I have been asked before (sparingly, but it happens):
Why do you blog? Why do you share? Why do you share so much? Aren’t you worried about internet crazies? Don’t you think some of those thoughts should remain private? Are you worried what your children might say if they ever read it?
All are variations on the same theme:
Why share your life, your thoughts, your children, in such a raw, honest and public way, on the internet?
There is no one answer for one blogger.
I share our lives in this format for many reasons. The least of which is for a pat on the back, for attention, or for validation.
Everytime I think about this question, my thoughts run rampant for awhile, and then it all boils down to this:
I share my journey – of motherhood, of Post-Natal Depression, of raising twins, of raising my children – because when I began writing, there was a serious lack of “real” parenting blogs out there.
There were plenty of parenting websites, forums and blogs.
But they were, in the majority, picture perfect.
And my life? Not so picture perfect. Far from.
When Daisy, Roo & Two began, in its earliest form, it was about making my best friend LAUGH. At all those perfect parenting blogs.
About reminding myself that being imperfect was not only OK, but particularly hilarious.
I also felt (and feel) that I was living quite a common, yet extreme version of parenting. At the time, I had three kids under three. I’d had three kids within 17 months.
And I wanted to read something, by someone, having the same experience as I was. And there just wasn’t much in the way of that in Australian blogging at the time.
I couldn’t find it, so I wrote it.
And then I realised other people were searching for the same thing I was when I posted this.
As for my kids – I hope they read this some day. I hope they read how much I loved them, knew them, disliked them, was confused by them. In short, I hope they read this and know that I raised them with love, humour and honesty.
Honesty is the best policy
I realised I was “not feeling right” soon after the Two turned 2. It was a combination of going away for a few days – kid and husband free, Oscar’s most recent hospitalisation and a particularly bad bout of tonsillitis that attacked all three children, one after the other, and left me prostrate on the couch underneath sick children for three weeks.
It took three trips to the doctor before we arrived at a decision to medicate. Another three trips to the gp and counsellor before we came to a diagnosis:
Delayed Reactionary Post Natal Depression – with a “touch” of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Which is just a really fancy way of saying that I didn’t notice how fucked up everything was until nearly two years after the fact, and then crumpled into a puddle of unfolded laundry on the floor that the creases could never be ironed out of.
And because I have this thing about being full and real and honest, I wrote about it here.
Because you can run all the Post Natal Depression awareness print ads, commercials and internet campaigns you like – for some reason, mothers are still ashamed of PND and judge themselves and others for falling down when we should be holding our families up.
Turns out we can’t stand strong all the time. And there’s only so many times we can claw our way back from the cliff edge.
And I am not ashamed.
I am proud I sought help. I am proud I still seek help. I am not and never will be ashamed.
I get plenty guilty, but I am not ashamed of “being depressed” – imperfect mental health is not something anyone should be ashamed of.
I remember my Aunt explaining depression to me once:
It’s like tonsillitis. Your body can’t get better until its had antibiotics. It needs intervention. When you suffer from a mental illness, in most cases your mind can’t get better until its had its antibiotics – medication. Only once there’s been physical, chemical, intervention can you begin to heal.
I’d never thought of depression and medication in that way before. Now, I know she was right.
Seeing as that’s her field of study, I’m not surprised.
Real people need to talk and write and blog and tweet and Facebook and capture their real experiences of mental illness, and women especially of their experience of Post Natal Depression.
There is still a stigma. A taboo amongst mother groups and parenting circles. In the media and social media and life in general, that anxiety and depression means you aren’t strong, that you just need to pull your socks up**, and that mothers who do fall prey to depression aren’t worthy of their children.
You have happy healthy children. What have you got to be depressed about? Huh? HUH????**
Stigma works in perpetual motion – it requires no external energy source. Once set in motion, it continues of its own accord. Going on and on until an external force stops it.
And the only external force available is real people.
The more real people talk about their real experiences, the more this stigma shifts. Every individual who is taught that mental health isn’t a matter of willpower and is in fact an actual health issue, is one less person perpetuating the stigma.
That’s why I blog. That’s why I share what I share, how I share it.
That’s why I’m honest, why I “over-share”.
I am an external force.
**Things actual people have said to my actual face. In actual real life. Because they are actually ignorant assholes.
To be less of an ignorant asshole, or if you feel you need some help with anxiety or depression, a great place to start is BeyondBlue.
Get Help Australia:
Suicide Call Back Service (National) – 1300 659 467
(Up to six 50-minute telephone counselling sessions for people who are suicidal, caring for someone who is suicidal or bereaved by suicide. 7 days a week 10am – 8:30pm.)Help/Information Lines* beyondblue info line (National) – 1300 22 4636
* Lifeline (National) – 13 11 14
* Just Ask Rural Mental Health Information & Referral Line (National) – 1300 13 11 14
* SANE Australia Helpline (National) – 1800 187 263
* Suicide Helpline (VIC) – 1300 651 251
* Mensline (National) – 1300 789 978
* Australian Psychological Society Referral Line (National) 1800 333 497
* Mental Health Information Service (NSW) – 1300 794 991
* Kids Helpline (National) – 1800 551 800