Wednesday, October 03, 2012

sometimes clicking publish is hard

My wish for those suffering with mental health issues is peace.

We are smack dab in the middle of Mental Illness Awareness week. I think it's safe to say we are all aware of mental illness, but you may not be aware that people you know suffer from it. I am one of those people. In fact in the past few weeks after I had written a post about my struggles with depression and anxiety I had someone I've known for many years say they were surprised to read that. They had no idea. I will admit that compared to many people my struggles have been minor. I have never required medication or hospitalization, but I have spent time in a therapist's chair.

I do believe there was a point where things could have spiraled out of control if not for the early intervention and the determination of my mother. Believe me when I say my Mom is good people. Love her. I admit to carrying my own baggage regarding mental health issues. I tend to play my depressive/anxiety cards extremely close to my chest. It's not hard to imagine why when you have the shadow of your father's mental health issues and subsequent suicide looming over you. In fact even Mike rarely knows when I've had a dip or a down period until after it has passed. I have often referred to the first year of Abby's life as both the best and the worst time in my life. It was an incredibly hard year for me to get through... almost the most amazing. The first time I said that out loud Abby was well into the toddler years and Mike just about fell off his chair. I guess I'm a high functioning depressive. I had another down time about two years ago, that passed unnoticed by most people. Fake it, till you make it is, apparently, my motto, but it's not a course of action I would recommend to anyone. This practice comes from my own issues, see above.

I feel like I have lived most of my life in some state of anxiety. Social situations were almost paralyzing. I know in many situations I can and have come across as bitchy, stuck up and/or rude. It is not something I enjoy about myself, but I felt physically unable to change it. Friends and family have told many people many times - Oh Shannon's just shy, but to be truthful it went well beyond shy. I find it hard to adequately explain exactly what it does feel like. Mike and I were talking recently about how I continued to suffer from back to school anxiety long after I was finished school. He wasn't able to understand how I could just not be anxious about it, that knowing I wasn't going back to school should have been enough, but it wasn't. At all. My life was filled with situations like that.

These days I live anxiety free. I don't know how it's happened, but it has. Shannon of before never would have run on the trail by herself. She wouldn't have signed up to run in a race by herself. So if you happened to see me cross the finish line and burst into tears in the arms of my family that would be why. It wasn't a simple race to me that day. It was so much more. The Shannon before would have attended Meet The Teacher and stood silently by while Mike initiated the conversations with the teacher's only then would I chime in. Shannon this year visited the classroom's by herself. I also stopped in to welcome a teacher (not my kids') back from mat leave and to thank another for signing up for council duty. The Shannon before wouldn't have been able to do that. Shannon this year is Chair of Parent's Council at the school. Not co-chair... chair. There is no one to hide behind, I have to run the meetings. I have to do the talking and I'm looking forward to it. The Shannon before would of had a sidekick for the fair to help out with the social media. Shannon this year wandered the fair by herself, stopping to chat with all sorts of people instead of keeping my eyes on the ground and praying people didn't see her.

I've lost 33lbs so far and people keep saying, you must feel great and I feel so great, I can't even begin to tell you and it's so much more than just smaller pants.


MP said...

I'm so happy for you, Shanny. You are a really wonderful person who deserves a full, and wonderful life, and I'm so glad you have that to enjoy now. I also think it was very brave and inspirational of you to post your struggles with anxiety. I wonder what changed... It's amazing for me to read you are "anxiety free" now. What a gift!


Julie said...

so crazy assed proud of you. sending you the giantest virtual huge ever! i;ve said it before, and i will continue to say it. you rock!! hopefully i will have the pleasure of telling you that face to face one day.

Just me said...

I love you so much, I had prayed that we did the right thing going to school that day (even though I just wanted to hold and comfort you). Some things are worth the struggle. Writing is liberating. Don't ever forget there is always an ear willing to listen and a hug just around the corner. Its okay to say I'm having a tough time here instead of I'm just tired. You are surrounded by love and your gratitude list is inspiring. You have overcome many struggles that could only be accomplished by you. I am so proud of you.
Light, Love, Healing.

Lynn said...

I'm also super proud of you! I have to say, on your blog you come across as such a positive, caring person, so upbeat. I'm so happy to hear that your own personal demons have been quieted. You absolutely deserve it!

Shan said...

MP - Gosh you are a sweetheart! Thanks seems so inadequate for how I'm feeling right now, but it's all I got. Thank you my friend... boy are you guys making me weepy today!

Julie - I will for certain take that hug. Thank you! I hope we get that chance as well!

Mom - I love you!

Lynn - Thank you so much! Like I said, I play it very close to the chest. I really believe that blogging has helped me tremendously I am so thankful for the friendships I have made because of it.

Thanks everyone xo

FaithChick said...

Amazingly said! I've struggled with this too due to fertility treatments and then postpartum depression so bad I did have to take meds. Then the hardest came two years ago when I realized I didn't even know who I was beyond a mother and a wife. I was something for everyone else and nothing for myself. That was the year I told myself I was going to remove the word "can't" from my vocabulary. I have learned so much about myself and found the inner strength I need to live my dreams. Thank you for writing this. Its helps knowing you're not alone. You are a true inspiration in so many ways. Praise God you broke free and I can't wait to read the next chapter of your amazing journey. God bless!