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10 Honest Pictures Mothers With Mental Illness Want to Post on Facebook, but Don't

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Being a mom is hard work, but being a mom with a mental illness can be even harder. When you’re a mom who struggles, there’s a lot of pressure to seem like you have it all together, especially on social media. But while other mom’s “highlight reels” — photos of smiling families, clean houses and get-togethers — might make you feel inadequate — this couldn’t be further from the truth.

That’s why — in honor of Mother’s Day — we asked moms struggling with mental illness in the Mighty’s mental health community to share some photos they want to post on Facebook, but don’t. Because being a mom can be tough and messy and complicated — and it’s time we acknowledge the good, the bad and the ugly so that every mom, no matter what their circumstance, doesn’t feel alone or without support.

A huge shout out to all the unsung heroes out there — the moms who are struggling, but still persist. We see you, we appreciate you and we know you’re doing the best you can right now.

Here are the pictures moms in our community shared with us:

1. “This was actually a hard day for me. Depression made it hard to get going then anxiety third wheeled it the rest of the day. Many things were going on inside me that no one knew. My daughter recalls this day as one of the best this year. That’s what I strive for regardless of the battles within. Hard truths.” — Leesha K.

woman picking blueberries with her daughter

2. “I couldn’t even bring myself to get out of my PJs. I felt worthless this day, but my girls (who insisted on taking this picture) showed me they still loved me regardless of how I looked or how I felt about myself.” — Kari L.

woman with her children

3. “My fiancé took this photo on a bad anxiety and depression day. He was trying to cheer me up and show how happy our little one was by mama. I wasn’t into it though, which still makes me feel ashamed.” — Sam B.

mom holding her child

4. “When I just cannot get out of bed, my babygirl comes to me.” — Amy C.

mom laying in bed with her daughter

5. “We both have nightmares and night terrors every night and severe anxiety. He sleeps in my arms all night. I use my phone to see if he’s asleep and accidentally took a picture. I don’t post it because I hate everything about me so I don’t like posting or taking pictures of myself.” — Raven M.

woman in bed with her son

6. “My sons and I are now very honest about their experiences when I was not medicated in their youth. It’s funny because we can laugh now at some of their experiences, but it reminds me every day they need a better version of who I am now as their mother than who I was when they were children. Being young men, they now have to see a strong woman throughout, not just a woman who shows her strength by refusing to get help. Too many times we think by not taking meds or getting help we are helping our children, but in reality we are damaging them because they never get to see a side of us that’s not living in an alternate universe filled with anger, strife, sadness, mania or whatever your struggle is. Do it for your children so they can experience peace even if you are raging inside.” — Ivy M.

mom and her son

7. “This picture was the day after I was driven to the ER in an ambulance after a severe panic attack that induced a catatonic state and extremely high heart rate where I was sure I was going to die. I spent the next two days sleeping from severe fatigue and trying to make sense of my own brain. My son is empathetic by nature and could sense that I needed to laugh, so he climbed on top of the couch to take silly pictures with me. I wanted to post this on Facebook to show the calm after the storm, and to encourage others to always let love in.” Aeron B.

mom and her son

8. “I want to share pictures like this because of how adorable my daughters are, but I don’t because if the condition of my house. I’m often afraid if people knew what a disaster our house looks like at times that people would think I am a bad parent when the case is really that sometimes I have to choose putting my energy into loving my kids or cleaning my house because I don’t have the ability to do both.” — Megan G.

little kids sitting in a box with in messy house

9. “I have borderline personality disorder (BPD). Due to my untreated issues, I ruined my seven year relationship with the mother of my son. She is amazing, but also struggles with untreated bipolar. So many things contributed to our relationship ending. Both of us were guilty. This photo was taken the night before she came to take our son for his first week with her. I had never been away from him since birth. I held him before she did. I spend every minute of the day with him. This was the hardest night of my life. Each week gets easier, but it’s still the hardest thing I’ve ever dealt with in my life. I live in fear every day that I’ll never see him again.”

mom and son

 10. “I struggled at the hands of a mother with untreated mental illness. It took 35 years to find out I have bipolar mood disorder. I am now 45 and have been successfully treated and controlled since 2007. My 16-year-old daughter must never be exposed to the pain I endured. She wants to study psychology.” — Val P.
mom and her daughter with a heart snapchat filter
Originally published: May 10, 2018
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