If we don’t ask for what we need, we usually won’t get it. Yes, that’s an simple truism, but when we start incorporating it into our lives and ask for what we need, awfully nice things can happen, both big and small.
It hasn’t been easy for me to ask for what I’ve needed, for I’ve often felt unworthy and I’ve feared rejection.
Yesterday I blogged that I emailed an Associated Press journalist named Frazier Moore. I contacted him to ask if he would consider changing his writing terminology in regard to bipolar disorder. His review of the new ABC television show Black Box was titled “Bipolar Doctor” and there were other phrases in the piece such as “bipolar people”, etc. I explained in detail why I prefer to say “I have bipolar.” instead of “I am bipolar”.
My post about this topic can be found here:
After emailing the journalist, I got on with my day. I let the whole matter go – I didn’t even expect a reply. By simply writing my email, I experienced a nice catharsis. As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I received a courteous response from Frazier. He agreed with me! Frazier wrote that in his future articles he’d take my point and “aim to be more sensitive in writing about this subject in the future…”
Every success inspires me, and my small victory with Frazier fired me up to ask people more often about matters important to my heart.
This past month I asked to have postpartum bipolar disorder (PPBD) be officially recognized by the most influential non-profit addressing pregnancy/postpartum issues facing mothers: Postpartum Progress.
The Postpartum Progress website states:
“We offer in-depth information, community and hope for pregnant and new moms with postpartum depression and all other mental illnesses related to pregnancy and childbirth (including postpartum anxiety, postpartum OCD, depression during pregnancy, post-adoption depression, postpartum PTSD, depression after miscarriage or perinatal loss and postpartum psychosis)…. We are fiercely proud to be the world’s most widely-read blog dedicated to these illnesses, with more than 1.1 million pageviews annually.”
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been “pooh-poohed” when I’ve mentioned I have postpartum bipolar disorder to others, either face-to-face or through writing. Hardly anyone has heard about this postpartum mood disorder. However, I feel excluded that my mood disorder is not found in the list in the above paragraph. It’s nearly impossible for me to explain my feelings of feeling a sense of invalidation in the postpartum world to my family and friends.
What has helped me the most when it comes to my diagnosis is to bring my experience out into the open and write about it. Writing is not only validating; when I hear from another mother who has read my writing and has also experienced postpartum bipolar disorder, I feel like I’ve found a member of my tribe.
Last March Cristi Comes, a content editor for the Postpartum Progress website and founder of Motherhood Unadorned, gave me the opportunity to write for Postpartum Progress about PPBD.
This was the big break I had been wanting so badly! I submitted my piece about postpartum bipolar disorder to Cristi, and she and Postpartum Progress founder Katherine Stone published it on the website. I received great feedback and comments from other mothers with PPBD.
After my piece was published on Postpartum Progress, I stepped outside my comfort zone, and asked Katherine to please add PPBD to their list of mental illnesses afflicting mothers, and she did! That may seem like a minor triumph, but for me it was a giant step for humankind! If I didn’t force myself to ask, it wouldn’t have happened.
So I invite you to join me in moving forward together to ask for something you normally wouldn’t ask for – services, favors, money, guidance – whatever we want! In the comments tell me what you want to ask for and I’ll support you in your vision. I’m currently asking for donations for my Postpartum Progress Climb Out of the Darkness walk that I’m doing on June 21, 2014.
I loathe asking for money, but I’m doing it anyway because it truly is for a worthy cause; it’s not for me to spend on some fancy designer shoes. It’s easier for me to ask via social media, I must admit, so I’m going to challenge myself and ask three people face-to-face in the coming week if they care to donate. I’ll let you know what happens!
For more information about my June 21st walk for Climb Out of the Darkness and to donate please visit: