Not long ago someone mentioned that i was a ‘headcase’ for having been through Postnatal Depression, anxiety etc. That i was unstable & even questioned my abilities to be a mother to more children! After originally being pissed off & wanting to dish out bitch-slaps, i’ve thought long and hard about it, the annoyance has faded and further confirmation has set in that the lack of true awareness surrounding mental health in mother’s, mother’s-to-be & new mother’s is rife. I mean, i’m recovered & still face the stigma for having been through it even though no-one is immune. You can be the most strong-willed, headstrong & optimistic person and let me tell you -it can still creep up and try to destroy you & your family. The difference is i’m saying it aloud & publicly so i should basically welcome the criticism really. I don’t mind, i expected it what with the blog, support group going public etc i have a sense of humour & a thick skin. What i do mind is that people saying these small-minded things goes on to stop a number of people admitting they have a problem for fear of the same judgement. That is not okay.
What does that tell you about society? Would a twenty-seven year old, otherwise healthy, woman be told those things after battling and kicking cancer’s ass, or any other illness? Would it be accepted more that they find themselves depressed? But they could die, they’re fighting or have fought for their lives! Yeah, well so are the many mother’s fighting their own minds to take themselves from the world and their families because their unmanageable thoughts are telling them it’s the only option they have (see Media). That they will be chastised by the majority of people around them for being ‘weak’ and incapable of simply living or being a mother, wife, daughter, sister etc. Fear leads to isolation and loneliness -how can someone seek out help and voice their concerns when people are telling them they’re fucked up for feeling this way?
Let me tell you, depression, anxiety etc they can accompany most illnesses which means train of thought can’t always be trusted in those circumstances. It could jeopardise ones ability to make sensible choices, be all they need to be? Yeah, whilst unwell and in treatment, sure.
But afterwards? When those individuals have bravely chose to fight, have sought out help when they realise there is help, that it does qualify as a medical condition, they’ve gone through therapies, worked hard to fight their own mind & re-program their thoughts to how they used to be everyday because they want to fix the problem & they do -they recover. Hell-fucking-no.
Would you tell an amputee to sack their plans or dreams because they couldn’t possibly live up to what would be a socially acceptable and a capable human being for having been through such hardships and battles? Would you say scrap treatment, man-up & get on with it, shake it off? No, because that would be rude, right? Incorrect, unethical & perhaps impossible, yeah? Exactly. You see there is a process they would have to go through. It comes down to the word ‘choice’, you do not choose to face some shitty things in life, they just come at you. I don’t like to compare. Everyone has struggles and of course they’re different, but the end game is the same: we fight & adjust to things that try to destroy us mentally or physically, we fight to live with ourselves for ourselves and our families, why should some of those people be praised for their efforts and some chastised?
Don’t get me wrong, i’m not spitting fire at those that have negative opinions or a lack of patience surrounding mental health, i’m just saying that it all boils down to being uneducated about the subject. Ask me about the ins & outs of, say, diabetes? I wouldn’t have much to discuss or be opinionated about because i simply don’t know enough about it! I wouldn’t, however, tell someone that had to inject themselves with insulin daily and keep a constant eye on their diet etc that they were any less of a person. It makes me sad that there is a huge platform that could be used to sort this shit out: newspapers, magazines, endless online sites/ social media etc, not straight away but gradually. Like the selling of stuff, you market it correctly, you keep it in the minds of potential customers and tell them they want it & they’ll eventually naturally believe and gravitate to accepting it. It says a lot when we believe a lot of the crap products apparently do because we’re told to believe it, but we can’t have each other’s back with struggles and make it a trend to support one another.
I had a radio interview the other day & i don’t think i said these important points, instead focussing on the support group (Highland Mama’s) that i set up through PANDAS and the upcoming trek to raise money for PANDAS (since they run solely on donations) and why i was doing it etc. I wish i did mention stigma more & i wish i knew how to express these things briefly & simply (without swearing) but i guess it may still put PND in the mind of those that hear it, i only hope it works and that mother’s questioning whether to seek help or not see that there is nothing wrong with doing so. And that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
I ask anyone that is not directly affected by any of the pre or postnatal illnesses that may see this to have an open mind and an open heart. To see a mother and give her a smile. To give a father a smile too, because they’re not immune to being affected either you know. And most of all to fight stigma of any kind, any kind.
And i ask:
- those in the midst of any PND journey to keep your head up and your fight constant.
- those just finding out that they have either pre or postnatal depression, anxiety, OCD, psychosis etc not to be scared. Be relieved that 1) you are not alone 2) there is help 3) it won’t last forever
- those that came out of the other end to never be mad about the lack of understanding, but encouraging of folk learning.
And that is my midnight rant. I was going to talk about what’s been happening lately, some hurdles, the trek, my progress & the things i’ve learned when facing possible ‘bubble days’ etc but i’ll let you’s know another time with some updated photos, vids. But so far so good!