Monday, September 12, 2011

Support groups - they are pretty much awesome. And I would know.

For all of the momma's currently struggling about whether or not to say anything about a possible PPMD (Postpartum Mood Disorder) - a support group is a great place to start. I'm an odd duck. I had no problem admitting there was a big problem, which, correct me if I'm wrong, is really really hard for a lot of mom's.
I felt really bad - I couldn't take it anymore. I'd been through a lot, so of course those around me knew I'd struggle, but no one knew what was going to happen or that PPD, PPA and PTSD would become a huge part of my life for the next year (lets face it people, I'm not going to magically be "cured" in the next 7 weeks. There is no fairy dust for this. Dang you Tinkerbell!).
I needed to reach out for counseling and medication. I had no shame. I wanted to feel better asap (and as we have learned, this has yet to happen!). But I was TERRIFIED of going to a support group. Looking back, I have no idea why. It is literally one of the two the safest places I've been, other than my therapists' office.
Every time someone new comes to a group meeting I feel their anxiety and I want to wrap them in a hug because I remember how horrible I felt telling my story to strangers and risking judgement (all while pouring tears and snot - it was the ugly cry. You know the one I mean.). I hadn't yet learned that this was one place where there was NO judgment, only nods of understanding, a possible laugh or two, dark chocolate (it's a good source of temporary serotonin. Google it- it is a fact.) and a lot of Kleenex.
I've become somewhat of a pro at the whole support group thing. I would recommend it to anyone. Hell, I drive over an hour to get to the group that I love with all my heart. I've met women who have changed me for the better and who are an excellent support both inside and outside group. Again, there is no judgement. I hold no judgement for them and I know they are not judging me. How many places can you say that about? Not many I bet.
So if you are a mom trying to figure out where to turn or what to say or who to say it to - try a support group. You'd be amazed at the resources you'll find there. And you don't have to say anything. You can just listen and if something clicks and you maybe feel like sharing a little bit about what's bothering you or what you think may be a problem, all you will get in return is amazing help and a gratitude that you are there; strong enough to be reaching out for help. It is not easy to admit to strangers that you are broken. But the women (and sometimes men) in the room already know that because they are either currently walking in your shoes or have very recently been there, done that and have about 30 tee-shirts to prove it.
And to the mom's who I'm talking about here that are part of my group (past and present both count!!), you know who you are: thank you. You saved me from drowning. And during the weeks when I feel like I am slipping back under you pull me back up. No easy task so thank you from my whole heart (not just the bottom).

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