This week's story from a mental health warrior is about Postpartum Depression and progressing to and Generalized Anxiety Disorder and is being shared anonymously.
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What mental health challenges do you face? I had postpartum depression and that later evolved into anxiety. Although we figure I've always had anxiety, this just tipped it into me getting some help for it.
At what age were you diagnosed? in my mid-30s.
How do your mental health challenges affect your daily life? In the beginning I couldn't function. If I had more than one thing scheduled, I felt like I wouldn't have time to do anything else and I couldn't get started on anything. It ended up with me laying in bed a lot. After years of therapy and medication, it now affects me in different ways. I can feel when my anxiety starts to get out of control and I can give myself space to work through it. I also feel comfortable telling others when it gets to be too much.
What positive aspects do your mental health challenges bring to your life? I have amazing empathy for others and I am really good at helping other people process their emotions.
How do you see your particular mental health challenges being stigmatized? That people with anxiety aren't able to handle things or that taking medicine is not a good thing. I hate the memes that are like "get outdoors" and you won't need medication. Like, you don't know my story, and medication was the only way to help.
What do you do for self care? I schedule therapy sessions to help me process things that I'm struggling with at that time. I make clear boundaries and set expectations with others, and I no longer HIDE my anxiety. Everyone knows about it.
Any online resources that you recommend? I haven't found any, but I would suggest the emotion wheel. Helping pinpoint what is behind your emotions can help you dig into why you are feeling that way.
What would you say to someone who was just diagnosed with the same mental health diagnosis as you? It does get better. And on days where it doesn't, you are still better than you were before getting treatment. You are worth this investment.
Anything else you'd like to add? Please check on your new-mom friends. Everyone wants to see the baby and never asks about the mom, and if they are depressed this can push them to a darker place. Also, don't use anxiety and panic attacks in your daily language if you don't mean it-- it dilutes real conditions that people have!
Thank you for sharing my anonymous contributor. interested in sharing your mental health warrior stories to help normalize our mental health challenges - submit your story here