Wednesday, March 12, 2014

kill the stigma of depression for our daughters' sakes

my daughters know about depression.
they know it by it's name or refer to it as "being sick".
they know it is common.
they know it is an illness.
they know it is no one's fault when it happens.
they know many mommas get it after having a baby.
they know there are other kinds of depression as well.
they know depression doesn't just look one way.
they know when you are just not doing well with it - you go to the doctor because it is an illness.
they know medication for some people is needed.
they know know when their momma has not taken hers.
they know some people are able to rock exercise or clean eating or herbs or art and many other things to help.
they know they can ask anything at all, at any time about depression.
they know it is ok to not be ok.
they know hormones be all kinds of cray cray.
they know God made our brains simply amazing and incredibly complex.
they know there have been some amazing people who have some alongside our family.
they know it is very hard.
they know you can get better.

(sadly, my daughters seem to know more than many adults.)

my daughters don't know there is a stigma attached to depression.
they don't know most women do not go get help.
they don't know some people call it "just sin".
they don't know some people think antidepressants are a bad thing - even when people want to die.
they don't know their momma was suicidal, self harming, & having psychotic features.
they don't know some people are shunned over mental illness.
they don't know momma never had to get to the point she did.
they don't know how difficult it is to get insurance figured out in regard to mental health or get care covered period.
they don't know how grieved i am for them that i walked through what i have.
they don't know it is a taboo subject.
they don't know many churches have no resources available and pastors unqualified to deal with depression.
they don't know some people think you have postpartum depression only if you get like andrea yates (who had postpartum psychosis, btw) or look like X.

the next generation doesn't know the complete bull shit aspects of depression that society, including the church, has imposed/ is imposing.
and they don't have to.

can you imagine if our daughters felt the freedom to get help because it is encouraged?
can you imagine every single woman being properly screened for ppd?
can you imagine no mommas succumbing to their postpartum depression?
can you imagine the church truly loving & really supporting those with mental health issues of all kinds?
can you imagine it being ok to not be ok?
don't we want that for our daughters?

it IS possible.
kill the stigma.
call it what it is.
become educated about, in the very least the basics of, depression.
(if you don't become educated - sorry to be blunt - you are a huge part of the problem.)
talk about it.
it's ugly.
it's messy.
it's not pleasant.
but we have to.
for our daughters.
and for their daughters.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

.every forty seconds.

��untreated depression is the number one cause of suicide.

around the world almost a million people a year take their own life. that equals one person about every forty seconds. 

every forty seconds? this has me weeping. these are real people. mothers, sons, wives, sisters, fathers, friends, colleagues, husbands, classmates, brothers. i am not a fan of statistics. i find them sterile. BUT - here i think they need to be shared. these are not just numbers. that is a million people. a million precious, beautiful people who could not go on. they didn't know they mattered anymore. i get where they are coming from. i get why they felt this was the best decision. and it breaks my heart.

1 in 4 people will experience depression to some extent in their life. i'm not a math chick, but i know that's a whole heck of a lot of people. and most of them never say a word. so many reasons. so, so, so many different reasons. or their help is minimal.

i often wonder how things would have been different for me had i known how certain people would react. obviously, never in a million years would i have brought them into my pain. i think about it because, well, i lament how things went for me. but more because of the damage done by some of those i most trusted- i try to think how it can be different for women moving forward. 
how can i help women not walk my path? how do i help women get the help they need?
how do i help kill stigma? how do i let women know it is ok to admit it's hard? that's it is normal and fine to fall apart? not fun, but happens. that it is NOT a reflection of their mothering? how do i let them know they are not just lacking faith? they are not just "in sin"? they are not alone? 

i didn't get the help i needed when i needed it. blocked.
so i got worse. so much worse. i wanted to take my life. suicide preoccupied my thoughts. i planned my days around when i could self-harm. and when triggered - i just made the time. i was losing touch with reality. people, this is not normal.and it never had to get to that. never.
(yes, yes, yes - still working through God's sovereignty.)

so, i want my life to help other women not get there. 
resources are available. you are not alone.
first though - if you are in danger, PLEASE call:

800.273.8255 (Lifeline)

every life matters.
yes, yours.

"depression is a lying bastard" has become one of my favorite quotes. 
why? first, it is totally true. lies abound when you are suffering from depression, but you think they are real with all you are. you can't see they are lies.
and second, well, guess who the father of lies is? yeah - someone seeking to devour and destroy. 

depression it too real, too serious, too destructive, too life threatening to ignore.
to not take seriously. 
to excuse away.
to not take action on.

it is hard to advocate for yourself. sometimes impossible when in the valley. people are more than willing to advocate for you. 
you don't have to fight this alone.
it is a lie that it's just you. a lie that it is something to be ashamed of.

and those on the outside, throw out every thought you have of what it looks like. throw out every judgement. realize you can't "fix it". just love like Jesus did, man. because those who jump down in the mire without a second thought and walk through the dark, muddied, bumpy, painful road are the ones. 
yes, those are the ones. 
the ones who help fight against the one every forty seconds. 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

.rebuilding after the worst of ppd.

personal post. sharing because i know i'm no different than other ladies walking through the same thing. the lie of "it's just me" is too powerful and destructive for silence. and the aftermath of suicidal ideation and self-harm is messy, messy, messy... i hope this helps those on the outside of depression looking in gain a teeny bit of understanding. please keep in mind- everyone is different - this is just my experience.

we did family photos.
i got Christmas cards out.
i did our annual family photo book.
took the oldest two girlies through a local light display thing.
yeah, last year.
this year - not so much.
i keep asking myself - how did i get all that done last year and not this year?!!??!?
i suppose auto-pilot?
or part of trying to seem as "well" and "normal" as possible?
the guilt has been eating me up this year.
so much i didn't do.
didn't get to.
and it hit me - recovering from where i was is no joke.
the worst part of the storm is over.
but, it demolished just about everything in some way.
i feel as though i am in the "rebuilding phase" of depression (i just made that up).
a bad episode of paranoia here and a little gonna have a panic attack there.
and being overwhelmed, but on steroids all.the.time. and the physical aspect that goes with that.
what do i do with that?
what does my life look like now?
what am i supposed to do?
95% i can get through the day without it being all i can do to survive - thank you, Lord.
i don't even remember what else i used to do.
i look around and... whoa.
the laundry.
the homework.
the home projects i started and had to bail on.
meal plans.
the home projects looooong past due.
and those are the easy things.
those issues that had to tabled because i was in no condition to make serious decisions.
my faith. (which really is it's own 100 part blog series)
what/who/where is my community?
what do i think community even means now?
these things are much more difficult - even thinking about them is difficult.
one step at a time.
sometimes a step forward, sometimes a step back.
and i think it's completely normal.
working on getting me better is number one.
my saint of a husband and 4 amazing girlies - number one.
so, this holiday season that meant doing a gingerbread house.
(full disclosure: glued the graham crackers on the box because i ran out of time to affix with frosting. "do NOT eat the graham crackers!!!" was a common refrain here during december.)
and it meant Christmas crafts with the girls.
decorating less to keep my sanity, which makes for a happy hubby.
wrapping with my oldest girl.
teacher gifts.
sitting in the dark with only the Christmas tree lights on and enjoying.
i'm learning it is hard and rather time consuming day to day.
and it flat out takes a long time.
and it means not getting to things you want to, love to do, and used to do.
but also means i am down to the essentials.
and as i rebuild i try to add on one essential after the other.
simplicity, IMHO, is a lost art; so this is a good thing.
a really good thing.
please note: i do not do this perfectly - far from it.
i can still get rather distracted by non essentials or put it on myself to add stuff that just doesn't matter frankly.
and i try to do "self-care".
perhaps better put - try to understand what self-care looks like for me.
so, i still need to get our family photos done.
and i still need to get our photo book done.
but, Christmas cards... um, yeah, look for 'em Christmas 2014!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

.holidays: ppd. (trigger warning)

*****this post could be triggering.*****

depression doesn't celebrate christmas.

i opened up the tub 'o christmas tree decorations the other night.
as i was sorting through them i saw three i never saw before in my life.
well, guess i have because i'm the one who put them away last year... i think.
they were packed up in the fashion i pack them up in.
no memory of it though.
so, i am staring at two shiny owls and a shiny shell/ ball.
all i can think is, "what the...????"
so, thanks to whoever got them - if it wasn't me.
i really like them.

as we close in on christmas - those moments are becoming much more frequent.
not remembering.
i was a numb, hopeless, shell.
it is very difficult to look at photos from last christmas season.
i don't remember what happened - all i remember are the torturing thoughts.
oh, and that one of my girlies ate all her stocking candy in one sitting.
nadda about my sweet baby on her first christmas though.

last year on december 23rd i picked up that butcher knife just to see if i had the balls to slit my wrists.
it was not a suicide attempt.
just curious.
light, surface slit.
yep - i have 'em.
i also decided then over dosing was the plan.

the way the 23rd and subsequent days played out in part were part pure love and those days were also part pure hell.
the reactions of people...
i was surrounded with love.
i was also surrounded by some people who made it WORSE. worse, worse, worse.

i also realized the 23rd it was a freaking release to cut.
it made me feel better.
worst thing ever to realize.
i was a wild caged animal inside.
cutting wasn't a suicide attempt.
not attention getting.
cutting was a release.
it was the only thing that helped.
i was gone at that point.

side note - to those who think i (or anyone struggling with depression) was just fine - maybe just struggling with sin and normal baby blues or whatever...
i mean, really?
think about it.
ok, moving on...

you can't see diabetes.
BUT you can see a diabetic go into diabetic shock.
and you do something when you see that.
you take action - a verb is typically the responce.
you call 911, administer insulin, try to get sugar via orange juice or whatever, etc...

you can't see mental illness.
BUT you can see depression symptoms, you can see suicide warning signs, you can see cuts, you can see burns.
and see that and you...???????
most people don't act.
it's scary.
it's unknown.
it's messy & ugly.
i get that.
but do something.
don't have a clue what to do?
please, EDUCATE YOURSELF - here.

closing in on the 23rd has been hard for me.
super hard.
but it also have been a time of reflecting of how far i have come since then.

i have been enjoying this season.
scaled back & modified like a mother.
but still - enjoying.
rocked a christmas candy house like a boss friday with my 3 oldest girlies.
just had to warn them- don't eat the graham crackers - i used elmers glue to glue 'em onto a shoe box.
see - modified christmas.
i still flip.
i still have a little i am going to have a mental snap thing going on.
i still get down.
it's just not as intense and low when i do.
which i'm so thankful for.

holidays can be hellish is you are in the midst of your lowest - like me last year.
because depression, as i said, doesn't celebrate it.
holidays can also be happy times and hard all at once - like this year.
Heck, holidays can be straight up a lot when your life is at its best and most peaceful.

if you know someone who is struggling - check on them.
tell them you love them and are here for them.
do NOT, do NOT, do NOOOTTTTTTT tell them to get in the spirit or how blessed they are so they should be rocking around the christmas tree or ask how can they not be happy during the "most wonderful time of the year".
never underestimate the power of your words.
i love you & i don't get it, but i'm standing with you all the way to the end... power.

and one more thing - it is one million % normal & just fine to struggle through these next weeks when you suffer from depression.
stinks - but normal.
do not allow people to invalidate your God given feelings & God made emotions.
you are not alone...

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

.i don't know what to title this post - PPD

i could link to helpful articles.
i could link to studies.
i could give a personal update.
that is all good, but seems what some people need is basically a smack down.  :)

PPD is real.
PPD is not the baby blues.
PPD can manifest its self in SO many ways.
PPD affected ladies can still look cutesy (at times).
PPD is horrific.
mental illness sucks beyond belief.
and quite frankly, you suck if you add to a depressed person's suffering by some of the following and more:
not believing.
not taking serious enough.
making them "prove" it.
trying to "fix" them.
inserting yourself into their life in ways they are asking you not to.
(this does NOT include measures to keep them safe. more like inserting yourself into their relationships.)
thinking your own non-medical thoughts/ convictions are superior to a doctor's and making it be known you are down on medications.

listen up, when someone says they want to die or are thinking of suicide or share it would be better if they were not around anymore or are self-harming - you take that junx seriously.
and you do something.
you do an action to make sure they are safe - whatever that looks like.
even if it is simply helping get a plan in place to ensure safety.
and, dear pastors, you have an extra heavy responsibility in this area because you are accountable to the Lord one day for how you care for people.
or don't care well for them. 
just sayin'.

you can know all the stats and signs of depression.
but, all the education in the world won't help you unless you are willing to 'get' it.
willing to lay down your preconceived notions.
willing to nix the stigma in your mind.
willing to get dirty and messy as you walk through the darkest point of someone's life.
willing to shut it and not judge.
willing to hear things that are super disturbing.
willing to acknowledge and respect the fact that everyone's path of recovery is different & difficult.
willing to do something.
it is not that hard.

Friday, October 4, 2013

.some thoughts on miriam casey.

obviously - i have no first hand knowledge of the situation.
obviously just going off news reports.
i am not a medical professional.
just my thoughts on a topic heavy on my grieving heart this morning.
gotta say it.

miriam carey.
34 years old.
my heart hurts this morning and the tears keep coming. 
it seems clear this woman was not well.
from news reports it appears she suffered from mental illness after having her baby.

seems people thought she looked & acted just fine.
yeah, well, most women don't rock the andrea yates look while suffering from depression.

here are some quotes from people who 'knew' her:
I am absolutely shocked that she could be implicated in this... She was responsible financially—just a nice person—there’s nothing that would lead me to believe she would be capable of doing this.” (source)

"I would never in a million years believe that she would do something like this... It's the furthest thing from anything I would think she would do, especially with her child in the car. I am floored that it would be her." (source)

"Nothing would have led us to think she would have done this," (source)

now, here is information from the people who really knew her:
Carey's mother, Idella Carey, told ABC News Thursday night that her daughter began suffering from post-partum depression after giving birth to her daughter, Erica, last August.
"A few months later, she got sick," she said. "She was depressed. ... She was hospitalized." (source)

Carey's boyfriend contacted police in December saying he feared for the safety of their child, who was 4 months old at the time, according to a law enforcement source involved in the investigation. The boyfriend said the woman was acting delusional, claiming the president had placed Stamford under lockdown and that her house was under electronic surveillance, the source said.
He told police that she was suffering from post-partum depression, was having trouble sleeping and was on medication. (source)

see, it isn't an issue of her being "capable" of this. 
no onei repeat - no oneis above mental illness devouring them.
obviously, she was not well.
you don't need a PhD to see that.

it is so hard to read about miriam carey for so many reasons.
one is because my first thought was, "that could've been me."
another is the response by many to this horrific tragedy.
can we say triggering????
ppd is not an excuse or cop out.
it is deplorable to have people throw that out there.

postpartum depression is real and freaking serious.
postpartum psychosis likewise is real and freaking serious.
what the hell will it take for people to finally recognize this fact i have absolutely no idea.

i was breaking from reality.
there was tons of talk of me going on anti-psychotic drugs because it was so bad.
thank you, Lord, it lessened.
if you have not gone thru the descent into madness - you cannot fully grasp it.
i could not always see when i wasn't in 'real' reality.
my 'not real' reality was reality to me.
(confusing, but hope that makes sense)

i will never understand the unkindness toward the mentally ill.
i will never understand the non-belief.
i will never understand the things said in the presence of those suffering a mental illness by those who know someone is suffering from it (facebook included, people.)
i will never understand the stigma, the lack of love, the lack of care.
i will never understand the "pull it together".
and i will never accept any of that.

praying for that sweet baby.
thanking God that little life was spared.
praying for miriam's momma & boyfriend & all her family.
praying for all those involved yesterday.
praying for any & all witnesses.
thanking God for secret service and police who saved lives yesterday.
and so very thankful their lives were spared. 

so much we don't know and may not ever know.
but we do know this is tragic.
so tragic.
no need to make it worse.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

.you cannot be replaced.national suicide prevention week.

this is the slogan this week from To Write Love on Her Arms for national suicide prevention week.
i LOVE it.
except it got real when i saw this here (#3) that you are supposed to fill out:

think it through.
write things down.
you cannot be replaced.
we all have purpose... all of us.