A couple weeks ago I did a little tweet on Twitter asking if anyone was interested in guest posting on Mommy Needs Therapy while I was on vacation this week. I was so excited when Hip_MOM at Happy Healthy Hip Parenting said she was interested! She and I have quite a bit in common, and I'm honored that she felt safe enough on my blog to share some of her life with us!
I've been invited to write over here while KATT is out of town. It's a bit of a challenge to write for someone else, somewhere else, since I want to make sure I don't offend anyone so you want to come back to this site but I don't want my readers to enjoy Mommy Needs Therapy so much that they make the leap and replace her site with mine for reading material.
This is why I haven't told my readers that I'll be posting here. Actually, that's a lie. I did tell them I'd be posting here and was so excited at the idea of promoting my own blog that I read Mommy Needs Therapy from header to footer in order to inspire some sort of discussion that would appeal to both my readers and hers.
While I realize that this post is more serious than I tend to be, and less exciting than the times I've written about sex in the suburbs or dating after divorce, I couldn't get past the title of the blog as far as wanting to really share with readers why I was so drawn to Katt's writing in the first place.
Here's my feeble attempt:
I've been in therapy before, several times. In fact, I owe my life, literally, to my last therapist who helped me get out of an abusive relationship, encouraged me to pursue my dreams and allowed me the opportunity to express myself openly and honestly, through tears and laughter.
My first experience with therapy was during college. The second therapist I went to came into my life at a time when I was depressed and experiencing a plethora of emotions surrounding my upcoming marriage. And finally, my last therapist was the man who helped me realize that my marriage was ruining my self-esteem and my husband would continue to be verbally abusive as long as I allowed it.
During college, and through all of these life experiences, I turned to writing, realizing how therapeutic it was for me. I wrote poetry during college and continue to keep a journal.
It's taken me years to finally comprehend how depression and anxiety played such a major role in my life. I made many bad decisions because I was in such a different state of mind than I would've been had I simply taken others' advice and got help or continued taking the medication that so obviously made the difference.
Today, I'm not ashamed to say that I'm on anti-depressants as well as having a prescription for an anti-anxiety medication that I take as needed.
Since I knew my depression was an issue, I made sure to tell my OB about it while I was pregnant. She made sure to monitor me and was a bit more gentle with me, I felt, when discussing the sensitive issues surrounding my pregnancy and the c-section I was to have.
Immediately after giving birth, I began to feel the depression taking over once again. It hit me so hard in the hospital that by the time I was back home, I thought that the baby blues were normal and that they would eventually dissipate. I have never been more wrong.
Looking back, I can tell you that post-partum depression was damaging to me in many ways, and to the many people that were a part of my life. My husband, especially, was affected by my issues, as was my son since he was there to witness the downfall of our marriage.
Back to the present: My sister just had a baby. He's 8 weeks old and she also had a c-section. Although this is baby #2 for her, I still felt the need to remind her about my experience with post-partum depression and how it took me three years - 3 years - to finally start taking action and getting a prescription to help me manage and function on a daily basis.
She's taking anti-depressants already - I want to say because of my reminder - and she noticed a dramatic improvement after just a few days.
The stigma behind psychological disorders and being prescribed with "happy pills" or "my chill pill," as I refer to it, has gone through some changes over the years. People now make jokes - openly - and reference their experience by laughing it off, myself included.
But, the funny thing is, I need to talk about it more. I need to be up front with people, new moms especially, and let them know that my experience is not uncommon. I also make jokes about needing a drink in the middle of the morning or refer to alcohol as another form of therapy. That's not a lie. I do take pleasure in the relaxing effect that an ice cold beer or glass of wine has on me. I also shop when I reach a high level of anxiety or indulge in chocolate or enjoy ice cream (in higher doses).
I don't think there's anything wrong with having these things or experiences in our lives that offer us comfort. I do think there are times when people overdo it and allow these habits to turn into addictions. There's definitely a fine line there.
Katt's blog has inspired me in many ways. Because she and many other writers are so open about their life and their experiences, I've learned to become more open in my writing, and real. Readers thank me for my frankness and willingness to share.
For me, writing is therapeutic and I thank you, and Katt, for allowing me a little piece of my mind (and medicine for my soul).