I don’t like being vulnerable. I don’t like putting my personal thoughts and feelings out there for others to not only know, but acknowledge.
I’m not sure why that is. I could dig deep into my past, how I’ve been treated overtime, and maybe I’d come across the answer to all my problems or maybe I’d just sadden myself.
But a huge part of me knows that I do not want to be judged.
Judged – past-tense – verb – something that you truly cannot avoid living in today’s society.
When someone hears the word, “depression” or “postpartum depression”, they often think of the extreme cases. I don’t blame them – some individuals have never suffered depression. They only know what they’ve read about in books, or seen in the movies, or experienced watching Netflix’s new series, “13 Reasons Why”. But I feared that judgment from others, I feared not knowing what they’d say or think.
I remember having to watch a video about postpartum depression before getting to leave the hospital. I thought to myself, “There’s no way I’m going to go through this. I’m so, so happy to have Finley here with me!” Little did I know, even though I could be extremely happy to have him, my emotions and thoughts could take over.
And that’s what they did.
I wasn’t a serious case. At least that’s what I told myself, maybe it was to make myself feel better, or maybe it was because I truly did not know what others were going through inside their own brains. I couldn’t say my case is extreme when someone else’s may be so much more dreadful.
I wasn’t a mother who was dealing with having thoughts of hurting her child. I wasn’t a mother who was having regrets of becoming a parent. And I wasn’t a mother who longed for her old life back. I loved (and still do – duh) Finley with my whole entire heart. Once I became his mother, I knew there was nothing else on this world I was meant to be.
But I was depressed. I felt sluggish, almost stuck. I couldn’t even tell you why… and, well, that made me even more sad. It was a feeling that I couldn’t kick, a feeling that followed me around no matter where I was, who I was with, or what I was doing. But, I knew that my situation could have been worse, so I kept on mommying, keeping my thoughts to myself.
And you see, being humble about my postpartum depression, that was my first “mistake”. I thought, “it could be worse, I can get through this little hump.” Little did I know, it’s not a “little” hump. It’s a road block – a mental road block.
*side note: you’re probably wondering why I’m putting mistake in quotation marks. I’ve become so tired of viewing myself as the person who has made mistakes, the person who could do better, the person who could give more, the person who constantly takes all of the blame, all of the time. That’s what depression does to someone, it makes them truly think that they are the one to blame with all the issues surrounding their life – when really, it’s not. It’s not your fault, don’t let yourself tell you that you are the one who deserves to carry such a burden on your shoulders.*
If you know in your heart, and your mind, that you are dealing with mental health issues, no matter how small you make them seem, they aren’t small to the people who truly care about you.
There’s also those individuals who not only believe that depression is something someone can control, but something that doesn’t need to be taken lightly. Those people, yeah, they are the people who ruin it for everyone who truly do care. I’m speaking to all of you, it does need to be taken seriously. The worst thing someone can do to themselves is to criticize the things that they do not understand. The best thing someone can do for themselves is to become educated about a topic before you make someone feel bad for feeling down on themselves.
There you have found my second “mistake”. I’d never had to open up about these types of issues, I had no idea how to do it then. I had no idea how other’s would react to my sudden change of persona – I’ve always tried to hide my negative emotions, as I’ve said before. I’ve always aimed to have a smile on my face and not let my weakness show. What would others say? Would they think I was being over-dramatic? Would they say I’d be fine and push my thoughts to the side?
But, hey, I’m going to tell you now. You don’t have to put on an act. You don’t have to hide how you’re feeling inside. You may think that other’s may not believe you but, those who truly care will always trust you and put their opinion aside in order to help you. Always. There are no ifs, ands, or buts!
I fall into the category of the third group of individual’s I’d like to talk about. Those who view mental health issues as weakness. Now, wait a second! Before you jump on me and discriminate me for having this mindset, you have to understand how I felt inside. I saw my SO, Sam, totally kicking butt at life. He never let the hard days get to him. He could let a fight between us slide right off his shoulders. In my eyes, he was truly a man of steel. That is something that I longed to be too – minus the man part. I wanted to be strong like him. I wanted to not sweat the small stuff. I wanted to be able to put my emotions, sadness, and dread aside and view my life differently.
But what do you think depression had to say about that?
“Hold up, girl. You’re not strong. There’s way too many issues wrong with you, and your life, for you to ever be as strong as others. You’re weak, and there is no getting out of how you feel.”
Mistake number three. Letting my depression make me think I’m weak.
But, you see, the fact that I’ve continued on everyday, putting a roof over Finley’s head, blogging for not only reader’s to enjoy, but learn from, putting food on the table, working to support my family, and doing my absolute best to keep a smile on my face, THAT is strength. The fact that I was able to open up about my built up feelings inside, these negative, horrid feelings, THAT is strength.
You too are strong. You have been fighting like h e double hockey sticks to make a life for your little one.
They are so lucky to have someone who pushes through the hardest mental battle possible, in order to provide love, nourishment, and life.
Open up, don’t make the “mistakes” that I had made. They only held me back from viewing life my life with a different perspective. I can truly say I’m proud that I was finally able to embrace my postpartum depression as a battle, instead of something I couldn’t overcome.