Friday, February 25, 2011

about Amber and Ann...


Yesterday, I sat down and talked to two other mothers who experienced Post Partum Depression and Post Partum Anxiety. We talked for almost 2 hours about the women we were before pregnancy, the women we became after having the baby, and the women we wanted to ultimately become. The entire time I talked to them, I could not help feeling a slight tinge of sadness that I had to find comfort from the ears of strangers…versus those who I had grown close to over the years.
It felt good to REALLY know that there are some women who have gone through EXACTLY what I have experienced in the last couple of years. I have read several accounts of women with PPD and my mother shared her experience with me. However, these women were sitting right across from me…and this has made a huge difference. They never assumed I was going to kill my daughter or that I even harbored those feelings. They were compassionate and empathetic. It was more of a relief and it actually helped.
This morning, a young lady tweeted how we are taught to take care of ourselves physically but most of us are not taught anything in regards to mental health. It is very true in my case.
I can still hear my father telling me, “No one really likes a stupid girl so that is why intelligence is so important.” So being smart was his focus. My mother was intent on teaching me all of the things that would allow me to be a good mate to someone one day (cooking, cleaning, submission, etc.). In the midst of ALL that teaching, never once did my parents teach me or my siblings how to deal with our “demons”. I honestly believe it was because they did not how to deal with their own.
After talking to Amber and Ann, it solidified my decision to educate my daughter about mental health. Just as eating McDonald’s everyday will ultimately lead to debilitating health, so will not releasing her emotions in a healthy way. I was taught not to cry, even when I was in physical pain. This taught me how to have a high tolerance to physical pain. I adopted the same attitude when it came to my mental health too…because my parents were not too keen on fully discussing how we felt either. At 31, I know that this has not helped me AT ALL.
Listening to Amber and Ann express how important it was for their children to be okay with how they felt, let me know I am not the only parent who obsesses about wanting the best, ACROSS THE BOARD, for their child. I do not want my daughter to ever feel like she has no one to go to. My parents live thousands of miles from me, as do my siblings. Pooda’s other grandparents live in another state and her father has no siblings. So sometimes it IS just us three. We are all we got. I never want her to forget that either…
Our friends are not always there for us when we need them the most and that is when you realize, sometimes you are more of a friend to other people than they are a friend to you. There is a quote that says, in summary, if you cannot deal with me at my worst, then you do not deserve me at my best. Every time I have tried to talk with someone I THOUGHT was close to me and they give off the vibe that this is not the conversation they want to have, I remember that quote. From the outside looking in, I might not appear to be “at my worst” but mentally, I know I am.
If we are REAL friends, you should at least have the balls to say “hey, I don’t know how to respond to this”. Completely brushing it off as if it is of no concern though? That lets me know where we stand. I have never desired to have friends who are not FULLY supportive so this shedding period has probably been long past due. We all want different things out of friendships but this is essential for me. Talking to Amber and Ann gave me the necessary clarity to just move the fuck on and away from these people.
They might be perfect friends to someone else but it is time for me to let go. I would say it is nothing personal but…it is. I am at a different place in life right now and I need people around me that understand that. If they do not want to see me walk away, they will communicate like the adults they are. If their level of comfort is more important, THAT, I will not take personal.  How could I when my level of comfort is SO important right now?
Amber is about to have her second son and she gave me the assurance I have been trying to swallow…it DOES get better. She said I might not walk away from this with EVERYTHING I desire but you cannot have it all. I knew that because logically, how could you not? But when it comes to how you FEEL, logic sometimes gets thrown out of the window. Sure it is easy to say “GET THE FUCK OVER IT!” but it is not that easy to do. MY ENTIRE LIFE HAS CHANGED…in two years. One day people will fully grasp that…
I was making good money at my job, driving the vehicle of my dreams, eating out whenever and wherever I wanted, taking trips out of town, picking up entire tabs when me and my friends would go out, buying clothes/shoes whenever I wanted, dating whoever I wanted, and other stuff that made my life SEEM grand.
ALL of that has changed…I am living the COMPLETE opposite of EVERYTHING I mentioned above. Anyone who says it is not that serious…is delusional. I had been independent for 13 years; moved out at 16 yrs old and been taking care of myself since then. There was no going back and forth to my parents financially or emotionally. So imagine what having to depend on someone else NOW would do to someone…while I have this tiny person who needs 100% of me. Yes, there is someone else going through a more terrible ordeal than I but the flip side to that is, there is someone else experiencing a better life than what I am living. Sorrow, pain, and adversity is all relative….
ALL pain feels the same…it hurts…regardless of it being a knife wound or a gun shot.
I will never downplay anyones anguish…so please do not downplay mine. If you cannot deal, just go away. We will both be better off.
So here is to improved mental health :-D

7 points of view:

ChiChi said...

I'm glad you're talking to someone who understands. It is kinda awkward when you don't know what to say to someone to make them feel better. I guess that's why I'm a great listener; I don't talk much and when I do, I don't want to say anything stupid if I can't relate.

Naturally Alise said...

Thanks for sharing this. It is funny how sometimes strangers are those who we end up getting comfort or understanding. Also knowing that other perfectly normal people are going through the same situation takes that feeling of stigma away. Sometimes our friends are in the same boat as far as not knowing how to deal with mental issues. Often what we see as friends turning their back are just people who are scared to even face their own demons so their natural reaction is to withdraw.

A.Smith said...

*snaps*

Amen all up and through here.

I remember the first time I had someone say to me, "I don't know what to say..." and I felt like they meant it in a "I want to help you, tell me how" way instead of a "this makes me uncomfortable" way. It was so utterly refreshing. Idk why folks feel like they HAVE to say something or feel like it's actually acceptable to brush someone off when they're clearly in need.

It's hard being a person who values true and real relationships amongst folks who clearly don't. Makes for a lot of heartache and whatnot when there doesn't need to be any.

I'm glad you found Amber and Ann, whether they end up being longterm friends or not, you needed what they gave you, period.

always4evamoi said...

yaaaaayyyy....
ohhhhhh im soooooo happy to hear that you found your support (yes, even if it's from "strangers")

i wish to point out my favorite parts:
"Our friends are not always there for us when we need them the most and that is when you realize, sometimes you are more of a friend to other people than they are a friend to you. There is a quote that says, in summary, if you cannot deal with me at my worst, then you do not deserve me at my best." THANK YOU!!

"I am living the COMPLETE opposite of EVERYTHING I mentioned above. Anyone who says it is not that serious…is delusional." THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!! (i was tired of explaining to people why i felt like i didn't who i was anymore in this new role)

"I will never downplay anyone's anguish…so please do not downplay mine. If you cannot deal, just go away. We will both be better off." THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!! AMEN!!

anyways, i will definitely toast to improved mental health ANYTIME!! *cheers*

Diamond~Star said...

It's been a while since I have been on blogger so I am checking out some of the post. Thanks for sharing your story. While I do not have any kids, my 18 year old niece is about to have twins and I think she goes through pre-pardum at times. I am glad to know that you are hear and able to talk about your story in hopes that others who read who may be going through something similar will be able to share their story too.

CraigJC said...

Glad you're able to talk about it. I'm sure that helps. The thing to remember is that it is very common, and, thankfully, temporary! This too shall pass!

AssertiveWit said...

Thanks for the comments EVERYONE. It is a day to day process but it helps SO much when there are people I can talk to and they actually UNDERSTAND.

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