How I Survived Being an Online Punching Bag

Four years ago, The Wall Street Journal called. A reporter there was writing a story about new research that suggested PTSD {post traumatic stress disorder} resulting from birth trauma was more common than previously thought. Few women were publicly talking about their journeys through it, but I had blogged about my experience and wanted to help educate other mamas about this debilitating disorder. So, I was happy to be interviewed.

 

I didn’t expect to be hated for it.

 

The reporter warned me that not everyone agreed with the research; some people thought it simply gave doctors one more reason to medicate women without getting to the root of their mental health issues. I understood that skepticism; I, too, had been shocked by the diagnosis three years prior, thinking only war veterans and crime victims got PTSD. Not new moms. For a long time, I was so ashamed that I told almost no one about my PTSD. For three long years, I quietly and painfully worked through it with loads of professional help.

By the time the Wall Street Journal called, PTSD no longer had a grip on me. I was a different person – confident, capable, and eager to shed light on the cause and effect of birth trauma and prove it’s possible to overcome. So, sharing my experience was a no-brainer; I went into it with the intention of helping mamas who couldn’t turn the inner voices off, stave off the flashbacks or walk through daily life without fear. The day the article ran, I was so excited to see it and share it. I went online, Googled it…and my heart sank. Already, it had been picked up by other news sites and bloggers worldwide – and the comments rolling in were vicious.

I was called a liar, a cry baby, and a horrible mom.

 

One person wrote – in multiple places – that I didn’t have PTSD, but SABD – Self-Absorbed Bitch Disorder. Ouch. That was a rough day, friends. But it was also a great day. It forced me to review my journey, my diagnosis, and my intention behind doing the interview. And what I realized was this: I was way too strong to let anyone’s cruelty or ignorance shut me up or break my heart. PTSD had already tried to do that and I had clawed my way back.

 

“How people treat you is their karma. How you react is yours.” – Dr. Wayne Dyer

 

With that quote in mind, I decided to focus not on the anonymous haters. Rather, I imagined an anonymous, struggling mama who read the article and was quietly wondering, realizing, hoping that there might now be a name for what was eating her alive. I imagined hope shining its light through the hate and reaching the women who needed it most. That was my intention to begin with, and that would be my intention moving forward. And it worked.

 

Eventually, the hate subsided and hope took its place as private emails rolled in from women who had seen themselves in my story and wanted more – more information, more hope, more out of life. And for that reason, I’d gladly face the bullies all over again. Because now I know for sure that hate doesn’t stand a chance next to hope. Love and light always win.

 

Note: Think you or someone you know may be suffering from a perinatal mood disorder like postpartum depression or postnatal PTSD? Here’s my guide to great resources for mamas. You are not alone – help is out there!

Liv Lane

Liv Lane

As an intuitive adviser, author & teacher, I help brave-hearted women illuminate their paths to purpose through powerful classes, individual readings, workshops and writings. This blog, started in 2006, chronicles my journey and offers light for yours. Thrilled you're here!
Liv Lane