It’s two years since I came forward on this blog to talk about my journey through PostNatal Depression. Two years. Twenty Four Months. My son has grown up into a little boy, and me? I’ve changed too. Over the last two years I have come across a whole lot of different experiences when talking about my mental health. Most people are well meaning, and some interactions are really lovely. Others leave a lot to be desired. I got to thinking, perhaps a how-not-to-do-it list might work for a Mental Health Mondays post. (And then I got distracted by all the doom in the world so here we are on Tuesday, better late than never) So, here we are: 7 Things You Really Shouldn’t Say To Someone With Depression.
Through this series, Mental Health Mondays, I’ve gotten to read and share some incredible stories of strength, character and even humour from other parents who have lived with mental health issues. It’s been inspiring and encouraging and has left me feeling so much part of a real group – parents who’ve battled our demons and lived to tell the tale. This week’s poster, Ellemental Mama, is yet another inspirational lady who has contributed to the series. Her piece looks at the good and the bad, the ups and the downs, in fighting depression. Hopefully you will find it as wonderful a viewpoint as I have!
Happy Monday! This week for Mental Health Monday, the lovely Jen from The Medicated Mommy has agreed to share a piece about her postpartum depression. This one is a bit different – she’s writing about the reasons that she is thankful for her postpartum depression. It’s not exactly the first thing you’d think of being for postpartum depression – it’s certainly far from the first thing I was and am – bitter, angry, annoyed being ahead in the line. It’s a really great piece which was eye opening to the things that can be brought out from it, and I’ve definitely started looking on my own experience in a different way.
It’s been a hectic few weeks with being away and trying to get back into the swing of things with E – September was a rollercoaster! However, back to normal scheduling now, so that means another addition to Mental Health Monday! This week, the very lovely Laura from Raising Elves has agreed to share her tale of trauma, depression and how it has affected her family life with the series. It’s a piece I found myself agreeing with a lot of and it summed up just so much of what being in the trenches with depression can feel like. As a parent with depression, I can see a lot of the same elements in my own life and it gave me pause to think about how it is impacting his life too. It’s an eyeopening read which I think a lot of people will relate to. So, without further fuss or ado, here’s Laura with her tale of being an awesome depression survivor!
This week’s Mental Health Monday piece is from my archives – not my personal story, but a piece I wrote in conjunction with others for a magazine piece. It was eye opening for me to learn about prenatal depression and to speak to Madge and Rosey who have experience in the area. It’s something that is so rarely spoken about, which can lead to more feelings of isolation in pregnancy with women who do suffer with it. Hopefully you’ll find it insightful and a useful read.
The day you find out youâ€™re pregnant is a life-changing day. Whether it is your first or your fourth, a planned new addition or an unexpected surprise, when that test changes to a positive sign, your heart will race and everything changes. For some it is a moment of absolute bliss, but for others, it can take a while for the news to sink in and to process whether or not this is a good thing. The image of a panicked woman and a pregnancy test in hand is not just reserved for the teenager terrified to tell her parents â€“ even when youâ€™ve got your life sorted out, that positive test can rock you to your core and make you think about what you really want in your life.
As a general rule, I have this depression/mental health thing sorted. I’ve gotten help from my GP, I’ve an understanding partner and family, I’ve seen a psychiatrist regularly over the last two years. I take my meds every night, I make sure to try to get sleep, I know it’s good to talk. For all intents and purposes, for the most part I like to consider the black dog my bitch. There have been a few dips, of course, to teach me my place, but I put a lot of it down to having too much time to think while out of the workplace. So when I returned to work I assumed I wouldÂ be on the home free road. And we all know what they say about people who assume.
I’m really happy with how this series has been going; the ability to share the stories of others who have experience with mental illness and mental health issues to a broad platform. I’m learning a lot along the way, and I guess that’s the point – for all I can say I think I know about mental health, there are a million stories out there containing things I’d never even imagine. Unlike the image thrown out there in the media, mental health is about more than anxiety and depression, it’s about more than going and getting a full nights sleep, eating right and exercising. The amazing Fiona, who writes at Sunny SpellsÂ and Scattered Showers, wrote a fantastic piece this week about her views on how mental illness is represented in the Irish media, which appeared in the Irish Times. Fiona writes on her blog about her experiences with BPD – borderline personality disorder – and the different therapies which she has encountered, the struggles and the triumphs and how it affects her and her family. I was thrilled when she agreed a few weeks back to join this series as I feel her experience is definitely one which we don’t get to hear much about and is so important to add to our understanding.
Through blogging, I have discovered the power of talking about mental health and how it can not only help me to let it out, but also to read others writing about their experiences – a problem shared is a problem halved, and all that. I am of the belief that mental health is something we need to work to de-stigmatise in this country, the time of our sheltered attitudes towards people “suffering from their nerves” and shunning those who suffer in silence needs to be gone. Thankfully this seems to be a changing attitude in modern Ireland. We are living in a time where mental illness is becoming a public concern – recent reports have shown dramatic increases in the amounts of clinical depression diagnoses, linked to the economic crisis and it’s effect on family life in Ireland, while various charity events are held on a regular basis to raise awareness and funds for groups who provide mental health supports in the community. As a society, we are learning that it is important to talk. (more…)