So, I was on the playground the other day and a mother was talking about meltdowns with me. “We’re going from meltdown to meltdown,” she sighed unhappily, “if it’s not the kids, it’s me!”
“That was us, too!” I chirped, “until I started medicating myself!”
Her face fell.
Now, I know better than to expect some ra-ra team cheerleading me when I tell people that by my current pill popping, I am an even-keeled, “normal” and happy Mama. The thing about mental health is there is just oceans of stigma around it still. No matter where I’ve ever lived, calling someone crazy is never a good thing. But I have seriously had it – with the stigma, with us not talking about it, with the feelings of going crazy myself.
This post partum stuff hit me harder than I’ve ever been hit. And I have every symptom in the book of PTSD. So go figure. It’s been a really rough few months.
But now I’m on this pretty strict diet of prayer, running, yoga, prayer, music, gardening, running, prayer, music, support group, counselor+psychiatrist and PILLS. It’s definitely a winning recipe because I feel more myself than I have in a long time.
And even though it’s no fun to talk about depression – less fun to read about it, good grief, talk about a dive into the shallow water – I feel an obligation to, simply because we do it so rarely in our culture.
We know we should tuck our shirt in, brush our hair, put on a bright smile and pinch ourselves to keep the tears from coming when we push that cart in Target and something or other triggers this torrent of sadness and we can’t help but wonder what in the hell is WRONG with us anyway? Why can’t we keep it together, why are we so lonely, how can we feel this way when we have these beautiful children and loving partnership with a handsome, productive and intelligent individual?
Everyone else seems to happy, so pulled together.
And then, over time especially we come to understand that a lot of other people are faking it too. “Fake it till you make it” and all. It’s not a bad idea, like smiling when you don’t feel like it and then it will grow to become genuine. It’s just not okay when it goes on for too long. Not okay when we feel so alone and don’t see anyone else struggling in the same way we are; we can’t talk about it and our health insurance is a frickin’ joke.
That’s why I’m talking about it here.
So what do we do?
SomePrayer, running, yoga, prayer, music, gardening, running, prayer, music, support group, counselor+psychiatrist and PILLS. That’s what’s working for me right now.
What’s your magic recipe?
(and that’s a photo with some lyrics from one of favorite pull-me-out-of-the-abyss songs, Just Look Up)
Meriah Nichols is a counselor. Solo mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one on the spectrum). Deaf, and neurodiverse herself, she’s a gardening nerd who loves cats, Star Trek, and takes her coffee hot and black.