Thursday, October 27, 2011

Dear Melly,

Dear Melly,
I read your blog and I believe it was divine intervention from God. I've been struggling with my self-worth as a person and [at work]. I don't know where this is coming from. I'm not normally a negative person and not sure where to go from here. Any advice?
A new mom (who has also been dealing with health issues)

Dear New Mom,
I suspect the majority of what you're dealing with comes from the stress of managing a career and a family as well as dealing with the health problems you've had going on. Everybody handles stress differently, of course, but in light of everything you have had to deal with since the baby was born, I highly suspect that's the biggest culprit to your emotions.

I'm sure you know by now that I don't support or encourage the use of medication to treat issues like these, so it should come as no surprise when I suggest that you NOT immediately resort to medical attention from an M.D. or a psychologist. So many times, at the urging of whatever pharmaceutical company is on the agenda for that week, they push to prescribe medications that sometimes may help the symptoms, but in the long run don't fix the problem and most often times, they only create more problems. In fact, did you know the most common side effect of most anti-depressants is "thoughts of suicide?" That's irony, huh? suggestions are easy in context, but will require dedication on your part. I know for a fact they help and overall instead of creating bad side effects like medications do, they create good ones.
1) Exercise. Join a gym, sign up for a class or two, even just get out a walk a half mile or more. SOMETHING that gets your body moving, increases your circulation and helps your body create more serotonin (the body's natural "happy pill"). You may find tanning will help your moods too. The UV rays help boost the happy stuff. :)

2) Take time for yourself. Have dad or the grandparents watch the baby for a little while and you spend a couple hours at the mall or a book store or some place that gives you a smile. If you're able to, find a hobby you can do with other people. Scrapbooking, for instance, is a great way to create positive energy. It's what got me through a lot of the tough times. It's also what led to my photography career. The point to this is that you can't be a wife and mom 100% of the time or you'll lose confidence in yourself because your entire identity is wrapped up in someone else's life and your happiness becomes dependent on how happy THEY are. #nothealthy!!

3) Eat a more-balanced diet. Heavy carb foods like pasta, potatoes and breads can really weigh you down physically, but emotionally, the sugars that they bring will take you on a roller coaster that you don't need. So ease up on the "comfort food" and reach for fruits and veggies instead. Drink less caffeine and more water. JUST PLAIN WATER. (And, don't substitute real sugar for some chemical crap. Sugar substitutes have often been linked to psychological issues such as depression and episodes of mania. They're NOT worth what they're trying to do. You're better off weaning yourself off real sugar or, if you MUST use a substitute, use Stevia in the Raw. It's a natural sugar substitute that isn't filled with chemicals and doesn't use chemical processing like some others). The purest diet you can eat is the healthiest for your body AND your mind.

4) Breathe. This is the one I'm the most guilty of. I have a horrible habit of taking short, shallow breaths. Sometimes, when I'm under stress, I even find myself holding my breath. That's not good. We need to take long, deep, even breaths as often as possible. It helps the lungs expand and blood flow reach everywhere it's meant to reach, but especially the brain. It also helps us to take pause and reassess our emotions. You've heard the phrase, "count to ten." It's not because you need to cool down. It's because your body needs time to catch up to your mind and the blood needs to flow evenly again.

Most importantly, though....remember that you're human. Don't hold yourself to a higher standard just because you're a mom now. We fuck up. We make mistakes. We're going to send our kids screaming into therapy at SOME point in their lives. And that's okay. Our parents screwed up, too. And our kids will screw up when they have kids. It's a cycle and it's unavoidable. So embrace it. Have fun. Remember that at the end of the day, if the kid is clean, fed and sleeping, the day was a success. And if he's not so clean or a little hungry or can't sleep, there's always tomorrow to get it right.

I have to take things moment by moment some days. I've been dealing with depression since I was nine years old. NINE. YEARS. OLD!!! That's a hell of a long time to deal with feeling miserable. You can see with the history of depression that I've dealt with how easy it is to fall back into old habits and let myself get down. But I have to keep plugging along. There are days (like last week) when I just say "to hell with it" and I crawl back into bed and succumb to the demons. And that's okay. But the next day, I get up and I press onward. That's all I can do.

We aren't meant to be happy 100% of the time. And unfortunately, that's what we're led to believe and if we fall short of that, we're made to feel defective and less than human. Screw that. Have a bad day. Have a bad week, even. Then get back up, brush yourself off and flip the middle finger to it before you move on. Those sad times or the times when we're feeling less than ourselves are necessary so we can appreciate the good stuff more.

Nobody can fix you. Nobody can snap their fingers and make things better. It's something you have to do for yourself. But if you need to vent, scream, cry or wail...I'm here.

Hang in there, babe!

** details have been generalized to protect the anonymity of the person sending the message
***Again, I am NOT an expert in ANY field, but I have done my research on this particular topic. This advice is NOT meant to replace medical care of any type. I just encourage you to find out more and do the research yourself before blindly following medical advice.

1 comment:

  1. Personally, I believe that to all be excellent and caring advice.