Amanda Wilson

Writer and Mental Health Blogger

I was “that” mom today.

The type of mom that society deems “unfit”. The mom that other moms whisper about behind her back. The mom who’s judged by others wondering if she should have been a parent at all.

I was “that” mom that stuck her baby in a crib to let him “cry it out”. I was that mom who put her baby in front of an iPad for 40 minutes because she needed a break. I was that mom that let her baby muddle around on the living room floor while she took a 10 minute break on Instagram. I was “that” mom.

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One thing I have learned over the years when it comes to my mental illness, and living with my PTSD and GAD, is that healing comes in waves.

Just as my depressive episodes tend to come and go, depending on any number of factors, healing is the eventual next step in the process.

But for me, and for many others out there, healing has to be a choice.

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I think there is a misplaced standard when it comes to trauma.

Most times when you talk to others about living with a mental health issue, the focus of the story is typically about the painful experiences you have endured and survived. Lots of times people want to hear the horror stories of your past, or see the battle wounds you suffered over the years before you finally escaped. When it comes to talking about trauma, sometimes I think people assume that your past is nothing but painful memories, a whirlpool of pain and trauma that is unimaginable to the average person. And while in some cases this is true, not everyone feels this way, especially me.

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Music is my medicine.

Well, no not really, but it’s a fantastic outlet that helps me find the words to express the sometimes jumbled-up feelings inside my head when my anxiety is running wild or my depression is leaving me feeling speechless.

Now that we’re living during uncertain times because of the Covid-19 pandemic, anxieties and panic are running high. While my anxiety isn’t necessarily going a-wall over contracting the virus, my mental health has taken a huge hit as I self-isolate with my baby and husband.

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I’m gonna be brutally honest with you. Motherhood is hard AF.

Never in my life have I experienced so many new challenges and hurdles when it comes to attempting to raise a “perfect” child. It seems like you can’t get through one phase without another one slapping you right in the face (or drooling over your face – Thanks, kiddo!) There are so many stages your child has to go through to develop into a little human being – the newborn stage, the infant stage, the shit-my-pants-three-times-a-day phase; all relevant to healthy brain (and bowel) developments, but also learning experiences for mama.

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If it’s one thing I’m really good at besides writing, it’s baking.

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From delicious cookies to layered cakes with buttercream icing and designs, even scones and cheese buns, I can make it all. But I’m especially famous for my chocolate chip cookies!

I have both my mother and grandmother to thank for instilling my love for baking (and cooking) over the years. How many hours would I spend watching them make cookies or muffin while I played with a pile of flour (when I was five… not when I was older!), or mimic their hand movements to perfecting the perfect dough? tenorI am thankful for learning this skillset because I do enjoy creating new dishes and being in the kitchen on a regular basis.

But something I started to realize over the last year is that I’m a depressed baker.

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Three months ago my life changed in the most life-alterting, beautiful way.

While I never imagined I would get to this point in my life; after all the trials and tribulations I faced over the years because of my illness, and then nine months of complications and more trials and tribulations, I was able to welcome a beautiful, handsome, healthy little boy into the world. Despite years and years of doubt of being able to have kids, and the (still) constant fear of passing on my illness to any kids, I am so blessed to have my little beautiful boy in my life. Even twelve weeks later, I still wake up baffled, looking at his cute face, thinking, “How did I get to this point in my life?”

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Ah, Spouses.

Partners. Lovers. Boyfriends. Girlfriends. Soulmates. Better halves. Pain in the necks.

What would we do without them?

When it comes to being in love and being in a loving, committed relationships, things will not always been smooth sailing. Roads will not always be pothole-free. Ships sometimes might take on water (or seasickness may endure, if you’re anything like me). But regardless of these rough roads we sometimes must endure as couples, if you both love each other and are committed to one another, things will always work out in the long run. And in most lucky cases, that big blow out or that troubling time becomes something to laugh at later on, which is typically followed by the dismayed, “What we’re were even fighting about anyway?” question.

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Disclaimer: If you experience suicidal thoughts or have lost someone to suicide, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the NL 24 Hour Crisis Line at 1-888-737-4668.

I’m not open about my scars.

For as dedicated and vocal I am about battling my mental health issues and reciting the stories of the rough roads I have faced over the last seven years, very rarely do I ever talk about the scars left behind. More often than not, I tend to brush over the aftermath of the wounds my PTSD have left behind, instead focussing on the silver lining of my pain, the positive healing that I have experienced.

While part of me knows this is because the remnants of my scars can be easily overlooked, there are also “scars” that are not as noticeable that would immediately make someone jump to conclusions. There are scars from my illness that didn’t raise red flags to friends and loved ones for years.

And even though my scars are something I tend to cover (both figuratively and literally), it is an aspect of my life that I also had to learn to accept, a dark part of my illness that tend to make many others look the other way.

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To my future husband,

As the days begin to countdown, far too quickly in my opinion, and we rush to finish last-minute wedding plans, making sure all our affairs are in order – gifts bought, cake topper selected, heckling people for late RSVP’s – I can’t help but take a moment to reflect back on how far we have come, of all that we have been through and to be hopeful in all we have yet to see.

And even though we have our ceremony planned and songs picked to walk down the aisle to, there are still some vows that I won’t get the chance to say to you on our wedding day. There are some promises that I don’t have the courage to say out loud to you, in front of all our friends and family. For these vows are too hard, and too deep, for me to recite to you.

But even though I don’t have the strength to say them to you out loud, I still want you to hear them, because I mean every single word; for these vows are as precious to me as the ring you placed on my finger.

With everything that I am, I make these silent vows to you.

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