Tag Archives: mental health

An Admission — and a Soapbox

I feel like I should start this post by admitting some things about myself — true confessions style. So, here goes:

  • I am a do-it-myself, charge-on-through kinda gal, and I hate asking for help.
  • I have a terrible fear of failure, of disappointing people and of not being “enough” — whatever that even means.
  • I talk a really good game when it comes to “happiness is an inside job” and “choose joy,” but some days I struggle to see the glass half full and recognize all the good I have in my life.

Now that that’s out of the bag, let me get into the real reason for randomly interrupting your social media and blog scrolling today: depression and anxiety.

The other day I shared a post I saw on someone’s social feed: “In my deepest darkest post-partum depression, I would have personally never called a phone number. If John or my doctor never reached out, I would have never even known. It really can be a lonely hole. Watch the people you love and don’t be afraid to speak up.” (Source)

When I shared that — and commented my agreement, it didn’t mean I think suicide call lines are a bad idea — they are so important, and we should have even more resources like this available. What it meant to me was, I personally wouldn’t have called a phone number. On my saddest, darkest of days, I would not have picked up a phone to dial a number to talk to a stranger about what I was feeling. Because … (see bulleted list at the top of this post).

If Mr. B hadn’t talked to me in loving but honest terms about what he was seeing (“You just don’t seem happy anymore.”) or my therapist didn’t encourage me to share my real feelings even though they made me feel like a failure as a mother or my friend didn’t call me to make sure everything was OK when she saw me struggling, I probably never would have even considered post-partum depression (and anxiety) as what was going on with me. I mean, after all, it was several months after Little Man was born — how could it possibly be post-partum depression?

Even now, after writing this post in my head 1,000 times over the last few months, it feels weird to see it in black-and-white. It still feels like I’m going to be judged for it, like it reveals something nasty about my true nature, like there’s something wrong with me. Like maybe, just maybe, I’m not a good mom or wife because some days I feel completely overwhelmed trying to do it all. And, damn it, shouldn’t I just be happy because I get to hold my living, breathing, thriving, beautiful children when so many other moms — myself included — had to bury theirs? Maybe I’m not feeling as hashtag-blessed as I should be?

When Mr. B first started talking to me about it, I admitted that there had been a couple of times I thought to myself “I could just get in the van and drive away from all of this.” I never got as far as trying to figure out where I might go — although a nice, comfy bed and eight hours of sleep may have been at the top of the list. And, no, I didn’t really want to leave my kids or my husband — I honestly, truly love them and the life we’ve built together. It was the cloud of depression talking; it wasn’t me.

So, why am I sharing this? Why now, when I’m starting to feel happier and healthier (at least emotionally) than I have in some time?

#blessedIt’s because we have got to do something about the stigma attached to mental health in this country. I shouldn’t feel like sharing this puts at risk everything I’ve worked so hard my entire life to have — no one should. I want to build a home — a world — for my children where their emotional, physical and spiritual health are all considered important. I want them to feel confident and comfortable enough to admit when they’re struggling. And if the first step to that is admitting that some days I stumble and other days I fall, then that’s what this is.

This is my admission. It is not a call for help or sympathy (although a little empathy always goes a long way), as I’m finding the help that works for me. We all struggle and we all need help sometimes. So check in on your people every now and again. And, for crying out loud, remember to be kind — it’s the most important thing.

(Here’s some more info about post-partum depression in easy-to-ready and -understand terms.)

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I’m on Vacation! Day 1: Saturday

Day one of “Operation Mental Health” proved to be quite enjoyable. Got to sleep in — body didn’t wake me up until 6:15. Made myself a mug of oatmeal using the coffee pot in my hideaway.

The Inn that has become my little hideaway

Loving my little hideaway. It's cozy. It's roomy. It's mine (for a few days, anyway).

Took some time getting ready, read a little (“The Help” — finally). My nice, easy drive up to Maine this morning allowed for a little singing and thinking. Then, best of the best!

I got to have lunch with Heidi and Tristan. The food was good, that’s for sure (grilled haddock tacos for me). But the company was even better. Their kids are so sweet and fun. I kinda wished I lived closer so I could go do fun things like hang out at the zoo and go Slip ‘n’ Sliding with them (not at the same time, of course — I don’t think the zebras like the Slip ‘n’ Slide). You never know what you’re going to get when you meet people you really only know through their online person. But, these two? As genuinely kind and intelligent and lovely as they are on their blogs.

The obligatory post-food photo! Beautiful people, beautiful family.

On their recommendation, I headed into downtown Portland after lunch. Really nice to just walk around, window shop (OK, OK — real shop) and enjoy myself.

Gettin' my pecas on ...

Lots of lovely water-filled views.

And gorgeous cobblestone streets.

Ended up having a conversation with a bookseller who is thinking about moving to my hometown in Michigan. In fact, he and his wife are headed there next week. They want to start a farm! It’s random because my hometown is small and far away from any major urban centers. And it’s north. Cold, snowy, north. I walked, shopped and soaked up some sun. And just, well, thoroughly enjoyed some quiet Kimi time.* There may have even been some ice cream. Forget running a race in every state. I want to eat ice cream in every state.

To cap off my first day, I headed back to Rockport, Mass. — car full of treats from a stop at Trader Joe’s — and hung out a bit in my hideaway. I got some quality reading/relaxing/doing-nothing time in and even finished “The Help,” thankful I had stopped at that bookseller in Portland to pick up a new book to read on the rest of my trip.

A good book is a key ingredient to a lovely vacation.

I made a lovely little in-room dinner of pita bread, almond butter, banana and a tray of veggies. Seemed good for a pre-race dinner. (Though, admittedly, I put a lot more thought into my pre-race dinner for my first half marathon.)

Dinner and a book. Beats dinner and a movie.

Around 7, I put on some decent be-seen-in-public clothes and walked down to the state park that’s just down the road from the inn. I found a bench and spent the next hour just watching the seagulls bathe themselves and the sun make her descent. It was an absolutely glorious end to a lovely day. I feel my mental health improving by the second.

This moment? Right there? When the sun dipped below thw horizon? My heart felt peace.

Headed back so I could call it a night early, ensuring I’d be well rested for tomorrow’s race. Oh, and I started my new book, too, “Outlander.”

*At lunch, Heidi asked me if I was seeing anyone. I’m not — it’s still just me. But it got me thinking a bit. As much as I am loving this do-what-I-want, only-worry-about-my-fun trip and all of the wonderful things I have planned, it would be nice to have someone to share some of these memories with. You know, in person, as they happen. Add to my ever-growing list of things that would be nice in a partner: A love of travel and trying new things.

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