I've been putting on a brave face. My "I'm proud of my journey to wellness face." My "I'm not ashamed" face. My "kicking postpartum depression's ass" face.
All of those faces are genuine.
But really, what choice do I have? Sit around feeling sad about all that's transpired? Feel embarrassed about my rather public (at least in my personal life) unraveling? I can't hide in my house forever, so I haven't hid in my house at all. I've gone to the grocery store. The playground with the kids. Boot camp. I've seen friends and neighbors, people who know a lot, people who know a little, people who know none of it. I've worn my brave face.
In a few weeks, I have some events to attend where I'll be seeing people I haven't seen for a while. People who might have talked to someone who talked to someone who...read my blog. Or talked to someone.
And though I've said and stand by the fact that I'm not ashamed, I am aware. Of what might be said when I get up to refresh my drink. Of nervous smiles greeting me hello. Of whispers. Of the awkwardness of the question, "It's been so long! How have you been?"
I am aware of judgement. Of ignorance. Of the fact that sometimes people get only half a story. Of the fact that stories often get very twisted.
I'm scared. Because there's at least a tiny part of me that wants to cry all of the time. That wants to scream out an explanation and education to everyone who might have heard. That deep down, cringes as my imagination runs wild about what people might think. What they might say.
There are two sides to this coin. On one, I know the facts. I understand the statistics. I believe mental health is a spectrum and I'm suspicious of anyone who claims to permanently operate on the extreme end of healthy. But the other side is where ignorance lies. Where it's easy to pass judgement on a good day, even easier when it's a topic we don't understand or discuss openly.
I am getting well. I can't believe where I am now in comparison to where I was a month ago. Truly, I can't believe it. I've worked my ass off. I'm proud. Hopeful. Confident.
I'm also angry, sad, and self-conscious.
We don't get to pick our journey. Just how we handle ourselves as we travel.
This particular journey? Effing blows. How I'm handling it? I'm doing my best.