I wasn’t planning on posting today. Yesterday, my second book, Who Am I Without You (with New Harbinger Publications), came out–successfully, thank goodness! And today my third book manuscript, on “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise” (with Norton Publishing) is due! I should also mention that I have strep, I’ve barely slept, oh, and today’s a snow day, so I have five kids bored at home as well!
But, this is motherhood. This is the insanity and the wonder, the misery and the bliss. And despite all that’s happening in my mama world, I had to take a minute to share my congratulations to a fabulous blog that is all about this reality of motherhood–Stigmama!
Stigmama: “Motherhood. Mental Illness. Out Loud.”
Stigmama was founded by my friend and colleague, Dr. Walker Karraa (whose new book, Transformed by Postpartum Depression, recently came out and is getting excellent reviews!). What Walker has been able to do in one year with this site is incredible and inspiring. Thousands of Facebook likes, over 70 contributors, and real articles about motherhood, mental illness, overcoming stigma, and making change! It’s a place you can go to think, and speak, out loud about all that’s not quite right in the world–to seek answers to make things better.
Overcoming the Stigma of Mental Illness: My Passion, too
Motherhood mental illness, and especially overcoming stigma, are topics I am passionate about as
well. I am two posts into my year-long “Many FACEs of DEPRESSION” campaign, with the goal of showing that people who struggle with depression are normal, healthy, even highly successful individuals and that the more we talk about depression, the more we make it real. The more we seek to understand and be there for one another–the greater our chances of overcoming depression.
I’ve also spoken out about the stigma of suicide for surviving family members and how, the suicide of a loved one is like a scarlet A on one’s chest, a secret we’re meant to keep, yet everyone knows. It’s a secret we mustn’t carry. It is only in talking about suicide–about prevention, education, help, support, and hope for those who are considering suicide and for those who love them–that we can stop the stigma and begin to heal.
In my new book, Who Am I Without You, I look at self-esteem and self-worth after a breakup or divorce. Though breakups are common, affecting over 50% of marriages, unfortunately, the stigma of divorce is common, too. Many of my clients are women, and men, who desperately wanted to keep their families together, but because of circumstances beyond their control–i.e. spouses who cheat, lie, abuse, or leave–they’re now facing the isolation that can too often come after a breakup or divorce. This deeply affects one’s self-esteem, and I am relieved to hear that those who are reading Who Am I Without You are already beginning to heal, knowing they are not alone, and that someone understands. In fact, anyone going through a life loss can benefit from this book, since it’s a step by step guide to reclaiming your worth and flourishing in life again. It is the antidote to stigma!
Finally, a few months ago, I wrote about my experiences with the woman charged to 40 years in prison, without parole, after she injured her baby due to postpartum psychosis. I am still deeply affected by that experience and still working to help her be free. But what really disturbs me is just how easily other people can dismiss her and let her spend her whole life in prison! Those who suffer from mental illness are so easily cast aside. Everyone seems to turn their eyes away instead of taking that courageous deeper look to see the truth.
And the truth is this: Stigma is real. Stigma is like a hungry wolf, preying on the weak and afflicted, pushing them further away from their families, friends, and from the treatment they so desperately need. We must band together if we have any chance of erasing stigma, and Stigmama is doing precisely that.
Congratulations, Stigmama! Keep up the Incredible Work!
Congratulations, Dr. Karraa and Stigmama! The work you are doing is making a difference. The voice you provide others means something. It means we are truly never alone. It means we can, and must, speak up about stigma and mental illness. It means that Mamas everywhere are ready to join the cause–to stop the stigma of maternal mental illness so we can finally start living!
Join the “Happy Birthday Stigmama Blog Hop, here!
What do you want to say “out loud?” Leave a comment below and speak your mind–on motherhood, stigma, mental illness, and a better world!
Available now at Target, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, New Harbinger, or your local bookseller!
“Who Am I Without You is the light at the end of the tunnel!”
“So much more than a breakup book, this is a guide to self-worth for anyone, all in a neat little 52-lesson package!”
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