Friday, November 18, 2011

I will not be afraid.

It's been a long time since I've posted about depression. Yesterday, I shared a link on facebook to a post titled I'm not a Bad Mom Because of Mental Illness. The post resonated with me, and I quickly realized from private messages, a few likes, and a comment that it resonated with others as well. I want to join the author in saying, I'm not a bad mom because of mental illness, and let me add, neither are you.

I've been avoiding this topic for all sorts of reasons, but what they all come down is that I've been afraid. Gulp. I've been afraid of the stigma that comes with mental illness. I know I shouldn't be. I know I've said I won't be. But to be completely honest, I have been. 
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I was grateful for the support readers offered as I wrote about my depression, but I began to feel that if I kept writing it, if I couldn't write the champion's story who had won the battle, that it would get old. Who wants to read about someone else's misery? If I was the girl who was ungracefully living with depression instead of the girl who kicked its butt, wasn't I just trying to throw a pity party?

It's one thing to write about your journey with depression once you've overcome it, once you're on the other side. In that space, you can be honest and yet positive. You can talk about the hell you've been through, but put a rainbow-out-of-the-rain kind of ending on it. You can be the strong person who has beat mental illness instead the one that appears weak as they suffer. 
Via Pinterest
But here's me being honest. I haven't won this battle. I've had ups and downs, successes and failures. The truth is I can learn to manage this chronic illness with tools and skills, but I will most likely never be cured. This will always be a part of who I am. Honestly, that terrifies me. It's hard enough to think about getting through today, tomorrow, this week, or this month. It's hard enough to try to do the work to make things better, to make things manageable. When I start to think that I will have to do this work for the rest of my life, well that gets scary. I try not to think about that because I don't need scary.

I'm done being afraid. That's not me. I'm kind of the girl who stands up for who she is and what she believes. I'm the kind of the girl who will shout things from the mountaintop and who laughs in the face of obsacles. I'm the girl who skipped my senior year of high school, finished college in 3.5 years, and who wrote a Masters thesis with a newborn. In one year I went from not being able to run a mile to running 13.1 miles. After a frustrating hospital birth with my first child, I educated and prepared myself to have the best birth I could (which was a blessed and empowering homebirth). I am strong, and I don't shy away from a challenge. I will not hide my journey. I will not be afraid of saying boldly, I'm not a bad mom, I'm not a bad wife, and I am not bad person because of mental illness.

Via Pinterest
This is an illness. I am not this way to some fault of my own or anyone else's. Don't treat me any differently that you would anyone else struggling with a chronic illness. I have good days and bad days. I work really hard to be the mom and wife that I am while trying to take care of myself. You may not be able to see it, but rest assured, I am using every ounce of energy, oomph, and spirit I have to fight this. Sometimes I'm successful and you'd never know how hard I had to work to get to that point. Other times, I'm not successful and you might have a hard time believing that I am even trying from the way I am acting. Regardless, I assure I am giving this everything I've got because I deserve it, my husband deserves the best me I can give, and my kids deserve the best mom I can be.


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  2. Thank you so much for sharing!! I'm in this same process... I've shared about my struggles on Twitter and my blog, but I don't know how much to share and how much to share and how much just sounds like whining or begging for sympathy.


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