When I became pregnant with my first child, I expected to be hormonal. I expected to gain weight and have weird cravings. I expected to be a little extra sensitive to pretty much everything. What I didn’t expect was the depression, the flashbacks and the nightmares. I was so happy to be having a baby. I wanted my baby from the moment I saw those two pink lines on the home pregnancy test. I knew I was having a boy from the get-go and I was excited, nervous, and thrilled all at the same time.
However, I wasn’t prepared for the demons of my childhood to interrupt the joys of my first pregnancy. It did though and sometimes when I look back on it, I wonder how the hell I got through it. My baby boy was born and I couldn’t have been happier. However, my depression got worse and so did my nightmares. For four years I dealt with this in silence. No one understood what I was going through. Hell, I didn’t even understand what I was going through.
I tried to ignore my problems by going to school. I enrolled in college because it was another thing I felt I needed to do in order to make my son’s life better. It was a struggle juggling college, a baby, a husband, and my emotional baggage but my determination to make a better life for my son and for myself got me through it, for a time.
What drove me to get help was my son. I wanted to be the best mother that I could be, not just because I loved him more than life itself, or that he deserved it, but because I had a bad childhood and wanted so much for my son to have what I didn’t. Wanting it and doing it though were two different things. I didn’t know how to parent the way I wanted to. I lacked the skills I needed to do the job and I was completely miserable but I was determined to turn things around for me and my family.
So, I started therapy and within a few weeks, I was diagnosed with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). A couple of months after that, my son was diagnosed with Autism, which sent a whole other wave of mom-guilt on me. I hated myself. I was angry at the world. I had held everything in for so long and it chose this particular time of my life to roll out the red carpet for my demons to try to swallow me whole.
Well, I wasn’t about to let it. I didn’t just want better for my son, I needed to make his life better. I was determined to make that happen! I also knew that in order for my son to be happy, I needed to be happy but I didn’t believe it was possible. I really didn’t think I would ever truly be happy or “normal”. I felt like a freak because I was forced to grow up way too fast. I had seen things and suffered through things that no child should ever have to deal with, so the idea of normal wasn’t in my vocabulary.
I had all the signs of PTSD. Aside from the depression and the nightmares, I had hyper-vigilance, insomnia, and disassociation. I didn’t know half the time what mood I was in and why. When people would tell me that I look mad, I would shrug my shoulders in disbelief but then I would lash out for no apparent reason. I would always be ready for a fight. I would even fight in my sleep, then wake up exhausted the next day.
Through all of that I graduated from college with two Associate’s degrees and one Bachelor’s degree. I worked with my son’s school to help him achieve his goals, and had another baby. Do you know what happened? I began to change. I got better! I started to see the world through different eyes. I started to value myself. I didn’t just see greatness in my kids but I started to see greatness in myself and that opened up a whole new world of possibilities for me.
I know my worth now. I’m happy with myself and for the first time in my life, I feel normal! My kids are happy too. I have grown so much that the split with my husband became necessary but I am happy. I’ve even learned to forgive those who hurt me and that in itself is an amazing accomplishment for me. So, if you think you can’t turn you mental illness around, keep your head up my friend. Keep fighting, keep trying, and never give up! Tell yourself that you got this!
Michelle Kellogg is a blogger and is currently exploring the world of freelance writing. She uses her blog to inspire others who may be dealing with mental illness, have children with special needs, or both. She is a happily single co-parent mom, raising two boys, one with Autism, the other with ADHD. She is also in recovery from PTSD. While her blog focuses mostly on raising children with special needs the healing process of mental illness, and raising awareness of all three, She writes about various interests such as Music, Fitness, spirituality, and any other random thoughts that invade her complicated brain. You can visit her blog here; http://www.rockinrandommom.com/ You can also follow her on Twitter, https://twitter.com/RockinRandomMom Facebook,https://www.facebook.com/RockinRandomMom Pinterest,https://www.pinterest.com/nightwisprav3n/ Instagram,https://instagram.com/nightwisprav3n/