Maisy Adams

@maisy-adams | contributor
Third-year doctoral student, wife, mother of one beautiful baby girl and two crazy doodles, ambitious girl, wonder aficionado, creator of sparkles, solicitor of smiles and avid explorer.
Maisy Adams

How to Tell Loved Ones About Your New Diagnosis

I have never shied away from being open and vulnerable about my life. I have written about my battles with anxiety, depression and postpartum depression. I have always felt that being open and honest in talking about these things is what we need as a society. So, why, when I’m diagnosed with a long-term, chronic autoimmune disorder, do I not want to talk about it? I’ve had the conversation with some of my family and a few of my friends. It’s awkward to bring up and no one knows what it is or how to react. They all get this look of confusion, pity and fear on their faces. Mixed connective tissue disease. Yeah, I had no idea what it was either until my diagnosis and, to be honest, it’s still a little confusing to me. I was showing some signs and symptoms of lupus and rheumatoid arthritis so my primary care physician ordered some blood work. Two positive ANA tests later and they referred me to a rheumatologist. The rheumatologist then ordered what seemed like an amount of blood work that could satiate Dracula’s appetite. I got a call the following Monday: mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD). Blood work While it’s great to have some answers as to why I’ve been feeling so miserable, it really just leaves me with more questions. I’m home today from work. I woke up with a migraine and then slept for five hours and I’m still exhausted. I have been in pretty consistent pain (joint and muscular) for the last few months, the last few weeks being significantly worse. I have good days and bad days and I pretty much have no idea when I go to sleep what I’m going to wake up feeling like the next day. I don’t know exactly what MCTD means for my day-to-day life or my overall life plans. I have a dissertation to finish, a job that I love and I want to have another baby. We have an appointment with the rheumatologist on Monday to go over a treatment plan and get more information. My husband is going with me. We’re going to ask all the questions and move on from there. This is so much easier for me to write about than talk about (other than the fact that it hurts to type). I don’t really want to talk about it but I do know I’m going to need the love and support of my friends and family as I go through this. It’s also something that’s been racing through my brain quite a bit of the time since my diagnosis. So, if you’re like me and know you need to get it out but would rather avoid having the awkward conversation a million times, I’ve created this template for text/blog/email: Dear __________, I have recently been diagnosed with _____________. I’m having a hard time talking about it, but I’m really going to need your love and support as I go through this journey. ________________ is  (insert type of disease and some additional information). I might be feeling ______________ but you might never know it. Every day is different and I really appreciate you being there for me. Love,__________ I’m sending you all of my love and support. We all need it. Don’t forget that you don’t have to go through this alone. If you don’t feel like talking to friends/family, there are online support groups for just about everything.

Maisy Adams

Thank You to My Husband for Supporting Me Through My PPD

To the one who gives me kisses even when I smell of sour milk and tears, We’ve been here before. Me, thanking you for being my rock in times I am not feeling grounded. Now, more than ever, let me say I see you and I appreciate you for everything you do. Not only are you winning at husbanding, but you are winning the dad game. From the moment our daughter was born, you just seemed to have it all figured out, so effortlessly. Not only did you take the middle-of-the-night diaper changes and feedings, but you comforted your wife as she sobbed through some hardcore postpartum depression. You didn’t make me feel like a bad mom for not having it all figured out right away, but instead supported me on days when I was down. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. I didn’t want to eat. I wanted to cry all the time. All of this was happening while we were trying to figure out our new life with our beautiful baby girl. Becoming a parent is hard, and dealing with postpartum depression was hard — not just on me, but I know it was hard on you, too. Together, we got through it. You helped out when I was overwhelmed and needed a moment to collect myself. You told me you loved me when I looked like I really needed to hear it. You told me our daughter loved me when I felt like I was failing her. For all of this, I am eternally grateful. Not only have I chosen this incredible man to be my husband, but you are the best father to our daughter I could have ever asked for. Love always,The woman who loves you despite your snoring We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here . Photo by Chelsea Whetsel Photography

Maisy Adams

Being a Mom Is Not Easy, But Talking to My Doctor Made It Better

There are so many tips, tricks and words of wisdom about motherhood that people will try to impart on you. There’s one thing I wish everyone would have told me prior to that I had no idea about: you might feel miserable in the first month. It might not be “the best time of your life.” You might feel like you hate it. I cried. I cried a lot for the first month. Along with the crying came the guilt. I felt guilty I wasn’t getting this mom game like I thought I was going to. I felt guilty my husband was coming home to a total mess of a human being every day. The guilt wasn’t helping the crying and vice versa. I’m pretty in tune with my mental health and I knew something wasn’t right (I have a history of anxiety and depression). I wasn’t eating. I was crying all the time. I was having some pretty terrible thoughts about myself and my lack of mom-skills. I was surviving (barely), but I wasn’t thriving. Breastfeeding was wearing me out. My babe was born three weeks early via c-section and wasn’t strong enough to get a great latch. She wasn’t really getting what she needed from me and therefore, my body stopped producing as much milk. The lactation consultant encouraged me to pump and I was getting close to nothing when I pumped for 30-45 minutes. It was a vicious cycle. I pumped. Hubs fed the babe. Two hours later, we would do it all over again. I felt like a failure because I couldn’t feed my baby. Everything I had read made breastfeeding seem so natural and like it was just going to come easily. It didn’t.   Luckily, my doctor could see I was struggling. One genuine piece of advice for you: be honest with your medical practitioners. If you’re having a hard time, say something. Don’t act like you’ve got everything under control if you don’t. It is so normal to think this whole momming this is hard. It is. Your doctor will help you determine if your struggle is just you getting the hang of not sleeping at all while trying not to break this tiny human you’re now responsible for, or something more. On top of talking to my OB-GYN, I spoke to one of the most wonderful humans I know, who just happens to be a licensed mental health counselor and a mom. Just talking to her made me feel like the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders. Post-partum depression is real. It happens. It happens more often than people are willing to say and it can be life-threatening. No one wants to admit their tiny little miracle is making them feel miserable. That does not mean you’re a bad mom. It means you’re human and you’re going through one of the biggest life changes that anyone can go through. Talk to someone. For me, the first step was to feed my kid with some good ol’ formula. After this, we were both happier. She started gaining weight and I started feeling better. Fed is best, y’all. Less stressed momma and baby gaining weight equal happy household. Our little bundle of joy is almost 5 months now and she is, literally, a bundle of joy. I soak up every moment I get to spend with her and I love her more than anything. I’m finally starting to feel like I’m acing my mom game and every day with her is a new adventure. It does get better, people. It does get better. Just remember, nobody gets it perfect. We’re all just learning. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here . Photo by Chelsea Whetsel Photography

Maisy Adams

Dealing With Anxiety During Pregnancy

I’ll be 31 weeks pregnant on Thursday. It’s been the greatest of blessings. I couldn’t be more thankful and excited. But today, I’m feeling slightly on edge and anxious. When I found out I was pregnant, I went off of all of my anxiety meds. I knew if things got bad there were medications safe for pregnancy I could try, but I wanted to give it a go “cold turkey.” This isn’t for everyone and I must say I had the blessing and supervision of my doctor when making this decision. I had very frank and open conversations with my doctor so when we started trying to get pregnant, I could safely wean myself off of the meds. I’m almost to the end of my pregnancy journey and most days have been just fine, but I still have days when the anxiety gets bad. I start overthinking things. I feel nervous, for really no reason in particular. I’m overwhelmed. I don’t really want to talk to anyone. I’m thankful over the years I’ve become pretty self-aware of when I’m experiencing anxiety or depression . It wasn’t always this way. There was a long period of time where I had no idea what was happening to me. I just didn’t feel like me. Now, I know what to look for when I start feeling like this. I know the signs and I know the methods of self-care I need to practice. I go home and take a hot bath. I talk to my husband so he knows I’m not feeling myself and doesn’t take it personally when I’m acting differently. If I feel the need, I talk to a therapist or counselor. I make sure I get some good sleep and wake up the next day to reassess. I’m really excited about becoming a mom but I’m also (more than) slightly terrified. This is my first child and I have no idea what I’m doing. I know I’m capable and will learn, but I feel like there’s so much I should know. I’m being vigilant in monitoring my anxiety and taking each day one at a time. If you’re out there and you’re going through the same thing, I hope you know you’re not alone. This is a huge life change. Huge life changes are often accompanied by anxiety. If you have a history of battling this monster, it’s even more important for you to be aware of the symptoms when they present themselves and learn to take care of yourself. Talk to your doctor or therapist. Talk to your partner or best friend. Watch your favorite movie and take a warm bath. As for me, I’m going home to order some Indian food, enjoy a soak in the tub and snuggle with my pups. Tomorrow is another day and one I hope will be free from the anxiety I’m battling today. Editor’s note : This story is based on an individual’s experience. Please see a doctor before starting or stopping a medication. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here . Image via Thinkstock  

Maisy Adams

Helping Your Loved One Cope With Loss During the Holidays

My husband is my rock. He has supported me through some very difficult days. Now, it’s my turn. We lost my father-in-law in June and found out we were pregnant in July. It has been a rollercoaster of emotions ever since then. We’ve been so busy that it’s been a rare occasion where he’s had the opportunity to stop and even consider giving himself time to grieve. With the holidays coming quickly, he’s been forced to face some of his feelings head-on. Grief isn’t pretty. It doesn’t conveniently schedule itself for when you have time, or when you’re ready. It comes and it goes. Some days, when you’re least expecting it, it hits you like a brick wall. I’ve dealt with my fair share of grief in life, but I haven’t lost a parent, and I will never even begin to pretend I know what my husband is going through. Just as I would never pretend I know what he’s going through, I would never attempt to know what is best for your loved one as they are grieving. But here are a few ways I’m doing my best to support my husband through this holiday season: Be present. You know your loved one. You typically have a sense when something is bothering them. Without pestering them, let them know you’re there if they need to talk. They won’t always take you up on it, but just knowing someone is there is often a huge comfort when grieving. Listen. Really, really listen. When they are ready to talk, respect that they’re trusting you with very private, raw feelings. Get off your phone. Turn the TV off. Listen. Be respectful that they may not be super in the holiday spirit this year. You want to watch “Elf” on repeat, deck every hall, and spread glad tidings…but your loved one isn’t feeling it this year. Consider toning it down a little this year. I’m not telling you to be a grinch. I’m just saying to not expect your loved one to be as into it this year as they usually are. The holidays bring up a lot of memories of loved ones that can be really emotional and difficult. Think of ways to honor their lost loved one. Ask if they’d like to start a new holiday tradition where you do something in memory of the person lost. If they feel comfortable with this, tell stories about some of your favorite memories of that person around the holidays. Another option might be getting or making an ornament in memory of that person. (There are tons of instructions on Pinterest, but I like this one a lot. There are a lot of things you can do to let your special someone know their loved one will always be loved, honored, and remembered. Love them with everything you’ve got. Gather every ounce of love you’ve got and give it to them. Grief comes in so many different forms, and your loved one may experiencing a whole bunch of them all at once. They may be sad, mad, or not expressing much emotion at all. Remember it’s not about you. Do your best to show your love. For more resources on dealing with grief, visit helpguide.org. Image via Thinkstock Images

Maisy Adams

Letting Go of the Fairytale: Life, Love, and Anxiety

I always had these pictures in my head of what true love looked like. It was almost always grandiose, extravagant, and hopelessly romantic. I’ve been married for almost three months now, and it’s been anything but that. My wedding was a fairytale. Down to every detail, it was the best day of my life and the beginning of my own great love. Photo by Austin Trenholm The day-to-day details aren’t like a movie, though. True love is real love put into practice every day. It is hard work, and it’s the best thing I’ve ever experienced. Not every day has been easy, but there hasn’t been a day where I would have traded my marriage for anything. I live with anxiety (and occasionally, depression). Adding this element to a marriage makes things even more interesting and challenging. My husband and I are constantly dealing with the symptoms of my anxiety, and we’re both learning how to best remedy the dark days. Photo by Trenholm Photo Not every day is a dark day; some days are ordinary and some days are extraordinary. That’s life, though. Through it all, I’ve found someone who makes all of those days better and who will kiss me in the middle of a gas station when the moment seems right. It’s then and there — standing in the middle of the cat food and the pork rinds — that I realize this love is unlike any grandiose, extravagant picture I painted in my head. It’s better than that. It’s real. It’s genuine. It makes me want to fight to be the best version of myself. Everyone deserves a gas-station-makeout kind of love. You deserve a person who will make even the most menial of tasks seem fun. You deserve a person who loves you in such a way that you feel free to be your true and genuine self, flaws and all.

Maisy Adams

Comparing Yourself to Others When You're Depressed and Anxious

I possess the unique combination of unwavering determination and paralyzing uncertainty. Until recently, I didn’t realize my anxiety probably played a large part in why I feel these things. I’m determined to always do more because I never feel like I’m doing enough, but I don’t know if the things I’m doing are the things I should be doing. It’s a conundrum, I’m aware. I look at the people around me who seem so sure of themselves. They have this idea of what they want to do and how they’re going to get there. I’m not sure I’ve ever really felt that way. I have questioned almost every path I’ve ever gone down. Not only do I wonder if it’s the right path, but I also question my ability to make it down that path. Everyone else seems so much more qualified than me. They’re more organized. They do their hair every morning and put on makeup every day of the week instead of getting 15 more minutes of sleep. They probably don’t have sandwich condiments in their purse or receipts from two years ago. I get so frustrated with myself sometimes. I feel like I should be better than this. I should be more capable of fighting off the depression that has been looming over my life lately. I should be more. I should be better. These are statements I’m constantly telling myself. There are days when I just feel like a colossal failure. The depression and anxiety I’m battling exhaust me, and I have no desire or motivation to do anything else, which makes me feel even worse. You see, I compare myself to everyone around me who isn’t fighting these battles. I am so focused on how functional their lives seem and how dysfunctional I feel that I forget no one’s life is perfect. I forget to give myself credit for the little things and celebrate my small victories. I forget perfection isn’t attainable. I forget to give myself the advice I would give someone else in these situations. I am not just sad. I am battling depression. I am a warrior, and this is my fight. Every day I go to battle. Some days, I may lose. I have to remind myself I haven’t lost the war, I’ve only lost the battle and getting up every morning and fighting that battle is, in itself, a victory. Your war may not be the same as my war, but I commend you for getting up every morning and fighting your battle, whatever it may be. You’re not always going to know where the next day will take you, but one thing I’ve realized is it’s important to remember you deserve love just as much as anyone else. Give yourself love on those tough days. Be gentle with yourself. You will figure out where you’re going and what you’re meant to do. It may not be today or tomorrow, but it will happen. When it does, all of these battles you’ve been fighting will have prepared you for it. They’ve made you stronger. They’ve made you wiser. Today, I’m sending you as much love as I can fit onto this page. I hope it helps heal some of your battle scars. The Mighty is asking the following: What’s one thing people might not know about your experience with disability, disease or mental illness, and what would you say to teach them? Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Maisy Adams

Depression and Anxiety: Talking to a Therapist When I Want to Be Alone

This is one of those days where I just want to crawl into my Little Mermaid onesie, turn the A/C down really low, watch “Star Wars” and cuddle with my dogs. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve either gotten more introverted or just realized more how introverted I’ve been all along. Some days I just can’t deal with people. Some days I feel like I should not be forced to interact with the general public. I just want to embrace my weirdness and indulge myself in the little things that make me happy. However, I’m a grownup, and I have to go to work. On top of my normal anxiety, I’ve been having some physical and emotional issues lately related to my PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). It may affect my ability to get pregnant, which I thought maybe I was earlier this month. I took a pregnancy test right before my birthday when I was over a week late… negative. I was experiencing all of the symptoms of early pregnancy (and I mean all of them), but after taking a blood test at my OBGYN… negative again. I didn’t realize until that point how badly I want a baby and how scared I am that I won’t be able to have one. The emotional implications of going through this have been weighing on me big time. My anxiety has been worse than normal and I feel like I might be going through a little bout of depression. As open as I am about mental health, it still hurts a little piece of me to admit this. Depression is still one of those things you just don’t talk about. It makes you feel broken to think about people looking at you as someone who battles depression… which makes you more depressed. I don’t want to feel broken. I’ve survived too much to feel broken from this. At some point, maybe I’ll delve into that; now is not the time. I’ve learned to not dig down into past trauma when I’m already feeling vulnerable to what I’m going to start call the ‘pression monster (it makes it sound less awful to me if I make it into a funny name like Tom does on “Parks and Recreation”). What makes it even worse is that I have a really hard time verbalizing all of this — to anyone. I can type it or write it, but actually having to talk about it… I just freeze up. I can’t seem to explain myself correctly, which makes me frustrated and more upset. I’ve been going to therapy and have been treated for anxiety for a little over a year now. I’m proud of the progress I’ve made and the fact that I’ve addressed what’s going on with my mental health. Therapy helps, even though sometimes I get to therapy and don’t know what to say to my therapist. The conversation starts out with her asking me how things are going and me saying, “Fine I guess, I don’t know.” Eventually, she gets me to start rooting out the issues really bothering me, but I just don’t even know where to start sometimes. What I’m finally realizing, though, is that just being there is a start. Just getting myself to therapy when I don’t feel like talking to anyone is progress, and progress is something to celebrate. I fully endorse you allowing yourselves some time to re-charge and not talk to anyone if you’re just not feeling it, but don’t close yourself off completely. If you’re anything like me, sometimes you get trapped inside of your head. You’re over-thinking and over-analyzing every aspect of your life. This isn’t something I like to let go on for too long. It takes me down the yellow brick road of depression and leads me to places I don’t need to be, re-living trauma and questioning every decision I’ve ever made. Wear your weird pajamas, watch your favorite movies, give yourself the luxury of silence… and then go talk to someone about what you’re going through. It could save your life. If you or someone you know needs help, see our suicide prevention resources. If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. The Mighty is asking the following: What is a part of your or a loved one’s disease, disability or mental illness that no one is aware of? Why is it time to start talking about it? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to community@themighty.com. Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.  

Maisy Adams

Letter to Husband Explaining Anxiety and Depression

To the one who signed up for loving me and everything that comes with me, I’m having a rough day. You know that for better or for worse thing you committed to? This is somewhere on the “for worse” end of the spectrum. If you have received this letter, there’s a chance I may be curled up in a corner somewhere in our house, sobbing uncontrollably. Please find me, hold me and give me a little kiss on the forehead. I’m probably going to need some tissues as well, unless you don’t mind me using the sleeve of your favorite Brooks Brothers shirt to wipe my eyes… and probably my nose. Please, know this has nothing to do with you. I know you’ve never lived with someone who suffers from anxiety and depression. You’ve never had to come home and comfort a person you love from an invisible monster that lives inside of them. If this were a visible illness, you could see the scars from the battles I fight on a daily basis and the bruises from when my anxiety is beating me up inside. You can’t though. You just have to trust I’m fighting every day to be the best version of myself, for me and for you. Loving you is one of the easiest and one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, all at the same time. You have given me something to fight for but also a fear greater than I’ve ever known. My fear is that everything that comes with the human being that is me is going to drive you away someday. I can’t control that though, and that scares me, too. You have given me no reason for these fears. It’s nothing you’ve ever done or said. It’s the opposite really. It’s the anxiety being fearful and the depression telling me I’m not worthy of the love of someone as incredible as you. I know better, though. Depression and anxiety are liars. I am so worth loving. In fact, my blessing and curse of being able to feel things so incredible deeply means I will love you deeply. My passion, compassion and empathy will make me a great wife to you and a great mom to the kids we will hopefully someday have. I just need to be reminded of that somedays when I’m overcome by Xi and the ‘Pression Monster (it’s what I call the anxiety and depression so it sounds less scary — I imagine them as my own internal heavy metal band). I’m sorry I lack the ability to use my words right now. I wish I could explain to you why I’m feeling the way I’m feeling and what drives me into feeling that way. Nine times out of 10, I can’t pin down the reason. Sometimes all I can do to help you understand is send you articles written by others who have gone through the same thing. One last thing: I know this affects you, too. I know it’s terrifying for you to see me like this. I can’t even imagine. I know you want to do everything you can to make it better, but you’re learning just like I am. We’re both going to have a few bumps along the road trying to figure this all out. I know you’re trying and I hope you know that I’m trying, too. Today, I’m going to need you to love me a little bit louder, hug me a little bit tighter and maybe grab me an ice pack for my head. Forever and always, Maisy Follow this journey on Maisy Ann. The Mighty is asking the following: Write a letter to anyone you wish had a better understanding of your experience with disability, disease or mental illness. If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to community@themighty.com. Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.