I’m thrilled to be a guest over at Stigma Fighters today, writing about how stigma continues to affect me, even 5 years post-diagnosis.
I’d like to say I’m immune from stigma. After 3 years of blogging about mental health, and 2 years as an advocate, you’d think I’d be able to shake the shame surrounding my diagnoses of postpartum anxiety (and postpartum depression, antenatal depression, postpartum OCD, and generalized anxiety disorder) with ease. And from the outside, it must seem that I do.
I speak freely about my experiences with friends and family. I’ve hosted public events, fundraising and educating my local communities. I write for Postpartum Progress, the most widely-read blog on maternal mood and anxiety disorders. And I’m helping organize and direct an entire conference dedicated to those Warrior Moms who have survived from them.
But what you probably don’t see? Is that when I speak in person about my mental illness, I measure my words carefully, making note of my audience and surroundings before I ever open my mouth. I watch the face of my conversation partner for signs of disgust disguised as pity, and I find myself wondering at times if that mom from playgroup doesn’t ever drop her kid off to play because “she’s afraid I might go cray-zee.”
You see, the only stigma I’m immune to is the one I hold against myself…
To read the rest of the story (you know you want to!) please head on over and say hello at Stigma Fighters. The work Sarah is doing to raise awareness and change the way the world views mental illness is so important.
If you need me, I’ll just be over here, fanning myself and trying to get over the fact that Christine Koh of Boston Mamas lent me some blogging real-estate this past week to talk about Postpartum Progress and Climb Out of the Darkness.
My five-year-old daughter bounded into my bed this morning, dashing my hopes of a few more winks of sleep with her Tigger-like enthusiasm. And as I returned her hugs and kisses, I cherished the small moment of happiness between us. Because there was a time when I could not return her love, when the gift of bonding was stolen from us both….
Please click on over to Boston Mamas to read more.
And if you haven’t donated yet to my Climb Out team? This is a great time. Our fundraising website is giving away several prizes in June, including an iPad mini, Jawbone Jambox, and Reef Sandals!
Click to donate to Climb out of the Darkness, Mt. Washington
I’m over at Postpartum Progress this week with three posts. Last night, I remembered that I hadn’t yet written a third post for the week, so I dragged my exhausted self to the keyboard and just started typing. What spilled out turned out to be exactly what I needed to write.
“I suffered from postpartum depression and anxiety with a side of OCD for two years after my first child was born. And though I sought treatment and began my path to wellness after my baby had her 5 month birthday, it took every last day of that additional 19 months for me to feel like I wasn’t waiting for the other shoe to drop. If you asked my husband, he’d tell you now that I’ve completely recovered from my PPD and from the antenatal depression that hit when my second child was still baking. But he’d also tell you that I still suffer.”
I hope you’ll join me over at Katherine Stone’s place to read the rest and find out how I’ve battled the guilt that followed my severe PPD.
Click the image to DONATE to my Climb Out of the Darkness hike!