preexisting conditions

i read a post recently by The Bloggess.  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.



3 Comments to “preexisting conditions”

  1. Such a crazy (no pun intended) coincidence…but I learned today that one of my close family members just got denied insurance b/c of a major depressive episode (followed by necessary meds) that she went through last year. Such total bullshit.

    And you know I’m familiar with the “crazy” wavelength…no judgment here! Kudos to you for having the courage to stand up and speak out about it in such an honest way.

  2. Love you and your crazy! Funny that when I think “crazy,” though, I think of Tom Cruise, who thinks that podiatrists some how x-ray your feet and steal essential elements from your body, which is what is used to make the drugs to treat PPD, so it’s this whole cycle of unnecessary medical treatment thought up by podiatrists and pharmaceutical companies.

    I think I buried my head in the sand about some PPD with O and certainly some depression throughout my life, and it’s something I’ll be on the watch for after these guys are born. I think part of pulling my head out of the sand was realizing so many “regular people” are in my boat and dealing with it better than me

  3. I fought against taking medication for nearly four years and only finally admitted I needed it (for PND) after the birth of my son. There is a stigma in being on anti-depressants and I didn’t want to the the woman who ‘couldn’t cope’ with her children. Judgement is what keeps us all prisoners.

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