May is Mental Health Awareness Month.
You have most likely seen and/or heard stories from brave men and women who are struggling with a mental health illness. I want to talk about my mental health story.
My mental health story began right after I had my first child three years ago.
The Postpartum Depression and Anxiety hit me hard. I cried for nearly three months straight and dealt with the depression for an entire year. I was so confused and scared to tell anyone what I was feeling for fear of what they would think of me. I was a brand-new mom who did not know what she was doing. I remember panicking every night when the sun would go down. The darkness outside could only be matched by the darkness of the season I had found myself in. Thankfully, I spoke up a few months in and started talking about what I was experiencing. I started getting off of the couch, taking care of myself, going outside, etc and slowly but surely, nearly a year after our daughter was born, I stepped out of the depression. It was only by God's grace that I made it out alive and I am so grateful. Now I want to scream my story from the rooftops until all women reach out for help.
The depression ended, but I still battle with anxiety on a weekly and sometimes daily basis. It is something that I carefully deal with and have learned a lot about over the past few years. The picture of my beautiful children and I may seem strange to go along with this post. However, it makes perfect sense to me. Something that you probably don't know about me is that I have to make myself get out of the house sometimes. When my anxiety is particularly high I tend to stay home more. I realized the other day that I was staying home and not getting out enough when my sweet next door neighbor said she notices that I hardly ever leave. I have severe anxiety over taking my two littles out by myself. I often ask myself questions like: What if someone tries to grab them? How will I deal with a tantrum in public? How will I watch both kids at the same time? Then I talk myself into staying home and that isn't good for anyone's mental health.
Now don't read my words wrong here, friend! I think that we should be careful in public regardless of the age of the child. We don't live in a fantasy land and people do still get kidnapped. It is also so exhausting to unbuckle and buckle two little kids in carseats a hundred times while running errands. However, staying home letting my anxiety keep me from living my life is not acceptable either.
That picture was taken recently at the library. I didn't really want to go anywhere that day but I knew that I needed to get out and get some fresh air. My kids need a happy mom. A mom who lives life and trusts God; even when things are hard. I want to show them that we must do hard things to overcome them. Even when my anxiety is through the roof and I don't want to move. I still go. They are part of my "why" I keep pushing forward. So we went out for the day and we had a great day. I conquered, with the help and strength of God, another day with anxiety. I did not let satan keep me home and anxiety-ridden. I moved my feet and I want you to move your feet. Moving your feet may look like the following for you:
1. Talking to your doctor about medication
2. Seeing a therapist
3. Changing your lifestyle
4. Talking to someone
Asking for help the way YOU need it, friend! Only you can decided what your help looks like and I want you to get that help.
I am no ashamed to tell my story. You shouldn't be ashamed either, friend! I used to be ashamed, scared and even horrified at what people would think. Then I realized that so many woman were dealing with the same thing and that I had to share my story. The truth is that I am very happy and content with my life even when my anxiety bothers me. I can live my life with peace in my soul.
You can live your life with peace in your soul because God already conquered anxiety, depression and all darkness. The sky still darkens from time to time, but I know that in the end God wins which means I, His child, am a winner too. Anxiety doesn't win. Depression doesn't win. Satan doesn't win. Only God wins.
Recently, I decided that I need to see a counselor. I have issues from childhood that I didn't deal with that have surfaced in my life. I have researched counselors and plan on seeing one soon. I say that proudly because asking for help is strong. Hiding away and dealing with things on your own is not strong. It is dangerous to hide out when you feel so low.
I am begging you. Fellow anxiety and depression sufferers are begging you; get help!
Praying for you always, friend!