***trigger warning, dear ones. topics include suicide, self harm and infant loss.***
i do not know how to succinctly write my story.
maybe because it is not over?
maybe because it is so painful thinking of where i have been at certain points?
maybe because i get hung up on what has been lost?
whatever the reason(s) - it is difficult.
but - i have a story.
and i often forget that it matters.
but it does because it is such a common story.
up to 20% of new mommas will experience some type perinatal mood disorders.
i'm not talking baby blues.
just about every momma walks that tear stained road.
i'm talking ppd and postpartum psychosis and postpartum anxiety and postpartum ocd or some ever so lovely combo of them.
it matters that my depression was treated as "just sin" by some because so many other women have had and sadly will have the exact same thing happen to them.
it matters that my depression was not properly medically treated for way too long and became so severe psychotic functions were occurring because i am far from the only momma who has experienced that or sadly will experience that.
it matters because my depression impacted my little family deeply and continues to ... the ripple effects run far and deep in our life ... and it impacts every other family deeply & for long, long after momma is no longer in the darkest of places.
it matters that self harm became part of the equation because it does for so many other mommas walking through ppd as well.
i am only one face of ppd.
one of the approximately 950,000 women suffering from ppd each year.
and that number does not even include the precious mommas who have suffered the loss of a baby it is only the number of mommas suffering after a live birth.
and, yes, mommas who have suffered the greatest of losses can have ppd - actually these precious women are at a high risk of it - which makes sense.
my story is not my own.
it is part of a much greater & larger story.
and my story matters because of stigma.
a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person.
"the stigma of a mental disorder."
synonyms: shame, disgrace, dishonor ...
yeah - the dictionary uses mental illness as the sentence to show how you use the word.
stigma is disgusting and powerful.
and so long as there is stigma attached to ppd my experience matters, my speaking up matters.
because there is NOTHING to be ashamed of in struggling after having a baby.
no struggle is too "little" or too "dark" to share and ask for help with.
ppd is an illness.
an illness that no one would ever pick for themselves.
an illness that is just as legit as the common cold or heart disease.
you ashamed that you have strep throat?
then why are you shaming someone with a mental illness?
it is all kinds of [messed up] that ppd is viewed by way too many as not a legit illness.
severe ppd will not just go away merrily on its own - no harm, no foul.
no, it does not work that way.
a mother struggling with thoughts of harming her baby needs help.
a mother thinking she wants to die needs help.
real professional medical help.
and here is something for the christian set -
this is a fallen world.
why would you ever think our minds would remain untouched by that?
our sanity is some precious treasure that cannot be touched by the fallenness of this world?
our hormones are exempt from this hot mess of a world, so they are not able to become so messed up a deep depression comes upon us?
you can't cherry pick "acceptable" sickness and death and sin that impacts us in this life.
if you are dismissive of mental illness you are claiming to know the intricities of the human mind and emotions and what the fall impacted and didn't.
but, you are not God, so you can't, so ... yeah.
and when i say dismissive i do not only mean those who do not believe in ppd and other mental illnesses.
i also mean those who are looking for the root sin behind it and those who tell you that you are just giving into your emotions.
sin is a part of everything.
i am not disputing that.
however - sickness abounds as well.
cancer, swine flu, epilepsy ... mental illness.
and i'd be remiss not to add - God despises death and sin and sickness.
it is all repugnant to Him and He weeps with those who weep.
those in the darkness of depression i firmly believes He aches for.
even if i do not get why He allows it or why it seemed it He left me.
my story has not yet ended, but i have made it out of the pit.
thank you, Lord.
some days are bad.
some situations are triggering.
but i'm on the other side of the mountain so to speak now.
and that is why i am participating in climb out of the darkness 2014.
the fundraiser benefiting postpartum progress & bringing awareness to postpartum mood disorders.
i am climbing for those in the deep darkness right now, those who who are climbing out, those who will be in the deep darkness one day.
i am also climbing for bobby - the precious little boy who never knew the sting of sorrow here as he went straight to the arms of Jesus from the womb - and his beautiful, brave momma who represents the mothers who have faced the greatest of losses and the dark, grievous road they travel.
saturday i climb.
and i will have by my side one of my dearest who walked down in my pit with me.