It's Life with Christina┃ Motherhood + Mental Health

Christina Bustad-Boyer

Welcome to It’s Life With Christina

Hi there and welcome to It’s Life with Christina! I am truly so happy you are here. I wanted to take a moment to share a little bit about me, my journey so far and why I created this blog. 

First, let me introduce myself. I’m Christina. I am married to the most wonderful guy and we have the three sweetest (and of course- wild) boys. We live in Washington State in a neighborhood we adore, in the town I grew up in. We love to travel, camp and spend time with our close family and friends. Plus lots of swimming in the summer. 

I’m an INFJ-T which means I love planning, organization, to-do lists.. I am an introvert, a dreamer, multi-passionate, creative person.

I love writing, it’s always been a passion of mine. I love creating, I have an endless list of projects I want to do and my dreams are big and usually all over the place. I collect books to read eventually but I have kids, so you know how that goes. I am a list maker- by default because of my personality but also because I literally have to or I will go crazy. 

I created this space to share my journey through motherhood, mental health and all the things in between. 

I am on a mission to help all mamas out there realize it’s okay not to be okay. A hard lesson that I have learned. That it’s okay to ask for help and to understand that the “normal” they are chasing will never come– AND THAT’S OKAY! 

So how did I get here? 

Well, first of all. It goes against everything I’ve ever known or felt to not only open up about my mental health issues but to also admit it. When you say something out loud and let people in, then it’s real. And that is scary! 

I have such an amazing support system but I have spent most of my adult life trying so hard to fit in, to be normal- to be like all the other moms out there. Pretending that everything is okay. Pretending that I have it all together. And it’s exhausting. 

I have been truly blessed with people around me who love me but when you are dealing with a mental health illness it’s so hard to see through all the chaos, all the darkness. It doesn’t matter what they say or how they make you feel when you are so lost. The fear of being judged or being left alone was too much. I couldn’t let anyone in and I for sure couldn’t ask for help. Because again, asking for help is admitting something is wrong. And while all I wanted to do was feel better, I wasn’t there yet. 

But then it got real. Fast. 

My anxiety became increasingly worse after having kids (shocking right!) The chaotic life of motherhood and everything that goes along with it is really enough to break anyone. And overall my mental health really struggled. As the years went on I battled chronic fatigue, severe anxiety, and depression- all while trying my best to be the perfect mom/wife/daughter/insert all the things here. Only opening up to a handful of people but of course, not fully. I didn’t dare let anyone see how truly lost I was because what would that say?

As you can imagine that didn’t work out too well. 

So I struggled with these issues alone. Not because I wanted to be alone but because I felt like I had no one to talk to, no one who would understand me, besides my husband. And as much as I adore him, anyone who hasn’t experienced depression, anxiety or any other mental health issues won’t truly understand, as much as they want to. 

My fear of being judged held me back. I just wanted to keep everything to myself and chase the “normal life”, constantly trying to convince myself that things would get better. I would get better. But in reality, what I failed to realize was that the “normal life” I was chasing and trying so hard to create would never be mine. The mental health struggles I was dealing with would not go away on their own and they would only increase in power to take over everything. The harder I tried to conceal everything and be “normal” and “perfect” in everything I did, the more things spun out of control. 

The year of 2020 and our new normal with Covid is easy to blame and yes it had a huge impact on both my mental and physical health but what I knew to be true was that my years and years of ignoring my mental health and lack of self-care had finally caught up with me. It hit me like a fucking car barreling into me and left a cloud of darkness over me. And there I stayed. I cried, a lot. I turned into someone else. I was stuck. 

I’ve spent my whole life with ups and downs. My ‘up’s are normal but my ‘downs’ are very low. I never attributed this to a mental health issue, I thought that’s how everyone lived their life. Didn’t everyone live on this out-of-control rollercoaster? No, just me? 

The fall of 2021 was incredibly difficult for me. My mental health was not the best and I felt like I was drowning and screaming for someone, anyone to hear me. I remember thinking, “How the hell did I get here?” and “Do I deserve this?”

But as I got closer to my 35th birthday I knew something wasn’t right. My moods were so wild, I would feel happy one second and instantly flip to literally sobbing about the craziest thing and super depressed. I felt hopeless and alone, in an unbreakable cycle with no one beside me. (As you guessed- I had people beside me, people who love and care for me but when you are low, you are alone no matter who is standing beside you. Another awesome thing we get to live with when we hit depression.) 

I couldn’t get out of it. The funk I was in lasted months but after one painfully awful weekend, I knew I needed help. I could no longer stay in this deep, dark depression. I couldn’t do it. I had to find the stop button and get out as fast as I could. 

So I did. I reached out for help, I scheduled appointments. I started opening up to people around me. And it was a SLOW journey. Anyone who has battled mental health issues knows that recognizing there’s an issue is the first step and everything after that is super slow and ever-changing. ​

I was diagnosed with soft bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and severe anxiety. I had already been diagnosed with fibromyalgia a couple months prior- so to say this all was devastating would be a huge understatement. I struggled for a long time, felt sorry for myself and questioned everything. If I am being honest, it was awful. It was scary. But I still pressed on. I knew I had to get myself better.

As I searched the internet for information and resources for mothers with mental health issues I felt sad – sad for myself- and sad for everyone else out there who was up late at night, sobbing, trying to find help. Someone, anyone who could provide comfort and hope. A sign that they weren’t alone. 

What I found was a lack of information, a lack of support from mothers. Not doctors, or reports because I found plenty of that but actual mothers who were on this same path, trying so hard to get their shit figured out. 

So I decided to do what I loved most- write. Write to get my thoughts and feelings out but also knowing one day I would share my journey with those other mothers out there who were going through the same thing. 

I poured my heart into writing, creating, and reflecting. Along with confronting my fears and asking for help. I wrote every morning and night. I knew that I had to get my emotions and thoughts down on paper and I needed to think through everything that was going on. 

I think as moms it’s even harder to get ourselves better because in general, we are so overwhelmed, overworked, and exhausted. It feels literally impossible to get ourselves better. 

I would love to say that I have it all figured out and give you some kick-ass words of encouragement but I don’t have it all figured out. I am still on this journey and I probably will be for the rest of my life. But I believe in being honest. I believe in supporting other mamas and sharing because that’s what we need.  We need each other, support and community.

Wishing you all the best on your journey through motherhood & mental health. 

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