Tis the season! The season for joy and being all sorts of merry and bright. Right???? Not always, and not for all of us. For many (like me), the holidays and winter in general bring on a lot of anxiety and struggles with depression.
I’m feeling a little embarrassed about this post. And, before you say anything, I know, I know. I’m embarrassed, though, because I don’t practice what I preach. If anyone else were posting this, I’d be their number one hype woman.
But alas, my anxiety and depression manifest in self-doubt and shame. I don’t share how I’m feeling, because my brain tells me I don’t deserve to feel this way – I have a beautiful life.
[For the record :: Mental illness DGAF if you have a beautiful life or not.]
By withdrawing, I end up feeling worse. Now, the only voice I’m listening to is my inner dialogue.
To my family and friends, please don’t take offense if you had no idea I was struggling. When I’m in it, talking is one of the hardest things for me. My therapist has her work cut out for her, trust me.
We just took a trip with family – I honestly almost didn’t make the trip. I took a ton of pictures, though, you know, for the social media memories. But, behind those pictures is a whole lot of anxiety and depression. And look, I’m still going to post them. I just want everyone to know the reality that sometimes mental illness looks like picture perfect Instagram posts.
So, here we are on the Saturday after Thanksgiving 2023, in a Kroger parking lot, taking our first dose of Prozac in a year.
I feel better; I made it through the worst of this with a lot of tears and handholding. Maybe next time I feel real doom and gloom approaching, I’ll be more open. Maybe I won’t. Either way, despite feeling a little embarrassed about this post, I want to share because maybe this holiday season, someone who’s been struggling will find the courage to open up. Maybe someone will find one line of this post comforting.
If you feel incline, please share this post with the people you love – just in case. Maybe they’re like I am and just don’t want to talk… yet. But, maybe they’ll see that there is always hope. Tomorrow comes, and so does the next day. And day by day, we get better – with help, love, support, and each other.
I first shared this on my personal Instagram page and received the following comment from Cincinnati Mom Collective’s owner:
Taking care of ourselves as moms in general is so hard. Taking care of our mental health can be even harder. One of the best things my MIL ever told me (she suffers from chronic depression and had two mental breakdowns while raising her kids) was, “You can’t take care of anyone else unless you take care of yourself FIRST.” Best advice ever. She raised 5 kids by herself. I’m raising only one and with an amazing partner. I often found/find myself comparing myself to her and telling myself, “She did it; I have no excuse and shouldn’t complain about whatever I feel is hard.” But, that’s not reality. We can’t compare ourselves to anyone else but who WE were the day before. Motherhood and life are not competitions; they are individual journeys that require a myriad of support – whether that be a good family/friend system, a great doctor, medication, or any combination of things. I’ve been embarrassed as well over the years, but that’s only because we don’t talk about this stuff enough with each other. I’m sorry you struggle, and I’m PROUD of you for taking care of your mental health and being the best version of yourself you can be for your and your family. Sending lots of love!
I told her that I felt called to share, especially for those who aren’t ready to yet themselves. If just one woman/mom reads this and feels less isolated or more encouraged, my struggle is not in vain. CMC encouraged me to share this as a guest post to reach even more moms, and I jumped at the chance.
So, tis the season for joy, for togetherness, for support, and for uniting together around mental illness, anxiety, and depression. Spread a little love these holidays with your fellow mamas (and fellow humans in general). We’re all in this together!
:: About Our Guest Post Author, Blair Jamison ::
Blair is a born and raised Cincinnati Westsider, raising her two daughters on the Westside with husband, Zach. In her spare time, she makes amateur cooking videos and has more recently opened up about her mental health struggles as a working mom with anxiety.