Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Climb Out of the Darkness

I bought this after my time in the hospital
"she was grateful for the brightness of being alive"
I was diagnosed with postpartum depression two years ago. Little did I know that when I took that first step to get help I was one of ONLY 15% of the MILLION women in the US who has taken that step! When I chose to push aside the shame and embarrassment that I felt of being a new mom of two whose "loving high" of motherhood had somehow flickered in a moment and was replaced with extreme darkness, I had no idea my courageous steps were saving my life.

Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the first year postpartum. The stigma of maternal mental illness is glaring us in the face and many women have struggled alone and in silence... because of this many have lost their lives.

Since writing about my own experiences with PPD and anxiety I have been astounded by the number of friends who have reached out to me to share their own pain. So many of them felt they were alone in their suffering. So many found the courage to seek help. The ability to look beyond what you "should" be like to what is truth... that you may have an illness... is a VERY hard thing to do.

A friend recently shared information on an event that I am looking forward to participating in this June. It is called the Climb Out of Darkness. Here is what it is...

Postpartum Progress’ Climb Out of the Darkness® is the world’s largest event raising awareness of maternal mental illnesses like postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety & OCD, postpartum PTSD, postpartum psychosis, postpartum bipolar disorder, and pregnancy depression and anxiety.

Climb Out of the Darkness is held on or near the longest day of the year annually to help shine the most light on perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. The event features mothers and others across the globe joining together to climb mountains and hike trails to represent their symbolic rise out of the darkness of maternal mental illness and into the light of hope and recovery.

For more information on the climb and the amazing organization behind it click here

Love my motivational jewelry!
"Be... free, courageous, at peace, true, brave, strong, thankful"
I decided to participate in the climb for two reasons:

First to bring awareness and to help chip away at the stigma. There is nothing to be ashamed of! Women need to know this and they also need to be aware of the signs of postpartum mental disorders. Professionals also need to be aware of how they can help. I had to see may different nurses, doctors and therapists before I found the ones that were truly able to help me and understand what was really going on with me. Possibly with more awareness this may not have to be the case for others...

The second reason is for myself. I have fought hard against this illness. Very hard. There are still difficult days but I have come SO very far. I thank God for bringing me through this time... for helping me climb this mountain. I thank God for giving me an amazing husband, friends and family. I am such a different person because of this experience and I like who I see. I want to celebrate that!

Will you join me and support me in my climb? You can donate by clicking here. 

And again here is the information on what your money will do. Thank you so much!! Let's see what else God has in store for me as I use my story and my struggles for His glory.

A Balancing Act

Balancing the littles!
The balance beam of life... ah what a tricky thing it is. Throw in a long bout of depression and anxiety and cross your fingers that your multiple tumbles off won't cause you to just want to give up. After so many turbulent tumbles it is hard to remember what the balance beam looks like, much less how to walk forward on it. Tilt too far to the left and you aren't doing enough, tilt too far too the right and you are doing too much, stop dead in the middle and you are just... stuck. Stuck thinking it was so much easier to balance BEFORE... or maybe since I was just unaware of myself and who I was... it was much easier to pretend to balance... to convince myself that I had it, that I understood how life was supposed to go.

Today I stand on the balance beam once again feeling confident and able some days, wobbly and weak others, ready to walk forward in a somewhat steady fashion. Trying to remember the feel of staying upright and yet walking with a whole new understanding of myself and learning how that feels.

Here is a very small glimpse into my balancing struggles... the middle point is where I'd love to be all the time.

On exercising:
  • I want to be a blob and eat chocolate
  • I want to run for ME! Because it makes ME feel good!
  • I want to exercise and watch my food because that is what I have to do because if I don't I will not have a good body shape and look at all those others and how they look!  I need to COUNT every calorie and exercise EVERY DAY and if I don't THAT IS BAD!
On being a mom:
  • I don't want to be a mom today! I just want to let them run a muck and watch tv!
  • Lets read together, play together, go outside, have quiet time, watch a few shows... just be
On my depression/anxiety:
  • I feel so down, why do I still feel depressed some days!? I don't want to do anything! And I am so anxious I can't even breath... why am I STILL dealing with days like this!?
  • Hey... I still deal with being sick sometimes... and it's OK... I love you ElisaBeth... it's here but you don't have to dwell in it... one step at a time
Bring it on balance beam! I know I am not going to be right on the mark every day and I know that tumbles will still come but I am thankful for this journey. I am thankful that I am able to get back up on the beam. I am thankful that I don't have to balance alone... God is with me and all I need to do is look to Him and my soul will be steadied and empowered to keep on going.