I Am Not Defined by My Mental Health

I have depression…and anxiety for that matter. It seems like depression comes with a stigma. One that makes it seem as if I should walk around with the word depressed tattooed on my forehead. Depression comes in all shapes and forms. Everyone has different triggers and different signs. I have heard the comments made, “If she can’t take care of herself, than how can she take care of her kids.” My children don’t even know I have depression, but if they ask I would not hesitate to tell them.
 
Growing up, mental health wasn’t really a hot topic. No one talked about it, no one read about it, and if you had an issue, you kept it rather quiet. That is the last thing I want for my children. It is OK to have anxiety. It is nothing to be ashamed of. It doesn’t make you a bad parent. There are days where my depression is bad and all I do is sleep all day and stay in PJ’s. There are times when I can’t breathe, I feel like the weight of the world lies solely on my shoulders. I feel my anxiety constantly running through my body and my mind is running all over the place. I don’t talk to many people on those days, and if I do my conversations are short and that is OK. My children are happy and healthy. Just because there are days where I don’t want to get out of bed because of my mental health doesn’t make me a bad parent. My children still see me as an amazing mom.
 
I take medication to keep my mental health under control. It keeps me sane and grounded. If I didn’t, my mind would be all over the place. I would constantly be worried about my 5 year old in school, or what the latest illness was, or how the world could come to an end. I can’t let my anxiety or depression control me. If I did, I would be walking around in a fog on a day to day basis. So I take medication and I talk to people. I am high risk for postpartum depression but because I know my signs and symptoms, I can be on top of it. Mental health should be a topic of conversation, just as any other health problem. It isn’t something that should be frowned upon and it shouldn’t carry a stigma. The less it is talked about the more people it hurts. If you have depression it doesn’t make you a bad person, it makes you 1 of the 16 million that have it. The more we talk about it the more it can prevent horrible things from happening. Depression isn’t something you can just “get over”, it is something that takes a lot of hard work. Anxiety isn’t something that you can just fix by not worrying about things. 
 
I am a mom with depression and anxiety. This does not define who I am. I am not just having a bad day. I don’t need to just go out and smile more. I am not just dwelling on things I can’t control. I needed help and I got it. My children think I am a great mom. I may not have gotten out of pajamas today, I may not have talked much, I may not have been as interactive with my children today, but that’s OK. They know I love them, and I know that today is just a bad day for me and I need to focus on my mental health a little more. You are not alone, I am not alone, and mental health problems do not mean there is something wrong with you. It means you just need to fight a little harder, and it will make you a stronger person when you do. 
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