This article is part of the Here. Now. essay series, which seeks to de-stigmatize mental health treatment, and improve accessibility to treatment and support for teens and parents in metropolitan New York.
Cierra Lyn Fortner is a mom of two from Kansas City, Missouri. From the surface, it seems like she “has it all,” but she recently opened up on social media how looks can be deceiving–and that we all have problems under the surface.
Recently, Fortner was shopping at her local Walmart when a cashier told her “I see you in here all the time, your kids are always dressed cute, behaving and you just seem to have it all together.” While the comment was clearly a compliment, Fortner had some mixed feelings–which is why she wrote a vulnerable post on Facebook about what happened.
Fortner describes herself as a two-time suicide survivor living with a personality disorder, depression, and anxiety. She wrote:
“I want her to know I battle a personality disorder every day with anxiety and depression mixed and I’m a two times [sic] suicide survivor. After having him, I had my first suicide attempt as … postpartum depression was added in and I had an extremely rough time with it. I wasn’t diagnosed with the personality disorder until my second suicide attempt in April of 2014.
I want her to know that I can’t always get myself up off the couch to feed them anything more than frozen pizza and cereal. I want her to know I have those ‘I’m losing my sh*t’ moments when I have to lock myself in the bathroom and cry.”
It’s no surprise that Fortner’s post has been shared more than 90,000 times since it was posted last Friday–many people can relate to this same situation. Many people who struggle with mental health illnesses feel as if they are putting on a happy face to the world, pretending to “have it together” more than they do. Posts like these allow us all to feel a little less alone, and less like failures–because we’re not. We’re all just trying to find our place in the world, and hold onto as many moments of happiness as possible.
Fortner closed her letter with a necessary piece of advice:
“From one exhausted mom to another, you’re doing great, have that melt down, let your kids eat the crap out of that cereal and take care of yourself always.”
You can read Fortner’s full post below.
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This post is part of the Here.Now series, which seeks to destigmatize mental health,
and is made possible by UJA-Federation of New York and The Jewish Board.
You can find other educational mental health resources here.