Do you ever find you have days when even the simplest of tasks seem more difficult than they should? Or when you know you have a to-do list a mile long but the only thing you can do is curl up on the couch with a blanket and binge watch a show you weren’t remotely interested in the day before?
Have you ever had someone ask you if you were okay or what was wrong and you had no answer? Nothing that really satisfied yourself or the other person?
Dealing with mental illness is hard. Hard for you, hard for those who love you. There are no easy answers, no simple solutions, no remedies that can bring a smile to our face or make everything better. Even though I wish there were.
We don’t always know when something is wrong, either. Here’s my ‘real’ moment: when I was dealing with depression, I had no idea something was wrong. I was so focused on taking care of everyone else, making sure everyone else was okay, that I never thought about me and what I was going through. I knew I was exhausted, that I had no energy, no appetite, that I was on the edge and I worried all it would take was one more thing to push me over. I didn’t know what over meant, but I knew I was close to it.
It took me a lot, but I finally went to see my doctor. He knew what we were dealing with when it came to my daughter being suicidal, and he said something to me that caught my attention…being a mom doesn’t mean I have to be perfect. I laughed and said of course not, but that still plays in my head when I’m feeling stressed. I can’t be everything for everyone no matter how much I want to be or how hard I try, and speaking from one mother to another (or one parent to another) we all know how hard I am trying. He prescribed something to help me, something that does help me, even now. I’m no longer on the edge, no longer worried that one more thing is going to be more than I can handle. I’m stronger. Not better, but stronger.
When mental health is a part of your life – whether you personally, or someone you love, it affects you in ways you aren’t prepared for. The stress I was under while dealing with a sick child didn’t just make me exhausted physically. It hit me mentally, socially and within my marriage. Yes, there were days I told myself to buck up and deal with it and days when I gave myself permission to just be and feel.
I wrote a post called It’s okay to not be okay that talks about this a little bit.
What’s the point of this post? A few. I want you to know that you are not alone. That it’s okay to not be okay. That it’s okay to not be perfect or wonderful or the best parent you can be every single moment of every day. That it’s okay to ask for help.
Recently, on Twitter, I shared phone numbers that you could call or text if you needed someone to talk to. Today, I have another alternative. Talkspace. We can’t always go out to get the help we need. We live very busy lives. So this is an option for help to come to you. I hope you’ll check it out.
From one friend to another: you aren’t alone.