My mother claims it started when I was about two or three years old and would complain about my socks. They were never on correctly or comfortable enough. I’d spend 5 minutes getting them just right. As I got older my list of weird quirks grew. To this day, I hate the touch of newspaper; wash my hands about 15x a day and refuse to get into bed with dirty feet. I refuse to drink out of reusable plastic cups at diners, and I will not wear clothes that have been dried on the the clothesline- need to make sure to fluff them in a the dryer before wearing them (otherwise they’re too stiff).
Back when smoking was allowed in bars when I was college, I made a boyfriend take a shower after we went out to a bar before staying over because I couldn’t stand the thought of all that bar dirt in my bed. (Forget the fact that he didn’t even smoke but I did! I would shower every night before bed as well). I’ve driven half way to work just to turn around to make sure the oven was off- more times than I’d like to admit. To say the least, I have a mild case of OCD. While I don’t have counting issues and repeating rituals, this OCD results in extreme anxiety. I started getting massive panic attacks, which resulted in mild depression. Why couldn’t I just be normal like everyone else?
According to The Mayo Clinic Women are nearly twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with depression. Depression can occur at any age.
I’m not convinced if it is hormonal differences between the genders, or the simple fact that women reach out for help more often than men do. Regardless, what I do know that it is mental illness is a colossal issue that is mostly overlooked by society and actually looked down upon by many, as if someone is simply not trying hard enough to be normal. It’s not talked about enough. It’s embarrassing to share why seemingly normal activities can cause you a massive panic attack.
In a broad overview of the heinous acts of mass violence that has occurred across our country over the almost the past twenty years; from Columbine to Sandy Hook and other many devastating incidents in between and since (unfortunately too long to list here), the only consistent correlation between all of these events is that the person executing and carrying out these acts were not of sound mind.
There has been so much debate about gun control, boarder issues and honestly just a lot of bickering bullshit that has nothing to do with policy change on important issues. We are brushing the real issue of mental health under the rug. We’re in the midst of electing a new President and the only issues being debated relating to these problems are gun control and planned parenthood and abortion. Why is no one paying attention to the bigger underlying issue of MENTAL HEALTH?!
This is after all, a mom blog so I will bring this back full circle, I promise. I don’t claim to be an expert on any of these political issues, or even have an answer to propose, just my own experience to share.
There is a silent issue among many women I know that isn’t being talked about. There’s a stigma of treating mental illness and many don’t realize it trickles down and effects the most “seemingly normal people” you’ll ever meet and probably don’t have a clue that they’re suffering with some major issues; specifically women and mothers.
In hindsight, I now have come to realize that I had post partum depression after my first child was born. Yet, at the time I wasn’t visiting my regular doctor anymore and was busy taking my newborn to a slew of one week, two week, one month pediatric appointments where all the questions were directed to and pertaining to my extreamly colicky child. No professional asked how I was coping, and I was on the verge of a breakdown.
My depression and anxiety has put a stress on my marriage and at times I have felt as though I’ve let my children down because I haven’t been the best mother at times. My mind was constantly focused on the next task at hand and was running a mile a minute.
Dishes needed to be washed, lunches needed to be packed, bills needed to be paid. My second child didn’t sleep through the night until he was two years old and still occasionally wakes up. I was exhausted.
Working full time and trying to be the perfect mom was putting immense pressure on me. I was wound so tightly, I was always pissed off. I picked fights with my husband and was generally just completely overwhelmed. If you know me, this may surprise you because I like to present myself as if I’ve got it all together. I am successful at work, outgoing and not an introvert. I was just suppressing all of these feelings. I was not IN the moment and constantly stressed about the next thing that needed to be done. I was trying to be perfect and placed way too much pressure on myself.
After three long years of living like this, I finally decided it had become too much and made an appointment with my doctor. This was by far the best decision I have made. It took my family and and I little while to get adjusted to my new medication and it’s still a work in progress but I’m headed in to the right direction. I’m much more patient with my children and husband and I’m actually happy.
I’m not saying that medication is for everyone. Exercise helps, seeing a therapist works for others, dedicate a night to yourself for some alone time if you need to, grab a coffee with a friend; but whatever you do, make sure you take care of yourself.
Life is short. Managing a family and children is hard work and there is no shame in asking for help. You deserve it, and your family does as well. Don’t stay silent. Continue this conversation with your friends and family and you’ll be surprised how much support you’ll receive if you just open up to someone. Lets work on getting this issue out there more so women like me don’t have to suffer as long as I did.
I’m with you, mama ❤️
Coastal Mama 😘