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Mom mental illness

What do you wish people knew about your mental illness?

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A few weeks ago, we interviewed Heidi Bartle, a Colorado mom with depression about her bipolar disorder, about her beautiful children’s book “When Mommy is Sad.” 

And then on social media, we recently saw the question “What do you wish people knew about your mental illness?”

The responses have a common theme: that no two people’s story is the same. Here is a sampling:

  • That depression is real, and it’s not a choice to not be happy. Some just have unrealistic expectations for what we can do or want to do and it’s impossible alone to do it all.
  • That sometimes you can’t just “choose” to be happy.
  • That no matter how much work we put into it, it doesn’t go away.
  • Therapy can’t erase trauma. Just because I’m getting help or taking medication doesn’t mean that I’m cured.
  • That we just cant turn it off like a light… we have to mental build a wall back up.
  • That it is an illness. A chronic illness. People who suffer from mental health conditions. Can’t become well by just “thinking positive.”
  • No more than someone with diabetes can just make their pancreas work correctly and make insulin! It is a serious medical condition that affects our brain. And the symptoms can sometimes be debilitating and extremely hard to cope with.
  • That you can’t just snap out of it. And that saying just get over it or stop thinking about it makes it so much worse.
  • I wish I always had the mental state of mind to keep my home neat and tidy, but it is a symptom of my depression.
  • That im not being lazy.
  • Telling people they have “no reason to be depressed” doesn’t make the depression go away or better.
  • That sometimes we really are ok. Like really ok. And then other times we are really really not ok. And that can all be within the same few hours of each other. And nothing has to of happened to make the switch flip. And we can’t just go back to being ok just because we were mere hours/moments ago. Oh and asking what’s wrong 50 gazillion times is definitely not helpful.
  • It isn’t something that can just be fixed if you really wanted to.
  • That suicide isn’t a selfish act.
  • You can lead a productive life and do everything or a lot of things and still be suffering.
  • That it’s not weakness to ask for help or take medication.
  • That it has nothing to do with “having too much time to think about things.”
  • That’s in not all in my head. Mental health issues affect the body as well and it’s hard to explain that physical pain can be related to mental health and vice versa.
  • It is not someone just being dramatic! They are valid, serious, often debilitating episodes.
  • That yes, overcoming mental illness requires a certain amount of self-motivation and kicking your own ass, but there are some days where getting normal things done might be impossible, and that is just part of the process.
  • Just because we “seem fine”, doesn’t mean we are fine… and I shouldn’t have to justify my mental health by how others perceive me. Women are excellent maskers because we are taught to hide it for everyone else. I could be dying inside but others (outside my immediate family and family of choice) will never know.
  • It’s not just having a bad day or just feeling sad. Yes, people who are depressed can feel happy, but it is a cloud that never really goes away.
  • That it happens in children and we need to be more empathetic to that and not assume the child is just “sensitive.”
  • I wish they understood that each day looks different. Sometimes each minute looks different. Sometimes you can have good weeks or months, and then you feel suffocated again.
  • That suggesting I calm down doesn’t cure anxiety, and that if I could calm down I probably would.
  • That it’s exhausting. Faking happiness every day or on those hard days is exhausting. We become good at masking and it takes everything out of us.
That even in darkness, there is always hope. 

Don’t miss our interview with Heidi “When Mommy is Sad”: A Colorado Mom’s Journey Through Depression

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