I was devastated and then furious after I read the latest blog posts from my good friend, Anonymous Momma http://anonymousmomma.wordpress.com/2012/07/17/bye-bye-baby/ and http://anonymousmomma.wordpress.com/2012/07/22/just-when-i-thought-i-could-breathe/ She is a wonderful mama who became a Warrior mom after the birth of her second child, just like me. We both suffered with postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety. We differ in our current diagnoses – I continue to struggle with GAD (generalized anxiety disorder) and she received a new diagnosis of bipolar 2. If you do not follow her on Twitter, you are missing out on a hilarious running commentary of this SAHM. She is a fierce ninja who conquered PPD and PPA. Now she’s taking on Bipolar 2, and I am placing my money on her.
What hurt my heart the most about these posts is the lack of support that she is receiving from her in-laws. To accuse her of faking her illness is cruel. Mental illness is an invisible illness much like diabetes. We cannot open up our minds and show people the mess that is inside. Our disability is not visible like someone with a physical handicap. That does not mean that we do not suffer. For many of us, depression and anxiety wreak havoc on us physically. When I suffer panic attacks, I feel completely drained of all energy.
I am grateful that I have family support from my family of origin and my husband’s family. Not all of my in-laws are privy to my struggle with PPD and PPA. I have two sets of in-laws. I did disclose my struggle to my mother-in-law, and she has been nothing but a fantastic support to me. I have confided in both my sister-in-law and my teenage niece, and they have given me so much love and support. My stepmother-in-law has also been a great sounding board for my work/life balance issues by offering practical solutions.
To my lovely friend, know that you are beautiful inside and out. You have struggled with so much within just one year of Diva’s birth. You exemplify courage every day. You maintain your sense of humor even throughout all of your struggles. I love your wicked sense of humor. I am praying that your in-laws will grow to understand and accept how debilitating a mental illness can be. I know that Diva and Monkey will be empathetic and compassionate children because they will be led by your example. Just living your life openly without shame will pave the way for them to understand what an awesome ninja their mama is.