The other night, I went to a fundraiser fun run event that a few of my running friends organized. With a recent tragedy over the summer that hit a little to close to home, I was grateful that there were people out there who were so willing to put an event together to raise awareness and money to support a cause that desperately needs help. When they asked me if I would consider speaking about my experiences with postpartum depression, I hesitated. I’d been on the radio and even done a video about my experiences for a series my church did on depression but those were both controlled situations. This was live action.
I was terrified. But I also knew in my heart that this was something I needed to do. Not just for myself but for others who may feel the way I once felt. So I said yes and kind of put it to the side of my mind.
In true Steph fashion, I waited until the very last second to figure out what I wanted to say. I didn’t want a written speech because I knew I’d be too nervous to hold the pages still enough to read. And truthfully, I didn’t want to dwell on a speech for too long because even though the worst of my depression has been behind me for nearly 3 years, it’s still an open, raw wound that I don’t want to scratch. Talking about something so personal, so devastating is not easy and part of me feared rehashing those feelings might trigger something inside me I didn’t want to face. So I spoke, unrehearsed and unfiltered. Straight from the heart, as best as I could in the very short amount of time I had. How do you sum up the worst hell you have ever walked through in such a short time? I wish I could say that I gave a mind-blowing speech but I didn’t. I gave a raw, honest talk that I’m sure could have used some polish but it came straight from my heart to my mouth. I have absolutely no idea what I said, it’s all a blur. But I did it, and I have absolutely no regrets.
I bet if I’d had my polar on, it would have registered my heart rate at about 300 while I was standing there, shaking in my (awesome) capri’s. After the actual run started, I gave an interview for a radio station, cheered on the runners and then me and my gimpy leg hobbled home so I could hug my babies and thank the good Lord above for every moment I have with them because it could have very easily had a different outcome.
Yesterday was a whirlwind. Imagine waking up, bleary-eyed and feeling the effects of a seriously intense emotional hangover, to the sound of your own voice on the radio. Creepy. Then imagine your parents, driving in the car at that early hour (which they NEVER do) and listening to that very station (which they NEVER listen to) and hearing your interview. Imagine you didn’t tell them a thing about this event other than the fact that you were going to cheer on some runners. Awkwardness. Oops.
I’m still in a bit of a fog from the whole thing. In a good way. I found out that 6 moms sought out help from the counselors and made appointments to speak to a professional because of this event. I don’t know if I impacted in any way but I do know that this event and the money it raised will help ensure these 6 women don’t walk through their hell alone and come out the other side healthier, happier and stronger.
That makes it all worth every bead of sweat that dripped down my back for those few short minutes I held a microphone and told my story.