It's Life with Christina┃ Motherhood + Mental Health

What Being Diagnosed with a Mental Illness Taught Me

As moms, sometimes we do a really crappy job at taking care of ourselves and letting others take care of us, right? I would always put myself last, and I felt like I had to take care of everyone else around me first. When I was diagnosed with a mental illness, I quickly learned many things I would have to prioritize to take care of myself.

What I’ve Learned Since Getting a Diagnosis

I learned that my mental health matters. I matter. I couldn’t keep putting myself last like I always had been. I had to take care of myself, so my family had someone to take care of them. That’s a hard lesson to learn when, as a mom, you’re taught to always put your family first. 

I learned that sleep is so incredibly important. We neglect sleep as parents, as professionals, and as humans. But if you want to be mentally (and physically) healthy, sleep should be a top priority, especially when you’re dealing with a mental illness. If you have littles, this is sometimes impossible (I get it!) But this is also why we must listen to our bodies and ask for help! 

I learned that having a solid support system is key. We weren’t meant to do this alone. I know a lot of mamas feel alone and lost. I also know that sometimes there’s not a whole lot of support out there for us. That’s part of the reason I started this blog. We’ve got to not only stick together as moms but help each other find who can support us in our communities. 

The people around me are so important. I also learned that not everyone will be understanding. Some people will leave. And that’s okay. People have different capacities to hold space for you and what you’re going through. Some people may be overwhelmed by your experiences, and while it hurts (a lot), sometimes you just have to pick your battles and let them go. They may even be amazing people with big hearts, but if people decide to leave, sometimes you just have to let them. The anxiety and heartache of chasing people or holding on too tight is just too much sometimes.

I learned that sometimes you have to take medication. I was never someone who really went to the doctor for anything. If I was prescribed something, I only took it if it was absolutely necessary. When I was told I would most likely need to be on meds, I was thinking, “no, thank you.” But I had to weigh the pros and cons. Did I want to feel better? Did I think I needed it? Sometimes it’s the right choice. Not always, but sometimes.


I learned we have a long way to go in the conversation about mental health.

 I mean, we’ve come a long way. When I was younger, mental health wasn’t really even discussed. Or worse, it was seen as something sinister or scary. Still, there’s so much stigma that exists in this world. I still hear people using mental health diagnoses as an insult or a way to describe something “bad” they do.

I learned living with a mental illness is expensive. There are so many hidden costs. We’re forced to pay for medical expenses that wouldn’t be there otherwise. Some self-care items become necessities and not luxuries. Our ability to get a job and keep a job may be affected. The financial burden is a lot.

It can’t be understated how much being diagnosed with a mental illness affects your life. But if you can pick up skills, a good support team, and some drive to improve, recovery is possible.

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