i read a post recently by The Complete Word. if you’re not reading her blog, shame on you. she is quite possibly the funniest and most honest woman on the internet. in the post, titled “Coming Out”, she links to an amazing video on YouTube by a man named Michael Kimber in which he calls on those affected by mental illness to speak up and fight against the stigma that silences their suffering and prevents them from seeking and receiving the treatment they need to recover.
after reading her post and a number of posts that other bloggers have written to speak up about their own mental illness i debated writing my own story. the whole point of this video is a call to action but it’s still scary to put it all in words with Labels and Diagnoses even though i’ve written about my struggles with insomnia and postpartum depression before. i just posted a facebook status about my saggy post-pregnancy boobs, for crying out loud, but speaking up about my crazy brain is still tough. i still wonder if people i know In Real Life (who don’t know the whole story, or who may not understand mental illness) read my blog and would be frightened or confused or judgmental. yes, most of all it’s the judgment that frightens me.
so here it is. here are the Labels i currently have or have had during the course of the past ten years since i first sought treatment for the Crazy; had i gotten help during the college years there certainly would have been a diagnosis of major depressive episode as well. but these afflictions are just part of me, they are definitely not the whole of me and right now i’ve got them pretty well managed. i am so thankful that my OB/GYN was very supportive of me staying on medication during pregnancy and after my son’s birth so i did not have any postpartum depression this time around. that alone is a huge testament to the power and necessity of medication, and speaks volumes about the need for open and honest communication about the prevalence of mental illness and the need for appropriate treatment.
i will likely be on medication, even if it’s just a small dose, every day for the rest of my life and i am okay with that. my brain wiring is just a little wonky and needs a few extra chemicals to get the neurotransmitters firing the way they are supposed to. i know i am not alone; there are millions of people out there who are also battling a sometimes-Crazy brain. my hope is that someday everyone who needs treatment will get it without fear of judgment, or denied insurance, and without being made to feel as if they are flawed or broken. i am speaking up and i hope you will too, and i hope that we can all listen to those who are brave enough to share their struggles so that someday soon we can finally de-stigmatize mental illness.
the best show that no one is watching
friday night lights.
i want every single person i know and love to watch this show, for no other reason than that they will understand why i can’t shut up about it and why i am already mourning the finale before it has even aired. it is simply incredible. the characters, the stories, the acting, the way it’s filmed. incredible.
the thing i love about this show is that you don’t hear much about it. it doesn’t get a lot of press. it seems like it doesn’t have a huge audience but everyone, and i mean everyone, who does watch it is absolutely nuts about it. people who don’t watch it don’t know what they’re missing, people who do watch it love it. the downside of the lack-of-press is that it’s going off the air after five seasons. i’m not handling this well at all.
whenever i mention my obsession for friday night lights i hear the same thing; “isn’t it just about football?” to those people, i just want to make clear, oh. my. god. it is SO not just about football. i had the same reservations, i’m ashamed to admit now, for the first season-and-a-half (don’t worry, i caught up later) when my husband tried to get me to watch it with him. ”ugh,” i thought, “more football? no thanks.” i married a sports fanatic so i get enough football already, thankyouverymuch, but then i watched it and lord help me if i wasn’t hooked. it became our own friday night ritual to snuggle in bed together and watch every episode. we had to switch our date-night to wednesdays after we got DirecTv (they air the season before NBC gets its hands on it) but it is still our main show and the highlight of our week.
we just finished tonight’s episode. only two more to go before it is all over. the story lines are all wrapping up, the final game of the season is upon us. i’m praying for a miracle that would allow the show to go on for another season and preparing myself for the finale. if you’re a fan of the show, i love you. if you’ve never seen it, i ask you to feast your eyes on this photo of Tim Riggins and then ask yourself why the hell you’re not watching?
playing catch up
I wrote in my journal the other night:
going, going, going, but never gone. perpetually in the state of getting there, but never actually arriving at a destination.
I feel like life, these days, is all about spinning wheels. every day is pretty much just like the one that came before, and quite likely to be much the same as the one that comes next. this isn’t a complaint; spinning wheels isn’t necessarily a bad thing. the circuit is pleasant enough, and I am a fan of routine and predictability in general, but there are days when I get to bedtime and feel a sense of frustration at having not accomplished anything notable that day beyond feeding, diapering, entertaining two children. hell, there are days that simply making it to bedtime is a victory.
but I feel like I could be (should be?) doing more. and I’m not just referring to laundry, though that would be a good place to start. i look at other blogs and feel a sense of ineptitude. these other moms with their spotless, catalog-decorated houses with organized and labelled junk-drawers, showcasing their craft projects and culinary creations (in well-staged, perfectly lit photographs, naturally), tackling their lifelists with gusto and passion, canning food cultivated from their own backyard garden, homeschooling their kiddos, and still managing to shower and brush their hair every single day. I realize that these moms only show the slice of life that they choose to present to their audience, and underneath the glossy exterior they too (possibly?) have shamefully disorganized closets that burst forth upon opening, threatening to rain down an avalanche of wrapping paper tubes and never-used camping supplies. but that’s not the side we see, right? that’s not the life we’re trying to emulate in the short 24 hours we have each day. it’s hard to feel victorious when you can’t even tackle last week’s laundry and your husband is eating cereal for dinner again because last night’s dishes haven’t been washed yet.
how do real moms do it? not the perfectly coiffed moms behind sparkling, pretty blogs, but real moms who are just trying to manage the day-to-day to-do list of a normal family while simultaneously maintaining their sanity? help.