By: Graeme Seabrook.
People ask me quite regularly about what it took for me to get better. Usually these people are mamas who are suffering and they want a formula, some path they can follow back to their old selves.
I did so, so many things to get better. Almost anything that I heard about or read about I would try. I went to therapy and took medication. I exercised and (sort of) ate better. I made rest a priority and drank more water. I took vitamins and considered acupuncture.
Writing saved me. Telling my story saved my life, my relationship and my sense of myself as a mother. I couldn't have done the writing without the therapy and the medication, I want to be very clear about that. Everything else that I was doing was also quite helpful, but writing was the key for me.
What I couldn't have known at the time, but what keeps me going on rough days now, is that my writing didn't save just me. My writing reached other women and encouraged them to reach out for the help they needed. My writing reached family members of women who were suffering and gave them hope and resources to help their wife, girlfriend, sister, daughter to heal.
Each of us, every single survivor, is immensely powerful. Right now there is a mama out there struggling with intrusive thoughts. She thinks she's going crazy. She thinks if she tells anyone they will take her baby. She thinks she's alone. Your story could save her. You could save the mom who can't get out of bed, you could save the mom who can't stop moving, or the one who has washed her children's clothing four times today because she can't stop worrying about that sniffle that's going around.
Telling your story can be healing and empowering. It can free you and lift you. It can help you to look back and forgive yourself and others. It can also help you move someone forward. It can be the hand reaching through the darkness to pull another mama up to the light. Each of our stories is unique and uniquely powerful.
Any day now my daughter will be born and I'll be stepping away from this blog for a few weeks. I already have some great posts lined up from women all over this country who have fought and survived or are fighting a maternal mental illness. If you would like to raise your voice I'd love to have you! Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If there is a place where you share your story and connect with other mamas we would love to know about it! Please leave a comment on this blog.