DISCLAIMER: I did NOT suffer from PPD nor am I a qualified mental health professional. I do not claim to have expertise in this area. I am simply sharing a piece of inspiration and advice that I learned and that has helped me deal with anxiety.
As you may know one of my absolute favorite speakers is Cathy Heller of the Don't Keep Your Day Job Podcast. I just adore her and featured her as my very first Mom Crush Monday. One of Cathy's taglines is "The opposite of depression is purpose". I've heard this multiple times on her show and it reminded me of my inspiration to start FYM.
Around the time when this idea started brewing in my head, I was seriously considering finding a therapist. Many of my mom friends see one and the anxiety I was feeling was reaching a level that I no longer felt equipped to manage on my own. On my occasions in my life, I have dabbled in journaling, meditating, and searching for peace and inspiration in those ways. Those practices just never took hold and became habits that lasted more than a few days or weeks.
Part of me felt that a therapist might not point me in the direction of strategies that I don't already know. Not knocking therapy at all. I was just thinking of how part of my anxiety stemmed from drowning in my to do list. I wanted to figure out how to make room for maybe a once weekly workout session. The idea of using that hour (or longer) to commute to an office and chat just didn't feel compelling enough for me.
So I went back to my old standbys I started just briefly jotting down quotes, inspiration, names, book titles, anything that felt uplifting. My funk started to subside and I felt motivated and inspired in ways that I hadn't in a while. I realized that motherhood had swallowed me whole and I didn't recognize where I ended and B began anymore. Just the simple act of moving toward a solution allowed the fog to lift, even just a little bit.
A few weeks passed and I continued to let this idea simmer- that maybe my thoughts would be shared by other moms. Ironically, when I was pregnant and scouring the web for the best advice, must have gear, etc. I remember solemnly promising myself never to become a mom blogger. Ha! The day I decided to purchase my domain name my past self gave me a little wink.
Knowing myself well allowed me to recognize and act on the feelings of despair, isolation, and anxiety that were starting to become my identity. Anyone who knows me might find this honesty to be shocking. I hid my true feelings well. I didn't want anyone to think that I felt anything but bliss with my newborn. After all, we had tried so hard to get him here. How could I dare to have any doubts or reservations?
But this brings me back to Cathy's favorite line. I was truly afraid that depression was beginning to lurk in the periphery. (DISCLAIMER: not to say that women who truly suffer from PPD can snap their fingers and stop it. I fully recognize the severity of suffering from PPD and what it can take to manage and combat it.) Without knowing the quote at the time, I can honestly say that finding a purpose, a desire to help and support other moms, provided me what I needed in order to combat my fears and overwhelm.
So I ask you, if you're in the thick of it and searching for answers, how are you feeding your own purpose? How are you filling your cup so to the brim with purpose that you can't help but be a light for others, you can't help but be the best version of you for YOURSELF and your family? It might not mean you're creating content. It might not mean that you start a YouTube Channel. Heck, your purpose today might just be to SURVIVE. For me some days just the mere act of thinking about what I could create helps to elevate my mood.
I hope that if you feel yourself slipping down that slope that you remember this quote, "The opposite of depression is purpose", and you search for opportunities to fulfill your own.