As a social worker I've never been one to shy away from discussing mental health.
As a woman I've talked freely about my own postpartum anxiety experiences in hopes that other women would know they're not alone.
As a person I've got to tell you, depression is real.
Mental health is a real issue. It's not made up and it's not "in your head" ... funny term, isn't it? Because it IS in your head. But it's not make-believe.
I'm using today's Day of Light to let it be known, to anyone out there questioning what's wrong with them. To anyone out there struggling to get out of bed in the morning, every.single.morning. To those among us who don't want to leave their homes. Ever. Who crawl under the covers and want to spend all of the moments of every day that way.
And to those out there who leave their beds, aching, crying, fighting the whole time. Those who go to work and close the office doors or bathroom stalls for a hidden sobfest. To those among us who rely on a little make-up to hide the red noses and puffy eyes.
You're not alone.
This is REAL.
What your mind is telling you? What you're feeling and thinking? It's not made up. It's not a bunch of bull. It's real. And it's rough. It sucks sometimes. But you're not alone.
There is help. Support. Reminders.
People out there who have been where you are and have made it to the other side.
Amazing, beautiful, powerful people - just like YOU.
Who have crawled out of that darkness and found the light.
Who have opened their mouths and let their voices help them heal.
Reach out. Talk to someone. Let them know what's going on with you. Let them help. Let them help you find the help you need.
Sometimes it's medication. Don't be so quick to walk away from that as an option. Medication does not have to be forever. It can help you find your way out of the hole and get you back on your feet. It might be something you choose to rely on for the rest of the days, it might be something you need to rely on. But there is no harm in that. At all.
If you have a headache do you take a pain reliever? If you have a sinus infection/cold/flu do you take antibiotics? Decongestants? Cough medicine? Don't say no right away. Think about it. Have you never EVER taken a medication to help you get better before? EVER?
If you had cancer would you go for treatment? If you had diabetes would you monitor your sugar levels? These are illnesses. They are not your fault.
Neither is depression.
Depression is not your fault.
Depression is a part of who you are. Your body chemistry. Your mind. The way it works.
You are NOT broken. You just need a little help to get you back on track.
Let someone help you. Reach out. Talk about it.
Afraid to talk to a friend or family member? Fearing judgment? It's okay. Many of us are afraid to tell those closest to us what's happening. Find a therapist. Tell your primary doctor. Talk to your gynecologist. I don't care who you talk to - but talk to someone.
Don't curl up in a ball and hide. We don't want to lose you to this. There is a way out. There is a light. Let someone help you find it. Trust in it. Believe in it. It's there. You just need to FEEL it before you can SEE it. Because it is there.
And to those of you who don't experience these symptoms, remember to consider those around you. You might think this has not touched anyone you know. Think again. Look at your friends and family members. Really look. So many have been impacted by depression and anxiety around us and one of the most dangerous things we can do is ignore it. So reach out. See how you can help. Don't be afraid. They're scared to tell you. Make it easier for them simply by letting them know you're there.
Consider the moms among those you know and see what they're going through. Postpartum Depression is a different entity in and of itself, but it, too, is quite real. Head on over and read some information on postpartum women who will show you strength like you've never known. Take some of that strength. It's theirs, and it's yours.
Depression is real. Allow yourself to admit that and get help. It's out there.
You're NOT alone.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
* Support is available 24/7. All calls are confidential.
Postpartum Support International: 1-800-944-4PPD (4773)
* email firstname.lastname@example.org
Band Back Together
Information on Depressive Disorders
Want to join in and post something for today's #DayOfLight? Find out how over at Pushing Lovely.