Because Weakness is Strength — Why Mom Bloggers Resonate with Readers

by Janice

My Grandmother killed herself. Or drank herself to death. No one can tell me for sure.

But, after a lifetime of numbing her pain with alcohol, my grandmother was found dead at her kitchen table, empty bottles of pills next to her.

I never met my grandmother from my father’s side. I have only seen a few faded pictures of her as a young mother holding her first born (my father) and her as a new grandmother holding her first grandchild (my older sister). All I was ever told about her was that she an alcoholic — a “sick” drunk who took to her bed.

Now, as an adult, I know what was wrong with my Grandmother — as well as what was probably wrong with countless others of my family members, including my late father. It was not hard to figure it out, to look at the patterns, the generations of hurt, knowing now what my siblings and I have inherited.

Chemical imbalances are as prevalent in our family as dimples and freckles are in others. Crippling depression, anxiety and/or panic attacks affect all three of my siblings and myself. (I have even passed the genes on to my own son.)

All of us know what it is like to have our minds betray us, to be knocked over and held to the ground by invisible waves of pain.

And so I am sure that is what my Grandmother faced.

But she was all alone.

No one talked about their emotions in those days. No one understood depression. If anything they were “sent to bed” with a “nervous breakdown,” hushed whispers seeping under the door jam, confirming the unspeakable fears. They were crazy, weak, useless, a burden.

I get angry when I think of the world in which my Grandmother lived — a world that kept her in shame. I feel horrified that she had no medication to help her, except what she could find in a bottle of alcohol.

I know that if I didn’t live in this world — a place where I can talk about my depression and anxiety, a place where medication exists that allows me to face every day — that I would have probably ended up like my Grandmother, holed up in a bedroom, drinking myself to death.

Because depression and anxiety can be so unbearable, there is no way to endure it alone. It will kill you.

Thankfully, every morning I have little pills that change my world. They adjust the chemicals in my brain so that I can cope — almost as well as the rest of the world.

And even more importantly, there are hundreds of thousands of people now talking about their struggles, sharing their own stories.

It took Susan and I quite a long time to write about our depression and anxiety on this site. Still, we felt judged. What if people thought we were too weak? What if they thought we couldn’t run our businesses?

And then we realized what we were doing — how we were contributing to the cycle of shame.

So, we wrote. And we spoke. And we told everyone.

Because we wanted you all to know, that it is okay. It is normal and common and (somewhat) treatable.

I recently was accused of making women look weak by talking about people struggling with anxiety. I was so enraged. It is NOT weakness! It is not the plight of just women either.

The men and women who fight through each day, pushing through the force of depression and anxiety are the furthest thing from weak.

So bloggers keep writing. Keep telling the stories of struggles and pain. Of loss and hurt. Because baby — weakness IS strength.

It would be wise to bring an alcoholic friend or loved one to alcoholism treatment centers before something disastrous happens to them because of their excessive drinking.

Written by Janice Croze, Mom Blogger and 5 Minutes For Mom Co-Founder
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Email Author    |    Website About Janice

Janice is co-founder of 5 Minutes For Mom. She's been working online since 2003 and is thankful her days are full of social media, writing and photography. You can see more of her photos at janicecrozephotography.com.

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{ 113 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lori August 31, 2011 at 2:13 pm

How heartbreaking! My mother-in-law is the sweetest woman you would ever want to meet but she struggles with depression and I can see how difficult it is. I struggled with physical pain for 20 years but I think mental pain is more difficult…

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2 Janice September 1, 2011 at 5:39 am

Yes Lori, like physical pain, mental pain is torture.

It is the most terrifying feeling to feel like your mind is out of your control, that you can feel yourself going crazy. I felt that once when I was in the depths of PPD one week after my first child was born and we were facing a possible diagnosis of kidney disease.

It was the most terrifying place I have ever been in and it showed me the horror of what some people have to endure from mental illness. Fortunately, mine is rarely so severe and medication keeps me stable.

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3 Tarasview August 31, 2011 at 2:37 pm

I have talked about this very thing many times- I can only imagine how the women in my family who came before me dealt with their anxiety and depression and post partum depression… my grandmother handled it by faking it… she pretended everything was ok but almost went crazy and it ate her up inside.

And I too have passed on my anxiety to my children. It breaks my heart. And I look at my son with his Autism and I imagine how he would have been treated 50 years ago… punished to the point of abuse, shuffled off to a mental institution as so many people with mental illness were. Ignored. Judged. It scares me to think of where your son and mine would be if they had been born in a different generation.

I have felt judged many times for my depression & anxiety. BUT I am determined to talk about because I have found comfort and acceptance with my friends- like you Janice & Susan too… people who love me inspite of my crazy insecurities and issues.

Thank-you for sharing this dear Janice. It is a story that needs to be told.

xox

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4 Janice September 1, 2011 at 5:40 am

Yes Tara — I shudder to think of what past generations have endured and still are enduring in other countries!

Thank you so much for sharing here and for also openly helping to reduce the shame! Love you girl!!!

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5 nuria brugues August 31, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Hello from Barcelona
Haven’t read such a brave and sincere post for a long time… seems as though society is realizing how many mental illnesses We’ve hoy and how they are increasing….

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6 Janice September 1, 2011 at 5:42 am

Thank you for your feedback! So nice to hear from someone so far away. Yes – I am so grateful that society is catching up and people are finding freedom!

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7 Lindsay Dianne August 31, 2011 at 2:43 pm

Nearly every woman in my family has suffered from these issues as well, myself included. I’m very lucky to have found something that works for me… and it includes writing about it and breaking the silence.
You guys are the opposite of weak.

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8 Janice September 1, 2011 at 5:43 am

Thank you Lindsay!!! Isn’t it incredible how healing it is to write! For years, we didn’t openly write about it or about my son’s medical issues. Finally I decided I needed to stop being afraid and be part of the change!

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9 Justice Fergie August 31, 2011 at 2:43 pm

thanks for sharing this Janice. know that you are honoring your grandmother by using your voice and being the anchors of a community that she wasn’t able to have.

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10 Janice September 1, 2011 at 5:44 am

Thank you!!! That means so much to hear. It is so strange to have never known her. I wonder what she would think of all of this…

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11 Barb August 31, 2011 at 2:53 pm

Thank you for writing this. Hugs! I’ve only recently been spending time here, and now I want to spend more time.

It’s hard to talk about taboo topics like anxiety and depression. For the longest time, I didn’t talk about my husband’s drinking. No one did in our extended family, or if they did, they put the onus on me to do something about. Now I talk about it because I want to help other moms and wives. I just share my story one woman at a time in hopes that I help someone else find the help they need.

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12 Janice September 1, 2011 at 5:46 am

Thanks Barb — what encouragement!!!

Good for you girl! Sharing about alcoholism can be so hard – especially when it is in your immediate family and so raw. I am sure that you are a miracle for everyone woman you reach!

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13 Kent Weakley August 31, 2011 at 2:58 pm

Janice,
I applaud your courage to talk about this condition. It is amazing with all the advances in medicine and technology, we (society in general) still have such a stigma about mental illness.

I do advertising and marketing for a local center that treats these conditions. I’ve learned through the years that this is by no means limited to a handful of ‘crazy’ people. Instead, it effects endless amounts of people at all different levels. I’ve crunched the numbers and concluded that about 8% of our local community uses the services of this facility. That’s a huge number.

The mystic and complexity of the human brain is so amazing and so are the many things that can go ‘wrong’. I believe, because it plays such a role in our personality and identity that we approach it in an all-or-nothing manner. If your knee is acting up, or you take high blood pressure medicine, people don’t feel uneasy around you, but mental illness is treated differently.

I wish you the best in your treatment and your ability to cope and hopefully advance beyond this condition. You have friends, people to talk with, and many avenues for treatment. Always keep moving forward. Take care! :)

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14 Janice September 1, 2011 at 5:48 am

Thank you so much Kent! Yes – it is incredible how many people mental illness touches! One of my next posts will be about how even though I talk about my depression and anxiety — I usually hit the backspace button if I refer to myself and “mental illness.” Those words still slap me with shame and I think, “not me!”

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15 Wendy August 31, 2011 at 3:04 pm

{Hugs} Rarely spoken of by the family members to each other, let alone to those outside the family. {Hugs}

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16 Janice September 1, 2011 at 5:49 am

Thanks Wendy — yes, so true. It is amazing to me how little I know about my grandmother and my father’s family. You know — maybe I should reach out and ask questions to my aunt. She is the only one alive now…

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17 Wendy September 2, 2011 at 5:04 pm

Maybe now is the time for you, but only if you truly want to know. There may never be another opportunity. I sat my grandmother down and asked her a lot of family history questions. I learned so much from my grandmother, who died unexpectedly shortly afterward.

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18 Ellen Rowan August 31, 2011 at 3:11 pm

Oh Janice. How amazing you are… Tears streaming down my face reading your post. I know you know why because you know me too. My mom always cautions me when it comes to my lack of filters around sharing my struggles with Anxiety, ADHD and Hypomania. She also came from a generation where talking about it was taboo and crying indicated weakness. Along with that comes a lot of denial, guilt and lack of action to be mentally healthy. I know I didn’t understand why I was the way I was until I started to recognize my daughter’s struggles and become more proactive in my own self care and modeling of strength. I see labels as less about stereotyping and more about tools in the journey to understand our unique brains in order to build strategies for health and productivity. I could go on and on and on but I’ll stop there. I appreciate you and all that you do to empower and validate moms (and others). xo

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19 Janice September 1, 2011 at 5:50 am

HUGS to you my friend!!!
And how I LOVE this “I see labels as less about stereotyping and more about tools in the journey to understand our unique brains in order to build strategies for health and productivity.” – I may just quote you one day! :)

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20 Vera August 31, 2011 at 3:22 pm

First I got goosebumps. Then I got teary eyed. Now I love you more.

Thank you for being so open. Thank you for letting us see this side of you. Thank you for sharing such a story.

Wonderful post

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21 Janice September 1, 2011 at 5:51 am

Thank you Vera!!! A blogger couldn’t ask for a better comment. HUGS

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22 Danielle Smith August 31, 2011 at 3:44 pm

Janice – the beauty in this post is your honesty and your courage. It IS through speaking up, speaking out and sharing that we are all stronger. Thank you for being so true and open. xoxoxo

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23 Janice September 1, 2011 at 5:52 am

Thank you Danielle! And thank you for always being a source of friendship and encouragement!

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24 Kristi Schneider August 31, 2011 at 4:05 pm

Wow. This was amazing! Sometimes just opening up & is healing enough. And many people can relate!

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25 Janice September 1, 2011 at 5:52 am

Thanks Kristi! Yes — I have read this post over and over and it heals me.

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26 Bridget August 31, 2011 at 4:08 pm

On a day like today, when I finally called my doctor to see about upping my meds, I needed to hear this.
I am not weak.
And I am not alone.

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27 Janice September 1, 2011 at 5:53 am

OH girl!!! HUGS – I am so glad we connected in this way today. Oh I love the internet!

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28 debi9kids August 31, 2011 at 4:18 pm

Amen!
Never stop being honest. THAT is the appeal… Your willingness to say things others might be afraid to outloud and you never know who you might be helping or saving by being so honest.
So, thank you.

Can’t tell you how many people told me to keep quiet about my husband’s infidelity, but what I can tell you is that by me being willing to open up, I reached so many people who were afraid to say what I wasn’t.

Believe me, you help more people than you’ll ever know.

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29 Janice September 1, 2011 at 5:55 am

Amen to that! It is so much better to help others than be afraid of judgement. Way to go girl – way to go!

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30 Emily August 31, 2011 at 4:25 pm

My grandmother also had a fre breakdowns while she was alive. When I was diagnosed with PPD/A it wasn’t really a surprise to anyone. I cannot imagine living in a time where I was expected to bring my husband his slippers and brandy only to have him tell me I was being silly when I felt crazy. Boils the blood a bit!

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31 Janice September 1, 2011 at 5:56 am

Boils the blood indeed! I can’t even imagine!

So glad that you were able to get a diagnosis and an understanding of what was going on with you.

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32 Christina Gleason August 31, 2011 at 4:40 pm

I’ve been struggling with anxiety and depression for years. The [diagnosable] anxiety started after 9/11. I was in denial about my depression until just a few years ago. They’re sort of two sides of the same coin for me, though. My postpartum depression went undiagnosed and untreated. Despite my Master’s degree in psychology, I believed it when my elder female relatives told me how I was feeling was “normal.”

Looking back, it was not. I was a disaster. My substitute OB/GYN (because the doc who delivered TJ went on vacation the following week) gave me the PPD questionnaire 5 days after he was born… and it was never mentioned again. PPD can manfiest for up to two years after giving birth! But it went ignored because I passed the initial quiz I was given.

I wouldn’t be where I am today without finally making the call to the man who has been my psychiatrist since 2008. Through a combination of medication and talk therapy, he’s gotten me from barely functioning to successful businesswoman. Without his help (and the support of my husband, who is amazing), I might have just given up when I was laid off from my last office job. Instead, I had a new website up within 24 hours and began taking on copywriting clients.

But DEAR GOD, I do still have my moments. I was a sob-wracked zombie for most of July. Even the maintenance meds can’t help sometimes when life throws personal tragedies at you.

It’s always good to find the support and camaraderie of other women who GET IT.

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33 Janice September 1, 2011 at 5:59 am

SO true — all of what you said!!! Amen to it all!

I am SO glad to hear that you are doing so well – but yes, personal tragedies and life challenges can throw us for quite a loop! I am having a hard time at the moment, and writing and sharing this week is really helping.

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34 Rachel August 31, 2011 at 4:47 pm

Yes, yes yes!! The honesty that blogging and relationships via blogging brings is SO cleansing and healthy!! And not only that, it has helped me be more honest in the “real world”, too!! Thank you to you too for promoting honesty about struggles. I just wrote about being honest about parenthood last week ( http://www.graspingforobjectivity.com/2011/08/ambassadors-for-honesty-about-parenthood-2.html ). I hope that future generations can only become more transparent and honest, and never go back to that horrible existence that your Grandmother struggled in.

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35 Janice September 1, 2011 at 6:02 am

Yes – it helps us to be more real in the “real” world too, doesn’t it? Thanks! I hadn’t thought of that.

Thanks for sharing Rachel – I am heading over to read your post…

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36 gigi August 31, 2011 at 5:02 pm

Janice, I think you are so brave for writing this post, and for acknowledging how powerful a healer sharing and having a community can be. Your grandmother would be so proud of you and Susan for finding such a positive outlet to express your challenges and for allowing others to have that outlet, too.

xoxo

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37 Janice September 1, 2011 at 6:03 am

THANK YOU Gigi!!! I really appreciate your support and encouragement!

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38 Shelly August 31, 2011 at 6:20 pm

I truly believe that if you are prescribed a prescription for depression or anxiety it is nothing different than being prescribed something for high blood pressure or any other medical condition. They are all medical conditions that have excellent treatments. This topic should no longer be an embarrassment. I applaud you for this post.

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39 Janice September 1, 2011 at 6:04 am

Thank you Shelly!!! I agree!

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40 Christi August 31, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Amen, amen, and amen! I truly believe one of the reasons I am still on this earth today is to share my story. If I can help one person, my daily struggle is not in vain! Yours isn’t either!! Thank you for joining with me in erasing the shame that comes with this very real and very difficult struggle!! God bless you both!!

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41 Janice September 1, 2011 at 6:05 am

Thank you Christi — and what an incredible woman you are! I love your attitude and I can only imagine the ripples of change and healing you have had in the world. :)

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42 Earth Monkey Mom, Gena August 31, 2011 at 7:03 pm

This was very brave and very well written…your honesty is admirable!!! Thank you for sharing this!

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43 Janice September 1, 2011 at 6:06 am

Thank you Gena!!!

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44 Cristi August 31, 2011 at 7:18 pm

This is exactly why I blog. Thank you for being open and honest. Its the only way we will ever fight against the stigmas of mental illness and ensure proper education and treatment. Great post. Thank you for sharing.

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45 Janice September 1, 2011 at 6:06 am

Thank you Cristi — we are blessed to have this blogosphere aren’t we? :)

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46 Angela Nazworth August 31, 2011 at 7:32 pm

Oh Janice … I my heart aches knowing the deep pain that your grandmother was in … how awful to go through such agony alone. And I rejoice in reading the hope in your message … the beautiful honesty and the thwarting of shame! Thank you for sharing your beautiful heart.

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47 Janice September 1, 2011 at 6:08 am

Thank you Angela!!! Yes, it is heartbreaking to imagine all the years she suffered. How I wish I could go back and talk to her when she was holding her first born…

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48 christine wong-moon August 31, 2011 at 7:50 pm

Strength is the result of perseverance in the face of opposition. Whether it is an external or internal force matters not. Good for you for sharing it with others…it takes guts!

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49 Janice September 1, 2011 at 6:08 am

Thanks girl!!!

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50 Ana L. Flores August 31, 2011 at 7:52 pm

It takes courage and a huge heart to write this. Thank you!

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51 Janice September 1, 2011 at 6:09 am

Thank you Ana! HUGS

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52 Real Life Sarah August 31, 2011 at 8:05 pm

This is one of my favorite Bible verses: “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

When we are honest about our struggles and how God brings us through them, we are actually imparting Grace to others who are going through heartache too. I, too, could have been your grandmother, and it took a while to get through the stigma of the “unstable one” in some Christian circles. As if my faith wasn’t strong enough to heal my depression and anxiety. And my heart hurts for others who are buying into that lie.

Thank you both for speaking out. This had me in tears, but good ones.

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53 Kate September 1, 2011 at 2:20 am

I LOVE that verse and it has become so real to me lately as well. I completely agree that there is a stigma in Christian circles when things don’t follow a certain percieved plan. There’s always those voices in the back of my mind saying, “If you just prayed harder or read your Bible more, etc.” but although those are important it’s not just about that. Depression, anxiety, or any mental disorder is not from a lack of faith. But when dealt with a mixture of therapy and drugs can be squelched.

Kate
RetroModernMom.com

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54 Janice September 1, 2011 at 6:10 am

That is one of my favorite verses too — how many times I have said it over and over throughout my life.

I love how REAL you are too Sarah. ;) You are an inspiration and a VERY strong woman. LOVE YOU!

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55 Real Life Sarah August 31, 2011 at 8:06 pm

Oh, that verse is 2 Corinthians 9-11

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56 Chele August 31, 2011 at 8:19 pm

Janice, I love you… thank you for inspiring me to write about my anxiety and depression. There is nothing worse than those who think you are weak for taking medicine for anxiety/depression, I’ve faced a lot of those looks and reaction. Medicine is to help us and it’s helping me. Oh and it runs in my family too.

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57 Janice September 1, 2011 at 6:11 am

HUGS Chele — BIG huge HUGS! :)

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58 Lisa August 31, 2011 at 8:52 pm

Oh my word, you said it SO perfectly. Much love to you, and THANK YOU for continuing to put yourself out there, and helping to encourage us all to do the same.

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59 Janice September 1, 2011 at 6:12 am

Thank you Lisa! I so appreciate your feedback and encouragement!

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60 Stacey August 31, 2011 at 9:13 pm

This was absolutely beautiful and there wasn’t one weak thing about it. I am so glad you are speaking up about how crippling it can be and how to cope. I think there are so many women still feel too ashamed to speak up. I am so grateful that things are not what they were 50 years ago. I ache for your poor grandmother.

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61 Janice September 1, 2011 at 6:14 am

Thank you Stacey!! Yes, it is so wonderful that the world is moving to a place of openness and healing. The agony of the previous generations is heartbreaking!

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62 Amy B. August 31, 2011 at 9:15 pm

This is so touching and so true and so amazing, and one of the best things I’ve read in ages. But you know what? When I just tweeted it, I deleted the second half, the “mom blogger” part, of the title. Because I knew if I included it, a large portion of my audience wouldn’t bother clicking over to read it. What a shame. Says more about them than you, though. Thank you for this post.

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63 Janice September 1, 2011 at 6:15 am

Amy — I totally understand. I wondered about leaving it there too.

And thank you for such encouraging feedback!

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64 Robin | Farewell, Stranger August 31, 2011 at 9:28 pm

Janice, this post is awesome. It’s so common and we need to talk about this & to write about it. I started blogging to do just that, and I had no idea how good it would be for me. I’m sorry for your struggles and your family’s history, but I love that you are willing to be part of the chorus of voices sharing this story.

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65 Janice September 1, 2011 at 6:16 am

Thank you Robin! I am so glad that you are healing yourself through writing and sharing too. It is for our readers AND for us!

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66 Kelly August 31, 2011 at 9:30 pm

So brave of you to share this and so many other posts that are so honest and eye opening.

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67 Janice September 1, 2011 at 6:17 am

Thank you Kelly!!!

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68 Belinda August 31, 2011 at 10:53 pm

Thank you for a wonderful, inspiring post. For me, this is what gives blogging its appeal – being able to share the stuff that hurts- thus helping the rest of us understand that we aren’t alone; we are all just people facing whatever each day brings.

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69 Janice September 1, 2011 at 6:18 am

“We are all just people facing whatever each day brings.” – LOVE that! So true!

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70 Carmen August 31, 2011 at 11:01 pm

<3

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71 Janice September 1, 2011 at 6:18 am

<3 back at you ;)

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72 MusingsfromMe/Jill August 31, 2011 at 11:03 pm

Thank you for sharing your grandmother’s story. I can relate. My grandmother was a very depressed person. She would retire to bed for long spells or clean in a mad, vigorous, and crazy fashion on her worst days. She had a lousy childhood. Her mother gave birth to her while they were living in an “Oliver Twist-like workhouse.”
Anyone who complains about what you have written on this blog shows a tremendous lack of sensitivity for mental illness/depression.

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73 Janice September 1, 2011 at 6:20 am

Wow Jill – it is amazing to imagine what your grandmother’s life must have been like! I wish we could have read her blog – I wish she could have found healing and relief.

Thank you for your support and friendship Jill!

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74 Leah Segedie August 31, 2011 at 11:27 pm

I struggle with anxiety and depression too. My tool is all the crazy exercise I do. The endorphins really help with my mood. But if I go 3 days without cardio, I’m getting kinda batty again.

I loved that you shared this.

XXOO

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75 Janice September 1, 2011 at 6:22 am

Yes! Sue especially finds that if she doesn’t exercise her anxiety gets out of control. I have health problems that keep me from being able to do much cardio or intense exercise, but in the past few years I have been able to increase the amount I can walk and that is SUCH a relief!

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76 Krystel August 31, 2011 at 11:43 pm

Thanks so much for sharing your story. I too share these same issues and because its such a taboo subject I often feel alone as I am the only one who feels this way.

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77 Janice September 1, 2011 at 6:24 am

HUGS Krystel!! Thanks for sharing here and for your feedback! I notice you are an Army Wife. Girl — I give you HUGE props. That is a life I just admire so much but I don’t know if I could ever handle. SO hard. HUGS

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78 Judy Schwartz Haley August 31, 2011 at 11:45 pm

thank you for writing this.

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79 Janice September 1, 2011 at 6:24 am

Thank YOU!

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80 Tania aka Pure Natural Diva August 31, 2011 at 11:57 pm

Janice… this is lovely. You are lovely. You are brave…strong and full of courage. Honest sharing is the hope. Bring it on.

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81 Janice September 1, 2011 at 6:24 am

Thanks Tania!!!

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82 Jo-Lynne {Musings of a Housewife} September 1, 2011 at 6:15 am

Thank you for adding that this isn’t just the plight of women. It is so not, as I have seen in my family. You are a brave, smart, beautiful woman for sharing this and I admire you! Thank you for bringing this issue to light.

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83 Janice September 1, 2011 at 6:26 am

Yes Jo-Lynne – I think it is even harder for men to deal with the shame. I think so many men, like my father, never recognize, accept or get the help they need. I hope that more men are able to share their stories as well.

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84 Jennie September 1, 2011 at 6:41 am

My father was bipolar and unmedicated. And you are right – the disease of depression will kill you. He took his life 22 years ago when I was almost 21. Its something I still think about every day. I am relieved he no longer lives consumed by his pain – he refused medication and refused to believe his diagnosis. I have siblings who suffer from the disease as well. Its all consuming for them. They struggle with the medications and therapy. There is depression, OCD and anxiety trickling through the very blood in our family’s veins. I worry constantly that one day it will just hit me or heaven forbid my own daughter. I am hyper-vigilant looking for signs of it in myself and other family members. Its become my own special anxiety and OCD behaviors. I appreciate your openness and willingness to disclose your own struggles. For those who feel disconnected, detached and depressed – its good to know there are others out there. I hope you continue to do do well – to not just survive but to thrive and be happy.

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85 Janice September 2, 2011 at 7:42 pm

Oh Jennie – I am so sorry!!! That is so hard!!! I am relieved to hear that you are ok and that you are open to looking for signs in yourself and your daughter. I hope that you will have peace from that though and that the worry of what could be won’t consume you. HUGS

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86 Goodynuffmum September 1, 2011 at 12:28 pm

It’s so important to destigmatise mental health issues. The worst thing we can do is keep them in. Well done.

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87 Janice September 2, 2011 at 7:44 pm

Yes! Thanks for your feedback!

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88 Nancy Wurtzel September 1, 2011 at 1:49 pm

Thanks for this great post. A number of my father’s brothers and sisters were alcoholics and I’m sure they suffered from depression and anxiety. I have it and so do my sisters and my daughter…I’m so grateful that there is treatment today and that the stigma is (mostly) gone. We have to bring this out into the open so that we can all get the help we deserve and live fuller lives. Thank you!!

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89 Janice September 2, 2011 at 7:45 pm

For sure! I am so sorry to hear about the pain in your family! It is good to hear your positive outlook!

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90 Cathi September 1, 2011 at 2:27 pm

Well said Janice. Thank you. I used to think anxiety and panic attacks were a figment of the imagination. Then my daughter died in an auto accident. I learned first hand how anxiety and panic attacks can control our lives. We live, learn and grow every single day. :)

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91 Janice September 2, 2011 at 7:47 pm

Oh gosh – I am so sorry for your loss! I can only imagine how such tragedy must affect anxiety attacks.

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92 Samantha September 1, 2011 at 4:59 pm

What a inspirational post! I have anxiety and PTSD. Sometimes I panic and I can’t help it. It can be embarrassing and posts like this help me look at it in a different way other than weakness. Thank you for standing up for women everywhere who suffer from a chemical imbalance and standing up against people who don’t care to learn more about it.
-Samantha

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93 Janice September 2, 2011 at 7:50 pm

Thank you for sharing Samantha!!! I am so glad that my post helps you look at your panic in a better light. It is so hard – and so often I have to tell myself not to be ashamed.

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94 Christie O. September 2, 2011 at 10:02 am

Incredible, honest and wonderful post, Janice. My heart breaks for your grandmother and for your family for losing her that way. Thank you for writing about it too, because it’s hard enough to not feel shame inside on your own, and then to be able to get past that and actually talk about it absolutely does takes courage. Thank you for embracing your strength, we who have felt this way and deal with it too all thank you.

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95 Janice September 2, 2011 at 7:54 pm

Thank you Christie!!!

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96 Katherine September 2, 2011 at 10:39 am

I am so proud to know you.

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97 Janice September 2, 2011 at 7:54 pm

Right back at you!!!

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98 Laura September 2, 2011 at 10:49 am

This post is truly the opposite of weak. I have been lucky enough to escape the depression and anxiety that plagues my father’s side of the family, but unfortunately my sister lives with it everyday. I have seen first hand how difficult it can be, and I couldn’t imagine how individuals like your grandmother (and my own) must have felt. We live in an incredible world that is thankfully starting to lift the blanket of shame on these terrible disorders. I am so glad that this website can be not only an outlet for you, but a place for women to unite in their daily struggles. Thank you so much for this post :)

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99 Janice September 2, 2011 at 8:26 pm

Thank you Laura! I am so glad that you haven’t had to go through it yourself, but watching it in your family is so painful as well! Thank you for your support and encouragement!

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100 tiffany September 2, 2011 at 11:22 am

I just blogged about my own struggle today. And then found this link from Katherine at PPP. Thank you.

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101 Janice September 2, 2011 at 8:26 pm

Thanks Tiffany – I will go look for your post. :)

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102 Working Mommy September 2, 2011 at 8:47 pm

It is so hard knowing that when your grandmother was alive, things like depression were considered taboo. No one wanted to talk about it and God forbid anyone ask for help. It is really sad to know that deaths like hers could have been prevented. I hope that you are able to better deal with your genes and get help if necessary.

WM

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103 adventures in babywearing September 3, 2011 at 12:10 am

Janice, I’m so proud of you girls. Missing you. Love.

Steph

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104 Erin September 3, 2011 at 1:38 am

Thank you for that point about weakness . . . it was a good day when I realized that slogging through pain and anxiety that can knock you right down is does NOT reflect weakness.

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105 Tasha September 3, 2011 at 1:42 am

I think whenever we are willing to bring our struggles out into the light and not hide behind a veil of perfection, it makes us and those that share similar struggles, stronger.

I struggle with anxiety. I struggle with the fact that I struggle with anxiety. Thanks for sharing your struggles and making *me* feel stronger.

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106 A Blogger September 4, 2011 at 10:39 pm

I talk sometimes about my mental illness online but only to those I feel I can trust with the information. I suffer from anxiety, depression, panic attacks, OCD and agoraphobia. Every day is a struggle. I have battled such deep dark places and been surprised that I survived. Suicide is on my mind a lot. Not that I would but I think about it because it would be an easy way out from the daily pain I feel. I do not want to leave my daughters without a mother and my husband without a wife. I am on medications, a lot of them. 7 different medications. They make me feel ok, not good, just ok. I have never felt whole. I have never felt normal and I wish and pray everyday that I could feel normal and happy just for a second. Some days I can leave my house and some days the fear is so crippling I can not make it past the threshold of my front door. I live in constant fear. I can not shower unless a responsible adult is home just in case I trip and fall in the shower and the razor I am using to shave my legs, slits my throat and I bleed to death in the tub. Don’t laugh, I think about things like this every second of every day. I live my life in fear. If I do not do something a certain way, if I do not do it a certain number of times, then I will die. I have been in therapy since I was 12 years old. I have never found anyone who could help me feel anything close to normal. When people talk about how depressed they are or that they have anxiety I secretly wish that was my only problem. I secretly wish I could just feel like a normal woman. I wish I had friends in real life. I can hide a lot of this online but in real life, I can’t hide it too well. People think, when I cancel plans last minute, that I am blowing them off. In all honesty I am canceling because the fear is so bad I can not leave my house. I pray for friends everyday. People think I am weird. The friends I had gave up on me after a while. Who wants to be friends with someone who can not leave the house sometimes and is afraid of everything. My only friend is my husband and sometimes my illness is too much for him and he has to get away from me just so that he can breathe. Our oldest daughter is showing a lot of signs of what I have but right now our goal is to teach her how to live with it. Her doctor is monitoring her but she is still young. At least we know and are not going in blind. I feel so guilty for passing this onto her. I feel like a bad mom for not giving her the best life. She is going to struggle for the rest of her life. It makes me cry just thinking that she may not have friends when she gets older. It makes me cry just thinking about how hard it is going to be to find a man who accepts her for who she is and loves her despite her illness. I am thankful that I found my husband but it has not been easy. I feel sorry for my husband sometimes. He is my life line. I depend on him for pretty much everything. He is my link to the outside world. Without him I would be lost and that is a huge burden to place on top someone’s shoulders.
In January, the state clinic that I go to, to get counseling and my medication, will be closing. Budget cuts. There are no other places within 2 hours from my house that are accepting new patients or taking my insurance. Right now I an scrambling to find help. January will come quickly. Without my medication I can not even leave my bed. I shake and rock back and forth. My panic attacks come every 15 to 30 minutes and can be so bad that it mimics a heart attack. I can’t sleep. I’m really scared that I will not be able to find help and that my medications will run out. Please pray for me, if you pray. That I can find help come January.
Thank you for letting me vent anonymously.

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107 Suebob September 5, 2011 at 1:29 am

Truthtelling is hard work, but it is worthwhile. Keep telling.

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108 Skye Diaz | motherhood, etc. September 6, 2011 at 3:34 am

This is a great post. Thank you! One’s struggle does not equal their weakness in so many ways. I don’t know what depression or having anxiety like that feels like… but sometimes I feel like I can’t do it anymore… motherhood, marriage, family…. it takes so much strength to get through those days. When I do, I feel I am in such a better place and have learned something new about myself. I don’t see those days as me being weak at all.

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109 karla porter archer September 6, 2011 at 6:07 am

oh girl… you know I can relate…

love you big. xoxo

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110 Blossom September 7, 2011 at 10:04 am

Great article.

My 13 year old daughter has been struggling with anxiety for the past couple of years. She also has ADD and a learning disability. It has been an ongoing struggle trying to get help for her. Our first struggle was finding a counseling program for her. Every single place/provider I looked into was waitlisted, and/or only offered counseling during hours that were impossible to manage, with my daughter being in school, and my husband and I both working full time.

We finally found a great program through a social services agency, and, as my daughter was on Medicaid at the time (due to my family’s income, having declined over the past few years due to layoffs), Medicaid paid for the full cost of the counseling.

After about 6 months of counseling, we lost our Medicaid coverage, due to our income being too high (when my husband starting getting a lot of overtime at work). We put our kids on the insurance through my husband’s job.

The social services agency doing the counseling only takes Medicaid though. and the private insurance would only reimburse for counseling through the agency, and only then, after meeting a $5,000 deductible, and still then, only reimbursing 80% of the cost. As we could not possibly afford that, we unfortunately had to discontinue our daughter’s counseling.

We are now trying to find a counseling program or provider covered by our private insurance, that is not waitlisted.

I was laid off from my job in May, and even though I am not working, between my unemployment pay, and my husband’s regular pay and overtime, we are still earning too much money for Medicaid, despite struggling to pay our bills.

It is sad that an average, middle class family should have to struggle to get affordable, badly needed mental health care for their child.

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111 1955nurse September 7, 2011 at 12:35 pm

Bravo – what a great article! My om fought what we now know was dpression almost all her adult life! It started after the still-born birth of my only sibling, and continued throughout her life. She was plagued w/lots of health probs, from Heart disease & Hypothyroidism to HBP & Obesity, and looking back it seems that that is where her difficulties began. No one talked about Depression back then as a bona fide illness that was treatable! I think her life might have been different if her Depression & anxiety had been treated. Keep up the good work – shedding light on these topics can only help others, & destroy the mystery that surrounds these disorders! Thanks….

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112 Proud/Crazy Army Mom September 7, 2011 at 5:34 pm

Just wanted to fling a quick, very sincere, tfs – thanks for sharing.

For some random & inexplicable reason I decided to not take my meds today, after 9 or so years on meds for bi-polar with anxiety. Not wise & I know it.

Guess I was just feeling the “what if I don’t really need them” demon, because I’ve never NOT taken them (on purpose, anyway – lol)

Um . . . yeah, I am very fortunate to be on meds & that we can afford them, & even though I wish it weren’t so, I do NEED to be taking them, dang it!!! Everything has made me cry today & the icky thoughts that have plagued me all my life – yup, there they are . . . so back in the kitchen I go.

I believe my life-line is going to be the blog I am starting (within the next week, I hope) called If You Give a Mom a Soldier (which is what triggered my extreme anxiety – imagine that!)

I am VERY thankful for coming across your blog during my research – you’ve helped more than you could ever know!

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113 Felicia September 8, 2011 at 9:55 pm

What an absolutely beautiful post. Thank you to both of you for sharing all that you do each day.

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