Mental Health

The taboo subject. The dirty little secret. The thing no one talks about or tells anyone. Mental health issues. I have been battling Postpartum Depression and Postpartum Anxiety for almost three years (yes it can go on that long) and just when I think I have a handle on it it rears it’s ugly little head and shows me who’s in charge. I didn’t tell anyone for years about my PPD because I was embarrassed, I felt shame. I felt like something was wrong with me and I kept it a secret from the world. No one talks about it. No one tells you how bad it can be and it’s not something you want to share with anyone. The only people that knew I had PPD was my immediate family and a few close friends, but the only person that really knew what I was going through was my life partner, Tommy. I suffered in silence. I sheltered myself from the world and I suffered in secret. There’s a stigma that goes along with PPD and those “facts” can’t be further from the truth…the same goes for other mental health issues. When I was diagnosed what followed was shame, embarrassment, and the feeling of being weak. I was so scared I wouldn’t bond with my baby and try to hurt her but the reality is that that’s only a small percentage of what PPD really is. I bonded beautifully with my baby, Kingsley, and I never felt love like this before. I could go on for days about how much I love my sweet girl so all I’ll say for now is that she’s my miracle baby and the best gift I’ve ever been given...and I’d go through this a million times over just to have her. What happened with my PPD was I developed social anxiety, which completely goes against my grain, I couldn’t keep my eyes open, I couldn’t have a conversation with anyone…I literally couldn’t hold a conversation…I was tired, so tired I legit couldn’t keep my eyes open and I slept my life away, which also goes against my grain. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. You see I am a social butterfly and I always say I can make friends with a wall. I am an early bird by nature and absolutely love starting my day at 4am. I am insanely disciplined in my work and I genuinely love what I do, but all that changed. I couldn’t make friends anymore because I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t stop sleeping so my early mornings were gone and this may sound minuscule to some, but that was devastating because early mornings are my favorite and I’m at my most creative point of the day. I no longer wanted to work and the thought of being in my own store gave me severe anxiety because I knew people would be there and I literally couldn’t be around anyone. The social anxiety I developed was real and it was paralyzing. I couldn’t even leave my home. Yes, I couldn’t leave my home. To say it gave me anxiety is an understatement…I developed a real fear of being out in public and I would have panic attacks. I felt safe at home and that’s where I wanted to be so I locked myself away and secluded myself from the world. During Covid my business was closed for 6 months and during that time I became a stay at home mama. I started forcing myself to take Kingsley outside to play for small amounts of time, then I forced myself to take her on walks, then I forced myself to walk to the store (we live in the city and can walk to almost anything you can imagine), then I started forcing myself to go out twice a day and then three times a day and I did this until it didn’t feel so uncomfortable. I kept doing it and when I didn’t want to, I did it anyway. I was determined to break this sheltered cycle I felt so safe in and I was ready to get better so I fought like hell and it worked…but mainly after almost two years of altering medications we finally found the right cocktail and I started my downhill climb from the mountain I had been sitting on and that’s when I really started getting better. I rely on my medications to function like a normal person and I refuse to be embarrassed by that. So back to my PPD rearing it’s ugly little head…I just had another setback. Last week I was in bed for three days. I couldn’t work, I couldn’t be around people, but now I have a team of women working with me so I had to be upfront with them about what was going on, and again, I felt shame. It’s one thing to talk about the episodes I have with my PPD after the fact, but it’s a very different beast talking about it while I’m going through it. Having people besides Tommy see me at my worst was soooo embarrassing and I felt an immense amount of guilt and shame, but what happened was amazing. My team rallied together and took hold of the helm so I could get through this episode and get better. I had support. I had love. I had understanding, and I felt the compassion by the women that surround me everyday. It was unexpected and overwhelming and an experience I will not soon forget. What I’m here to say is screw those stigmas and stop suffering in silence. I’m no longer tucking away my mental health issues like a dirty little secret and I’m working on my feelings of shame. Whatever it is you’re going through keep fighting, keep moving forward and when you’re at your lowest just know that the moment will pass. Take it one minute at a time if you have to. Tell your friends, tell your family, and most importantly seek medical assistance to get back on track. I’ve looked at my future dead in the eye and I know that this could be a life long struggle for me and I’ve accepted it. It is not my fault, nor is it yours. It’s chemical, it’s hereditary, and it’s not your fault. Stop suffering in silence and know that you’re going to be ok. If you need someone to lean on, lean on me. I wouldn’t take a day back of what I’ve gone through because it has made me stronger than I’ve ever been and my battle has made me wiser, and for that I’m grateful for the learning experience. I put my struggle in Gods hands and I keep moving forward…just keep moving forward. It’s ok to not be ok, but it’s not ok to stay there so keep fighting and be patient with yourself. Your are perfect just the way you are, the good, the bad, and the ugly. 

 

Sending love, 

Cari 

February 14, 2022 — Cari Cannon

"Do the work"

You know what? It feels good to feel good. It feels good to be happy, it feels good to make others happy and it sure as hell feels good after genuinely being nice to yourself. For those of you that have been around for a while, you know I’m all about working on that positive body image, authenticity, kindness, gratitude…all things good within your soul and building a better you…and so many other things like mental health…so my point is that if I’m gonna teach it I have to walk it…so know this sisters, and brothers…I’m walking the walk. I’m constantly working on my mental health, internal journey and gratitude and what that looks like is therapy, saying nice things to myself, listening to podcasts and learning, genuinely connecting with people, having the hard conversations, LISTENING, seeing my behaviors, understanding them and adjusting them as needed. Things like that. I am evolving. I am becoming wiser by the day…”A wise man wasn’t born wise.” You have to go through the hard shit to get to the good shit and let me tell ya…I’ve seen some really long and dark periods of time over the past four years. I have suffered from postpartum depression for 3 years (and it’s been really bad), I slowly watched my business fail and endured the crashing of my financial stability…and so many other horrible things, but that’s a story for another day. 

 

This past year has literally been one of the best years of my life. I had to make the decision to close my business or build it back up and with the encouragement of my life partner, Tommy, and my mother, I chose to build…and it’s the best decision I have ever made. I had to make decisions for my mental health that affected both my family and business, but I did it so I could get better and I’m so glad I did. I made the decision to love myself and stop hiding who I really am and while it’s been extremely hard, it’s been extremely rewarding. I was a very private and closed off person, but I made the choice to start letting people get close to me and open up about myself and now I’m surrounded by women who support me, love me for who I am and not only believe in my dreams, but they’re lifting me up to reach the stars. Because I let them in, I now have something in I’ve never had before. Support. The same goes for my relationship with Tommy…I chose to completely let my guard down (it can be a subconscious thing) and while it was great before, our relationship grew to the next level and I’m so glad I fought through my fears and went after what I knew could be. I’m am choosing to face my traumas and heal my scars head on and it’s not always fun…in fact it heckin sucks…but my lanta is it worth it. This past year has been the year of learning, healing, growth and evolution for me. 

 

So this is what I’m saying…do the work. Get the therapy. Work on your internal journey. Take care of your mental health. Love yourself. Love others. Heal those traumas. Let people in. Stand up for yourself and others. Give. Listen. Do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do. Get in the pictures. Learn your worth. Grow. And by God…be nice to yourself. 

 

DO. THE. WORK. 

 

Make this year your year of growth and healing. Do the work. Put in the time. But y’all, it’s daily work…and it’s hard! Taping quotes or reminders to your mirror and computer….the dashboard in your car. You have to talk to yourself and say nice things…and stop yourself when you’re saying negative things. Pray if that’s your thing, make a vision board, discover reiki, get those massages, take care of yourself…DO. THE. WORK…because it’s worth it. You’re worth it. 

 

I can say with full transparency that I’m more content and happier in and with my life than I have ever been but I’m still a work in progress. I still have bad moments and hard days, but I’m ok with that. Nothing is perfect and I don’t expect it to be so I roll with what is happening and when I recoup I take the bull by the horns and I steer it the way I want to go…because I’ve learned that I really am in control…and so are you. 

 

I’m so dang proud of myself y’all and I want you to feel the same way so DO. THE. WORK. 

 

February 14, 2022 — Cari Cannon