On June 18th, I’ll be participating in an event called Climb Out of the Darkness®. This event, launched by an organization named Postpartum Progress®, is the world’s largest event raising awareness of maternal mental illnesses like postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety & OCD, postpartum PTSD, postpartum psychosis, antepartum depression, and pregnancy depression and anxiety. Climb Out of the Darkness is held on or near the longest day of the year annually to help shine the most light on perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.
The event features mothers and others across the globe joining together to climb mountains and hike trails to represent their symbolic rise out of the darkness of maternal mental illness and into the light of hope and recovery. Some of these mamas are survivors – like me – and some are still suffering. Some climb in memory of those who sadly were not able to #climbout.
Recently the organizers threw out the idea to write a blog post answering the question #WhyIClimb in which you list the reasons for joining a Climb. I quickly and eagerly jumped to participate.
#WhyIClimb Should be an easy question to answer. It’s just three little words. 9 letters. The whole question has one less letter than my last name!
Do I climb because I like hiking? Not so much.
Do I climb because it makes for a fun family outing? Have you met my family?
Do I climb for exercise? I should. But no.
Do I climb because I’m a nature loving girl? No, no, no!
So why do I climb?
- I climb because I HAVE TO. I climb because I had postpartum depression and postpartum OCD. I climb because I wasn’t diagnosed until my son was 14 months old. 14 months that I faked my way through motherhood, as well as pretty much all other aspects of my life.
- I climb because more women will suffer from postpartum depression and related illnesses in a year than the combined number of new cases for men and women of tuberculosis, leukemia, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, lupus, and epilepsy.
- I climb because 1 in 7 women will suffer from a maternal mental illness. And because only 15% of the nearly 1 million women who get these illnesses in the US alone each year will get treated.
- I climb to remember women who felt there was no way out of the debilitating sadness and angst. I climb because suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in the first year postpartum.
- I climb because the medical community cannot agree whose role it is to treat women with this illness –OB/GYN, psychologist/psychiatrists or pediatricians (or all) – and to that, no one seems to take full responsibility of the illnesses.
- I climb for moms and their families. I climb to help and support new mothers receive help for the sadness and feelings that I, and so many others, felt when their babies were born. Supportive and effective help is so important in the recovery to become the mothers they wanted to be all along.
- I climb because to raise awareness and reduce stigma of maternal mental illness. I climb because it’s 2016 and this illness is still taboo.
- I climb because there are woman and families out there who feel like they have nowhere to turn to. They are suffering and need help, resources and direction.
- I climb because it sucks to think that you are the only one in the world with these feelings.
- I climb for my children. I was able to #climbout and finally enjoy our lives together.
This is #WhyIClimb. Some of the reasons anyway. I climb because I HAVE TO. Oh, and I climb because there was no one climbing for me. And I don’t want that to happen to you.
To me, it’s pretty symbolic that the climb is held on/around the summer solstice. June 18th is Saturday before the summer solstice this year (which occurs on June 20th). The summer solstice is the day with the most hours of sunlight during the whole year. Pagan rituals are at the heart of summer solstice celebrations, as the day holds special importance as it is a time to acknowledge the shift in seasons. The term solstice can also be used in a wider sense, as the date (day) that such a passage happens.the warmest season of the year,”
These terms are just what the climb is about….the beauty of a woman reaching her finest moments, shifting to all things good, and the passage of illness and on to better times.
So all in all, I climb so other women know that they are not alone. There is help. They will get better!
And that they WILL #ClimbOut of the Darkness like I was able to all those years ago.
In Hudson Valley of New York, the Climb on Saturday, June 18, 2016 at Sal J. Prezioso Mountain Lakes Park in North Salem at 10am. The 1,082-acre Mountain Lakes Park is Westchester’s northernmost county park and the views of our beautiful county are nothing less than spectacular.
To join or donate to Postpartum Progress’ Hudson Valley/Housatonic Climb, go to our registration page here: https://www.crowdrise.com/stephanietrzyna-COTD2016/fundraiser/melissajacobowitz Click Join A Climb again and select Team CT/NY – Hudson Valley/Housatonic from the drop down list. Complete and submit your registration and you’re good to go! We hope to see you there!
For more information please see: http://postpartumprogress.org/climb-out-of-the-darkness/
Or find a climb near you at http://postpartumprogress.org/climb-out-of-the-darkness/find-a-climb/