my brain for a while. Thanks to amazing support, I was able to get the help I needed. Things are good now. REALLY good. I feel a zen peace that I haven't felt in 17 months and I am so, so happy.
Others are not so lucky. That ends now. If my voice, my little voice, my one small voice could make some kind of difference, even on one small other person, then its worth it.
I am an amazing mother. I am a great wife and a spectacular teacher. I am a dedicated and loyal friend, a passionately outspoken advocate of my beliefs, a Paleo eater and a lover of animals. I am a lot of things.
The mental illness I have battled, and since, conquered? It does not make up who I am. So let's start applying that lesson to the rest of the world. Because there are a lot of people out there suffering, and they need love, and acceptance, and help. Not shame.
If you're reading this...how will you help to make that happen?