Mental Health Update

I've tried to be pretty open and honest about my mental health issues since I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety when Olivia was 7 months old.  They are things that I've always struggled with to some extent, but the postpartum period became unbearable for me shortly after Olivia's birth.  You can read more about when I finally came clean and got help here if you are so inclined.  You can also read here the best parenting advice I ever got and my pledge to be proactive about my mental health this time around. 
This time around we had a plan in place to deal with the fact that I was pretty likely to experience depression again.  I started back on medication the last few months of my pregnancy with Molly.  I also discussed with Glenn what I would do to take care of myself and came up with a plan of evaluating how I was doing.
Well, I am happy to report that between being on the medication again and the coping skills I learned in counseling last time (not to mention lots of prayer!) I am doing fantastic!  I am far less stressed with a two-month-old and a two-year-old than I ever was when Olivia was tiny.  I actually like being a mom!  I actually like being around my baby!  Yes, I know some of it is that I'm just a more relaxed parent and that Molly isn't as difficult as Olivia was, but the difference in how I feel is astounding to me.  Before trying to get pregnant with Molly I used to say with Glenn, "Well, the first year will be rough and then it will be fun again."  But the reality of it has turned out so much better.  And don't get me wrong - we have rough days, very rough sometimes.  And sometimes I feel like my patience is not going to make it until 5:00 when Daddy gets home to relieve some of the pressure, but this time I'm able to manage.  I'm also not wasting tons of energy trying to hide that my life is not perfect.  Good grief that was exhausting!  Being open and honest about where I am and what I am dealing with has been freeing, once I got the courage to come forward.  And so many other people have now shared with me that they have had similar struggles.  It's good to hear that I'm not alone.   

So here is my little public service announcement:  if you are struggling with depression, anxiety, or any other mental health issues you need to get help.  Yes, it's scary and it involves a lot of hard work but it is so worth it!  You don't have to be miserable.  You aren't alone.  Don't keep waiting thinking things will get better because a lot of times it won't on its own.  Be proactive and do what it takes to take care of yourself.  It won't be an easy road - mine wasn't - but things did get easier and life did get better again.  And if someone that cares about you tries to talk to you about getting help, try to listen.  And if you are concerned about someone you know that might be struggling, don't give up on them if they don't listen to you the first time.  It took more than one person expressing their concerns to me on more than one occasion before I finally really listened. 

Sometimes you don't even realize how bad things were until you start feeling better.  Looking back it almost scares me at how deeply depressed I was.  I'm so grateful that I now know that it doesn't have to be that way  - and it doesn't have to be that way for you either!


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