I am so excited and thrilled to write this special blog regarding how I found my 'Happy' and am now 'talking the talk' in removing the stigma of mental health illness.
Recently at the end of March 2021, I published my second book, "I Just Want To Be Happy Again: How to Find Yourself Again While Facing Life Struggles" Since then, I have had several requests from fellow Facebook Friends and colleagues asking the question of 'why' I wrote the book and decided to answer this question with this blog.
I am both humbled and thrilled to share my personal journey and story behind publishing this book. It is comprised of 14 of the most popular blog articles of "Made You Smile Back".
The most important thing is that we are 'walking the talk'- Gabby Bernstein
Like many of you who read my blog and a part of the 'Achieving Happiness' Facebook Group, we all have experienced everyday life struggles. Let's face it, life can get you down from time to time, right?
No one is immune from suffering from occasional or chronic depression, anxiety, sadness, grief, heartbreak and other life difficulties. Speaking for myself, believe me, I have had my share of going 'down that rabbit hole' on more than one occasion. But the tipping point for me was my frustration out of trying to 'reach out' for help while suffering from acute post-partum depression several years ago. Let me explain.
I'll never forget when I first arrived from the hospital after a long two week stay as a result of complications delivering my 3rd daughter. I had previously lost my mother to pancreatic cancer just six months before and was missing her terribly along with the rather painful and emotional recovery I was going thru.
You would think that I would have been overjoyed by being at home, but it didn't turn out that way. Instead, I realize very early on that I just wasn't feeling like my usual self. I began to be anxious over every little thing and started to feel overwhelmed. It was a struggle just to get through the day. And each day I sunk deeper and deeper into the abyss of the dreaded 'rabbit hole'!
Jeff Grossman, with a Master's Degree in Mental Health Counseling of Richmont Graduate University, says it best when it comes to describing depression and I quote:
"Those who suffer from Depression have their own, specific kind of rabbit hole. There’s the kind of depression you may experience over the course of a day or week. Seasonal depression. Postpartum Depression. Depression after the passing of a loved one. Depression resulting from the aftermath of a catastrophic event. And, there’s clinical depression. Time does not mend the mental state, instead without diagnosis and proper treatment, most only sink deeper."
Like Jeff Grossman states, time does not mend the mental state unless one gets properly diagnosed and treated. Yes, I experienced this and with each day being undiagnosed, I was falling quickly and further down that 'rabbit hole'.
As each day progressed in my post-partum recovery, my 'logical brain' was telling me that this was not the average 'baby blues'... Remember, I had had two previous births, so this wasn't my first rodeo. No this was different but I figured after some time, I should start to improve. I did not.
The straw that broke the camel's back was when one Friday late afternoon my husband came home and was expecting a hot dinner waiting for him. I had spent most of the day crawled up sitting at the corner of my living room couch watching TV. I was watching 'Oprah' at the time my husband came home.
'So... what's for dinner', my husband asked. He startled me out of the stupor I had found myself in. I had forgot about dinner. In fact, I hadn't even gave it a moment's thought. At that point, my husband sat beside me. He KNEW I was overwhelmed. He KNEW I was having a difficult time with feeling down and depressed. He had had enough. He raised his voice and hands to me shouting:
"Why can't you just SNAP out of it!"
I looked at him with tears streaming down my eyes... "Don't you think if I could 'snap out of it', I would?! Do you think that I like feeling this way!"
It was at that precise moment that I made the decision right there. I would do whatever it took to take immediate charge of my situation and get the help I so desperately needed, regardless of my husband understanding me or not.
Yes, I reached up as high as I could out of that 'rabbit hole' and made a call to my sister who in turn contacted my best friend.
Luckily, my sister, Ava, and my best friend, Ellen, were able to convince my husband that I needed to see a doctor. That this was a serious situation. And predictably, my primary care physician realized I was in acute post-partum depression and I was referred to a lady psychiatrist that very day.
Long story short, it took six long months to start feeling back to my former positive self. In fact, I spent four months isolated and alone in my home not leaving except to see my doctor. And during this isolation period, I made conscious, albeit tiny steps, to find out how to make myself feel better. I longed to get back to the happy self I wanted back so badly.
That's when I started researching everything I could get my hands on. I must have read over 20+ self-improvement books and they did indeed help. But there was still a part of me that wanted to find out how other sufferers of depression handled their situations and more specifically, I wanted to be able to talk to other mothers who had 'found themselves again' coping through post-partum depression.
Let me ask those of you reading this... have you ever found yourself just 'so sick and tired of feeling sick and tired' all the time! That's where I was at the time. There had to be additional resources other than self-help books and seeing my psychiatrist. The journey continued.
I decided to go online...
When I searched in the google search bar, 'I just want to be happy again', I was sooooo disappointed with the results. Oh sure, there were the typical medical mental health sites, such as Mayo's Clinic and such. Plus, there were several psychology-type websites as well. But here's the deal...
They all were just providing information about depression and what the symptoms were and various medical treatments. There were even sites that provided a survey or questionnaire to complete to find out if you were depressed!
I didn't need to take a survey! I already KNEW I was depressed! What I was searching for... what I was looking for... was to find a supportive community of people who were experiencing what I was going through.
I wanted to find out how long they had it.
I wanted to find out what they did to find themselves and get back to their happy selves.
I wanted to find out if others felt the same way I did.
I wanted someone to talk to that could relate to my story.
I wanted someone to listen to me.
I remembered after searching for days trying to find the above answers, I made a promise to myself. I promised that at some point in the future, I would proactively provide a platform to address all these concerns. I would do my part in removing the stigma of mental illness and have a no-judgment zone where people suffering from all types of mental illness can come to and have resources available to them with many options to choose from.
After taking time to raise my daughters and being a Realtor, I decided to pursue my passion for writing and I knew I wanted to become a blogger.
Not just a blogger who types about their day to day life, but someone who would provide inspiration, encouragement and thought-provoking content for those of us facing everyday life struggles.
Made You Smile Back was created. Today, there are over 65 blog postings available to all readers who have found and discovered this blog site. There are resources available, quizzes, ebooks and availability of one on one Happiness Life Sessions to all.
A private facebook group known as 'Achieving Happiness', (who I invite all of you to join) was also created for this very 'community' of like-minded people I so craved earlier to be a part of.
Every Friday at 6:00 p.m. CST, I host a Facebook Live event discussing various topics surrounding the ability of 'achieving happiness' for all in the face of mental illness issues.
But what I'm most proud of and why I wrote this blog was to provide my story behind the publication and release of my new book, "I Just Want To Be Happy Again: How to Find Yourself Again While Facing Life Struggles".
‘I Just Want To Be Happy Again’ was written in response to the overwhelming feedback received from readers all around the world. It is a collection of 14 of the most popular ‘blog posts’ from ‘Made You Smile Back’. The various topics center around how one can ‘find themselves again while facing everyday life struggles’ in achieving happiness and joy once again in their lives.
So my friends, this wraps up the 'why' behind releasing and publishing my book. I wanted to provide a 'go-to' book that one could earmark, mark up, and re-read as often as needed. I wanted to offer into the marketplace a friendly resource where one could turn to.
Do know this book can also be considered a 'gift book' and shared with those who are in need of encouragement, inspiration, and cheer. We all deserve to be happy again.
I welcome reviews and of course any feedback to improve upon for future blog topics. Take care and many blessings to each and everyone who is visiting and reading "Made You Smile Back"! I sincerely appreciate each and everyone of you.