Something about 2020 has us more aware of the celebratory non-calendar-official holiday days.
Recently, it was World Mental Health Day. I believe more people were aware of it this year because mental health has become less of a hush-hush issue and more of a “we need to prioritize mental health.”
For me, mental health issues could be grouped into three categories in no particular order:
- Crazy or Psychotic
- Bat Sh*t Crazy
- Britney Spears 2007
In a three-year time frame, I had got married, had a baby born with medical needs, moved out of my “Single Girl” apartment into a family one, baby had two major surgeries, found out I was pregnant again, moved back home to Lubbock (best decision ever), had the second baby, the first baby had multiple febrile seizures in a 24-hours resulting in me sleeping in a hospital “recliner” five-days postpartum, started a new job, began the process of an unnecessarily long divorce, and moved again into my single-mom house. I was not okay.
After I had my second child, I went to my OB for my yearly check. I told a wonderful nurse how I was feeling and was given my prescription in March 2018. I kept it in the armrest of my car for four months before I filled it. Why? I was afraid.
I was afraid that if my kids’ dad found out that I was taking it, he would try to use it against me in court as a reason to take away my kids.
I was afraid of what someone would say if they knew that I had to take medication to feel normal.
I had more breakdowns than I can remember – weekly. Little things would set me off, and thanks to severe preeclampsia add in on-going high-blood pressure – the mixture was crippling. I completely understood what 2007 Britney was going through. During a counseling session, my counselor asked if I had filled the prescription. Lady, I am self-medicating with Dr. Pepper and saltine crackers; I don’t need pills! I’m fine!
Later that summer, to keep my mind off of my boys being away from me for the first time for an extended period, I occupied my time with a friend at Barnes & Noble. She was taking a class and doing a research paper on postpartum depression and anxiety. Through her research, I learned postpartum depression and anxiety, if untreated, can come about at any point after having a baby. The light-bulb turned on, and I went and filled my prescription that day.
If you read nothing else, read this: Postpartum depression isn’t a character flaw or a weakness.
The stigma that depression, of any sort, is a flaw or a weakness and can be “cured” with a good diet and exercise is the biggest crock we have been told to believe since we were told not to wear white after Labor Day.
As a society, we have gussied up prioritizing and taking care of your mental health with #SelfCareSaturdays – as if your mental health can wait until Saturday and only Saturday to recharge. *insert eye roll*
Moms in 2020 have endured a LOT and taken on loads and loads of unexpected stress while continuing to put ourselves last.
The U.S. Department of Human Services has a Women’s Health division, which houses tons of resources to get help and techniques to help with your mental health. I encourage you to bookmark it and check back frequently.
You cannot pour from an empty cup.
You deserve to be the best version of you EVERYDAY. While a spa day is a treat, it should not be used in an effort to feel normal again. Investing in your mental health is an investment in your family, work, and friendships.
It’s time to stop apologizing for putting yourself first.