It was the end of November 2008. I remember dressing in heavy layers not because it was cold out, but because I felt like hiding myself. I was ashamed to be sitting in a dimly lit psychiatrist’s office.
I wasn’t crazy.
In September of that year, I was diagnosed with postpartum depression and my OB and family doctor couldn’t manage it effectively. I was out of their scope of practice they said.
I was crazy – I thought.
I was terrified of people finding out that I was mentally unwell and for such a long time, I held on to this secret. So I along with my husband created a facade that everything was fine.
We had a perfect new family of three.
Hiding my pain behind a smile and an impeccably spotless house was tiring. My husband and I fought the monster and each other daily. We were worn down to our bones and the wall that we had built to hide our ugly truth had cracked, slowly allowing it trickle out. While we were met with support and love, I still felt isolated. No one really understood how I felt.
So in 2009, I started writing my blog in hopes of connecting with someone who understood what I was going through – that we could help each other.
I’m so glad I did.
Our stories hold so much power. When I was scouring the internet for information on postpartum depression and bipolar disorder and anxiety, it was the personal stories that I read (and clung on to for dear life) that breathed hope into me. It was like:
“Yes! Me too! Someone understands me!”
You don’t feel so alone.
I was so honoured to be able to read Body Punishment OCD, Addiction, and Finding the Courage to Heal by Maggie Lamond Simone.
Body Punishment brilliantly chronicles Maggie Lamond Simone’s dark journey with OCD, addiction, and an eating disorder. Written with such raw honesty and peppered with wit, Body Punishment embodies what so many people struggle with when battling mental illness – fear and shame – and that makes this book relatable.
Your story will definitely not be Maggie’s, but the pain of having a mental illness is unmistakable. I read and nodded and laughed and cried throughout various parts of her story. She makes it – the mental, emotional, physical struggle – real and she shows us that the spirit is always stronger.
Maggie’s story starts in childhood – from how she started to feel the anxiety and the shame from the behaviours she did (pulling eyelashes and eyebrows, picking scabs) and how the family dynamics played a role in all of it – I applaud her for shedding light on this very personal part of her life. The child’s perspective was complex especially when the illnesses began to fester in silence and spiral throughout each stage in her life. It was all brilliantly played out but what I love is that in the end, she shows that no matter how your childhood starts, you can overcome.
In this day and age, it is no secret that little babes can have very big feels too and that they do struggle with the very same mental illnesses that adults have. It is incredibly important that early intervention is implemented when children are struggling and this book is a shining example of why we need to talk to our children. Open those doors to communication and listen to them.
There is no shame in talking about scraped knees and there is no shame in talking about mental health.
Whether you have a mental illness or not, Maggie’s incredible journey to wellness will captivate you with her passionate writing, wit, and fierce undying spirit.
And perhaps you, like me, will feel a sense of “hell yeah” at the end of the book.
That, no an illness does not make me who I am.
I am not ashamed of it.
I am not alone.
I’d insert her last words in the book…but, you’re going to have to read them yourself.
This is a fantastic read and I highly recommend it to those with or without mental illnesses, and parents with kids of OCD. You won’t be disappointed.
You can find Maggie Lamond Simone’s book Body Punishment OCD, Addiction, And Finding The Courage To Heal:
You can also find Maggie Lamond Simone on her own website: http://www.maggielamondsimone.com/home/