Every time a dark and scary part comes on in a movie, Delilah furrows her little brow: “I don’t like this movie any more. I want to watch something else. Turn it off.”
And every time I feel anxious or stressed out about something, I want to jump up and find a pill for that. Related? Gosh I hope not. But yeah, probably.
I was crouched down peering in to Delilah’s face when I heard myself say it: “It’s okay to feel uncomfortable for a little while, sweetie. You just have to know that it’s going to get better.”
It was like my Dad’s voice coming through my own as he spoke to me about the difference between anxiety and debilitating anxiety. “It’s natural to feel uncomfortable sometimes.”
Medication can be a beautiful thing. Sometimes, things get so blurry that you need a bit of help for them to come in to focus again. I don’t regret my decision to go on mental health meds. I had floundered for months (and months, and months) and no amount of telling myself to suck it up was creating the desired effect. But that was a long time ago.
Most days I forget they’re even there. With my small collection of autoimmune disorders, what’s another pill or two? But then every so often in conversation words are uttered that cut me deeper than I think they should. I’m happy in my life. Happy and on the upswing. I remember lying on the bathroom floor convinced I’d never arrive at this destination, and yet here I am, enjoying the sunshine.
So why am I still taking so much medication?
It’s the scariest thought I have these days. The idea that I have to let the discomfort back in and get comfortable with it might be more unfathomable to me than it is to my toddler daughter. I’m not sure I’m strong enough yet. Despite knowing I am, I’m just not sure. And on the days that my to-do list is stretching a little long, or the ring of the phone pierces just a little more than it should, that uncertainty seems founded on roots so deep they come out the other side.
Whoever said “I can stop any time I want” must not have had a prescription for the stuff.
//UPDATE: As if by kismet, after writing this post I discovered that my friend Katherine has come up with the most brilliantly inspiring fundraising plan for her life-saving (mine included) non-profit Postpartum Progress, Inc.
Join women across the world to raise money for Postpartum Progress, which raises awareness and provides support to women as they recover from postpartum depression and other associated mood and anxiety disorders. On June 21st, the longest day of the year, we will raise money by climbing a mountain or hiking a trail near our homes to represent our symbolic rise out of the darkness of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders into the light of hope and recovery.
Getting to stand shoulder to shoulder with women who had survived Perinatal Mood Disorders was the first stepping stone to my own recovery, and I love that Katherine and her team have come up with a way to spread that experience across the country while raising funds for Postpartum Progress, Inc. So I will be hosting a Climb Out of Darkness up Runyon Canyon on June 21st (details to follow). If you are in the LA area, I really hope you’ll join me. And if you’re not but would like to show your support, you can still sponsor the climb.//