To the one who stay to love me Thank you, thank you, thank you I know I’m not always easy to deal with I know my brand of crazy doesn’t always bring out the best of me I know that my anger makes me a monster sometimes But you’ve stayed and dealt with it the best way you could Either calling me out when I’m dramatic or expressing your concern when I’m salty or impulsive The sense of community you’ve given me feels like my life’s remedy You’ve never asked me to change and really love and accept me
I think the news of Heather Armstrong hit me hard because well, looking on the surface, her life seems almost idyllic. This is a rich white woman who has all of the resources at her disposal to help her get to a much healthier state with her mental health and I’m like WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED? WHAT THE FUCK WENT WRONG? While I could speculate why or how this happened, I won’t. What I will say is that nobody could possibly understand why she made that decision or how much suffering she was in. This made me reflect on my own journey with recovering from mental illness.
I have battled depression and anxiety since I was a teenager except I wasn’t formally diagnosed with it until after I had my third child in 2012. It’s been a not so well kept secret in my family that I continuously tried to mask to seem well, normal to everyone else. For years, I’ve mostly kept my depressive episodes to myself because more often than not when I’ve disclosed I’m depressed, I’m met with the comments: “You need to get over it , we have no time for this” or “Think about your kids” or “But you have SO MUCH to live for”. I know the people making those comments thought they were being helpful but all it did was drive me further into a spiral of shame for having no control over my brain chemistry and being depressed. It adds fire to the fuel of my inner critic who tells me during this episode, “let’s add being a failure as a mom to your thoughts about being a worthless and terrible human being”.
The sun is shining Everything is green and bright And yet winter feels eternal In my heart and my mind I feel a profound darkness that Seems to seep and ooze everywhere Inside of me Is this what true loneliness feels like? Will I ever get rid of what feels like my forever depression? Or do I just learn to live with the elephant that lives on my chest? That I try desperately not to wake it up Writing, exercise, friends, tv- Everything to keep it calm But no matter what The elephant always seems To wake up
In a lot of my poetry, I’ve talked about the impossible pressure I’ve had to deal with in being a mother but I don’t think I talk enough about how this was modeled for me growing up. Growing up, I saw my mother as this larger than life woman who constantly worked hard and sacrificed for her family. She worked countless hours to provide for us. She was this superwoman who at one point had 3 jobs and still managed to keep a clean house and cook dinner. I remember her sleeping a couple hours after she got home from an overnight shift at her job and waking up to walk me to school in the morning. Throughout my childhood and adolescence, I never saw my mom breakdown or cry.
The message I received and perceived was one that in order to be a good mother, you have to be this superwoman who balances everything perfectly all the time. Being a good mother also meant being strong and resilient and if needed it was necessary to suppress emotions to continue to function. When I became a mother at 17, I had these unrealistic expectations of motherhood that I wanted to attain. And we wonder why I ended up with a diagnosis of BPD-lol. Honestly, while I’ve healed a lot from my past, I feel like it’s still necessary to share it because this isn’t just my story. It’s the story of other mothers who are still ashamed about having a mental illness and more often than not, don’t seek help and mask, mask, mask until they explode.
I’ve often talked about how my children are one of my greatest motivators for continuing to move forward with my life, to try to continue with my self improvement; but what I have failed to talk about is how my children are a major source of guilt while I’m in a major depressive episode. If I had to be honest with myself and everyone else, when I’ve been in that really dark place with my depression, I’ve had thoughts about how maybe my kids would be better off without me, how my kids deserve a better mother than me.I’m coming from a very vulnerable place talking about this. I also want to add that I haven’t been in this dark place with these thoughts since 2021. It is a fucking scary place to be in and it’s something I would never wish upon my worst enemy. Thankfully, I have always been able to pull myself out of this headspace and seek help if I need to. However, once I start to get out of this head space, guilt over how selfish I was for not thinking about kids hits me and ooof I’m off to a shame spiral that almost loops back around to another depressive episode but nowadays I’m able to get a better handle on it. In January of this year, when I had another major depressive episode, my worst thought was, “I don’t think I’m doing enough to improve the lives of me and children ” which is irrational for many reasons. Anyways, I decided then and there that I needed to go back to therapy. It was hard to make that decision but in order to prevent my depression from getting worse; it was necessary. Some part of me felt like a failure because of how many healthy coping mechanisms I have now, how much emotional support I have from family and friends, and how much therapy I’ve had; I felt like I should be able to get this on my own. However, I’d rather be safe than sorry and get the extra guidance and help I need so I can get through this depressive episode before it gets worse. It hasn’t always been this way for me. For several years, I thought that the brave thing to do was to suffer in silence and try to get through my depression on my own. Journaling consistently since 2019 has helped me get through the worst of it but looking back on those journal entries, I’m filled with grief for the version of me who thought strength and being brave meant keeping it all in. I’m filled with grief at the version of me holding it together trying to balance it all and functioning at work when inside all I wanted to do was die or disappear. However, I hold compassion for that woman because she was doing what she knew best to survive. And sure at times that looked messy and unhealthy but at the end of day what matters is that I’m still here. Here’s a poem I wrote about my depression in 2020:
The Darkness comes back with a fierce strength and takes over my mind I want to run I want to hide But most of all I want to die
The Darkness comes back like a hurricane and wrecks my body and mind and I don’t want to work and I don’t want to talk and I don’t want to breathe
The Darkness comes back and not even the promise of love keeps it away
Fortunately for me, I learned to work through my feelings of shame in getting the help I needed to get better. My mental health improved drastically after getting a BPD diagnosis and here’s the post about that:
I’m very fortunate that my meds, my therapy, and the strict routine and consistency I now have in my life has improved my mental health so much, my depressive episode and low moods are milder and my quality of life has gotten so much better. I know that even in 2023,there is still so much pressure on mothers to be superwomen, to be “brave” and fight their battles alone but it doesn’t have to be this way. I hope that any mother out there struggling with depression/mental illness who might happen upon my blog post understands that they don’t have to fight this battle alone. In this journey, it is important to understand that being brave can also be taking the first step to seeking out the help you need to get healthier. I’m lucky to have found my own village ( my support system, my therapists, my writing community) to improve the quality of my life; my hope is that other mothers find their own village as well to lead healthier and happier lives.
I want to end this post with a poem I wrote in February of this year:
The Finish Line
I have yet to cross the finish line of my uprising, my marathon of healing- Sometimes I stumble and fall for a few days, a few weeks. a month when life gets overwhelming I dissociate and drive around aimlessly Forget about all the progress I made- but always get up and do the best I can Sometimes I mask well enough to fool the people in my life Sometimes, it’s not enough and they start asking what’s wrong but somehow I always manage to get back to a place where I move forward and evolve- listen to my therapist- healing isn’t linear-healing is messy and just because I stumble sometimes, it doesn’t mean I can’t cross the finish line
Below are some resources that helped me along my journey:
Back from the Borderline podcast episodes that have really helped me
One thing I want to add about the above resources I have shared is that I take notes from the books/podcast episodes . I jot down certain phrases, concepts, or quotes that resonate with me and/or I find helpful. I take notes on sticky notes and have a notebook where I taped them later in a notebook where I write about it as to why I related to it or why it was helpful. This method of mine works for me in finding understanding the book better or validating my experience. You don’t have to do this at all, of course. It’s just what I found helpful. Also, if you want more books or resources, feel free to contact me:
I’m finally free from the chains of love I felt truly a slave to it Thinking I needed it, thinking I wanted it But the truth is the only person I ever needed was me I never needed anyone else to care for me, to love me it’s always temporary until they leave Today marks my independence day from love’s heavy and terrible weight Because I am worth more than another fickle soul Who I always become too much for Because I deserve a sense of emotional stability After so many emotional scars caused by love
The princess and the queen live within me And they each serve a purpose the princess cares about the men in her life She’s soft and submissive, kind and generous She’ll do anything for love, she’s loyal But sometimes the princess get taken advantage of And the queen steps in The queen is determined, she is strong and opinionated And ambitchous and bossy She’ll do anything to protect herself and her kids and gives zero fucks about anyone else And lately I’m trying to find a perfect balance of embracing these two beings who live within me
he watches her as she sleeps and the emotions she stirs up in him this was supposed to be a casual agreement where only each other’s primal needs got met she’s not easy or convenient she has way too many issues and yet here he is starting to love her
Overturning my right to choose feels like a slap to my face it is my american dream of liberty turned into a nightmare of reproductive imprisonment because of my 3 unplanned pregnancies, because of my 4 IUDs birth control pills and a patch because I am a woman scared for my niece, for my future granddaughters scared for the generations of women who come after me and I sit here at a complete loss for words and understanding at a loss for how this could happen a fundamental right ripped from right before our eyes while we were distracted with the modernity of society a fundamental right ripped from us that will take us back to the 1950’s
People say I shouldn’t give up on love and it’s really just my bad luck But how do I explain How love makes me insane It’s not the men I pick It’s really me, me, me I’ll become the version they want me to be thinking they’ll stay with me- behave, swallow my words, hide my anger, implode on myself in the privacy of my journal but keep my mask of sweet princess on- but this never last for long something always happens it’s just a matter of when when will I get tired of hiding who I am and start being erratic and crazy When will they get tired of my bullshit and decided to leave and almost always, this ends up as an emotional catastrophe for me so I’ve come up with a solution I’m going to make my newfound solitude a haven, a sanctuary to fall into give myself as much time as I need to enjoy the gift on my own company understanding that this isn’t an ending but rather a brand new beginning for me to write and edit my own unconventional love story
In therapy I’m supposed to write about the last thing that cause me grief and I think it’s funny considering the tons of poetry and journal entries I’ve written about it I’m tired of writing about it, I’m tired of talking about it I’m tired of thinking about it and I want to tell my therapist I don’t have homework for this week but this is part of therapy this is what I need to address the unhealed trauma within so I’ll write for the 1000th time about the last thing that caused trauma and grief hoping my therapist will provide valuable insight on how to let go of it
I wonder where all of my money goes but then I go home to the bottomless pits that are my kids and then I go upstairs to my bedroom where my closet is exploding with clothes and then I look under bed full of shoes and then I go downstairs to my record player and looks at my various vinyls and we won’t even talk about my newly acquired furniture from Amazon now I understand my money goes to my busy life and my BPD spending impulsivity
My heart blooms like a flower in the spring taking in the beauty of everything I’m no longer so angry and feel a freedom to just be I take things in stride and no longer feel the need to fight Is this what healing looks like?
el resentimiento que siento por ti no me deja dormir tus acciones me hicieron un mundo de daño y me trastornaron y siempre me preguntare, ¿Por qué fuiste un cobarde y no pudiste dar la cara al desmadre que tu creaste ? ¿Por que somos nosotros que tuvimos que sufrir por tu incapacidad de ser un hombre de verdad y asumir tu responsabilidad?
Hope lies in the next minute, the next hour, the next day,the next week Hope makes us believe there is something to look forward to even in our darkest hour Hope gives us the strength to continue on when we don’t want to
The first and last time I tried to die I tried to get everything right I wrote letters to my loved ones and swallow each pill one by one All that was easy enough but really dying was tough Something inside me was too stubborn And sent one last text out to a friend who alerted my husband Between her and him, I never reached my end but in that moment I understood the suicidal writers and poets Living is exhausting,living is agonizing I yearned for the sweetness of death to take away my mediocre breath But the universe or God had other plans And today I finally understand Living is painful,living is terrible But living is also beautiful and really living is admirable
Your false love swallowed me into an ocean of oblivion and I almost drowned You consumed my mind with anxious thoughts of whether or not I mattered to you And thoughts of death visited me when you ignored me Feelings of worthlessness and emptiness threatened my wretched existence over and over again because of your inconsistent love But one day, I was enough by myself I didn’t need your pseudo love So I’m banishing you to the land of past lovers who never deserved the magic of my love