Here it is. Laid out and on the table. I have been sad and I just don’t want to be anymore. Not like, “I’m sorry you’re having a bad day” sad, but a very real sad sad. And I am done with it.
I am done feeling like I need to keep it a secret. I am done with being embarrassed if anyone finds out about it. I am done feeling like a weak and pathetic failure if I admit it. I am done feeling damaged. I am done believing that I am broken.
I am done with it because I am not done with ME.
I have always had a rather fragile sense of self. I came from a house on a loose foundation that created a world of uncertainty. The years of never knowing if the ground beneath me would level out grew me into an adult with a very real anxiety about the world that I was in.
I continued on. I fumbled through as the big dreaming 20-somethings do.
I went through the motions, some impulsive moves and poor choices peppered in, I went forward and kept on par with the societal expectation. I went to college, I packed my bags and I travelled the world, I got a job, I met the man that became my husband.
I continued on see? Anxiety or no, self-assured or completely confused. I (like most) fumbled through.
That man that became my husband, he was a good choice (thank goodness). We had three beautiful babies (impulsive no more!) These were things I had longed for, ached to have.
Yet there I sat consumed with the sad.
This wasn’t a general anxiety thing. This wasn’t a rough day thing. This wasn’t a one day ‘THING’. It had become my life. There are less than a handful of people who have come to me (and only recently) asked, “Why? What happened? Don’t you have everything you ever wanted?”
That right there is the kick in the stomach about depression.
The ‘D’ word.
I do have everything I ever wanted! I love my husband (oh how I do) I am thankful every day for my three precious little people who call me mom. I love my home and where it is. I am healthy! I am free! I should be doing cartwheels every day for goodness sake. So why aren’t I?
Because I got lost.
I got lost inside my influx of hormones and the wild ride they took me on. I got lost through sleep deprivation. Did you know that there is a name for this? A NAME?! A name that isn’t “pathetic Amy” or “she complains too much” or “what is her problem” but a real medical name?
Hazaah and Hallelujah! I mean seriously!
Five years ago we welcomed our first child into the world. He did not sleep (at all) for 13 months. He did not nap, he did not sleep more than 1.5 hours at a time. He cried or screamed. That was his ‘thing’. I was pregnant again at 15 months. We welcomed our second into the world 3 years ago. He also did not sleep, but did, in his charming way, let his presence be known by long bouts of screaming as though his legs were on fire. Generally between the hours of 12 and 3 am. One year ago we welcomed our third child into the world. She was also not a fan of napping or sleeping through the night at first.
The moral of that tangent is I HAVE NOT SLEPT IN FIVE YEARS. My pregnancies were all challenging. The infancy of all three kids exhausting. My hormones barely levelled before getting pregnant again and I wonder what happened?!
But did I talk about it? No. Not in any real way. Did I mention it to my midwives? Maybe defensively. Because then I would be ‘that mom’ you know the one that has ‘the problems’. Did I reach out? Try and connect to friends? No. I withdrew for fear of judgment. I felt so desperately alone.
I should add in here, that job that I mentioned earlier was in the mental health field. One where I daily advocated for youth and their families struggling through all that Mental Health means and the various impacts it can have on lives.
So why? WHY?! Did I not reach out?
The stigma surrounding mental health is a very real thing. If I speak up and out about my experience and struggle will my husband still have faith I can be a good mom? Will he think I am broken and therefore less? Will I be an embarrassment to him? Will people whisper their opinions and cast judgmental glances? Will it impact my kids?!
Perception is everything.
So here I am. Speaking up and speaking out. Because thankfully I can. I’m not going to be embarrassed anymore. Things have been hard. This entire post could be about all of the reasons in which that statement is true. But this post isn’t about that. This post isn’t about how it was hard but about saying the hard thing.
I have been sad and I don’t want to be anymore.
This is my ampersand. I am putting a stop to what was by adjusting my perception.
I am opening the window to the help that I need and letting the rays of sunshine from days filled with possibility shine in. I am reaching up and reaching out. No one should ever feel so alone.
My favourite line in all my writing is what I will close with here.
And (&) then.
A world of possibility. Whether it be through symbol or song. What mental health needs is our voice.
Let your message, your story be heard.