Over the weekend, people all over the world participated in Climb Out of the Darkness, the world’s largest even raising awareness for perinatal mood disorders. They climbed to symbolize their past personal climb out of the darkness. They climbed to symbolize their current fight to find their way out of the darkness. They climbed to support their loved ones who struggled or are currently struggling through the darkness.
I also participated in Climb Out of the Darkness. I climbed because I want others to be aware that there is more to look out for than “Baby Blues.” That postpartum depression isn’t always something that happens within the first few weeks, sometimes it takes a few months or even a year. That there are other perinatal mood disorders to be on the lookout for such as anxiety, OCD, psychosis, PTSD, and bipolar.
I climbed because medical professionals need to be up to date on the latest data and research findings. Instilling fear in patients because they choose to nurse while on antidepressants is not okay (one of my therapists tried that on me). They need to know that intrusive thoughts don’t necessarily mean parents will harm their kids. They need to know that any woman who says they think something is wrong with them can’t be blown off. They need to have names and numbers to other professionals to refer patients to.
I climbed because I want the silence to end. So many women suffer in silence. Silence can make it worse. Silence keeps us from realizing that we aren’t alone in our struggles with our thoughts and emotions. Silence gets us nowhere.
I climbed because I too and struggling through the darkness of postpartum anxiety and intrusive thoughts. I struggle every day.
I climbed with a group of awesome Warrior Moms.
Among those were Jennifer Marshall, who is on the editorial team for the Postpartum Progress blog and creator of This is My Brave. She’s one of the first bloggers I’ve started reading that I’ve met in real life which was pretty darn awesome. I love the work she’s been doing to bring more awareness to mood disorders, both of the perinatal and non-perinatal kind. Adrienne Griffen, who started Postpartum Support Virginia, the website I found my therapist on, also participated.
I gave a lot of thought to being a team leader for a climb nearer to where I live, but I have a hard enough time keeping track of two little boys this year. I didn’t want something like Climb to fall by the wayside, so my family and made the trip to NOVA.
Next year I hope to feel well enough to lead a climb in my city. Next year I hope to hold that “I’m Back” sign and know that I really am.