The profile picture I have posted shows a survivor of maternal mental illness. My smile is finally genuine after nearly six months of struggle with an invisible, yet very real enemy that manifests itself in many forms. In March, I finally came to terms with the seriousness of my condition and sought help. I am thankful that I live in a community like Gainesville, where medical help and counseling services are readily available, so that now, through the support of my medical team, friends, and family and by the abundant grace of God, I am finally out of the darkness.
My point in sharing this information with you is to help raise awareness about mental illnesses that can affect women during and after pregnancy. Until I experienced true clinical depression and anxiety, I was largely ignorant and unaware of how devastating an effect these illnesses can have not only on a mom, but on her entire family. (AND, grasping the full picture of mental illness is crucial for sympathizing with and helping those who are especially vulnerable--the downtrodden, abused, and addicted.) My experience, though painful, has taught me all this. Thus, as a mom and survivor of maternal mental illness, I encourage you to learn more, and, if you feel so inclined, consider contributing to my fundraiser on behalf of Postpartum Progress. I will be hiking on June 21st--the longest day of the year--to raise funds and awareness for this cause. Or join the hike at a "Climb out the Darkness" event near you!
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