I Got Mom-Shamed On Instagram For Having A Mental Health Disorder
Fifteen-year old Lindsay is totally cringing right now.
If she could meet me at this very moment in time — a writer and Instagram content creator who geeks out about living in a fat body I love and embracing a trauma-based mental health disorder I didn’t know I had — well, she’d be running to eternally hide under a rock somewhere.
Teenage Lindsay didn’t like the risk of being unliked. She was desperate for external validation anywhere she could get it. She felt painfully alone while projecting a fake “I’m fine” smile across her face. And she did everything she could to keep her authentically messy and wonderful self from shining through.
To younger me, I enthusiastically say — buckle up kid, because we’re just getting started.
Hello! My name is Lindsay Wolf, and I’m a mom living with Complex PTSD and Functional Neurological Disorder. I talk regularly on social media about my journey to healing from childhood trauma and finally learning to love myself. I openly choose to discuss the topic of living with a mental health disorder and disability, and I consciously document my ongoing battles with non-epileptic seizures and paralysis. Oh, and this past month, one of my posts went bonkers-level viral.
I never expected the video that would catapult me into the social media stratosphere to be a 30-second clip of me recovering from a seizure while my two-year old initiates a snuggle-fest, but that’s the one that did it. This post has garnered over 1.5 million views, 60K likes, and a whole lot of comments.
Scattered alongside the video are tons of parents and people showering me with their support, declarations from trauma survivors of feeling seen and heard for the first time, and thoughtful questions about my seizures from curious individuals. I’ve even got a bunch of uber religious folks publicly praying to Jesus for my immediate healing, which is a social media first for me.
But all of this love didn’t stop dozens of Karens from projectile vomiting some nasty mom-shame all over me — and I’m totally going to spill the tea about it right now.
So grab your favorite Scary Mommy mug, fill it with some lukewarm coffee from the microwave, and cuddle up with me as I share a bunch of shitty Instagram comments written by people who don’t think I should have kids. I’ll be reacting here as publicly as they did to my post, because mental health stigma is the worst and needs to be demolished.
Okay, okay. So this one might not be taking a specific jab at my ability to parent or my right to be one, but it sure is a really heinous thing to say to someone. (As for the “puke face” emojis, I’ve seen plenty of them as I’m presently the loud and proud owner of a — gasp! — fat body.)
And for the record, someone telling me to “just be normal” is like asking gravity to stop doing its thing or yelling at trees for growing. Not gonna happen on my watch, buddy!
For the love of cheese, Karen. Are you seriously implying that I have somehow trained my child to give me fucking cuddles during a seizure? And do you have a penchant for pretending to be Sherlock Holmes or something? Who is looking after the little boy? His tired ass parents, that’s who! I’m as shocked as you are, but it’s because I’m over here scratching my head trying to understand how you think creeping on my page like a true-crime detective and saying shit like “are we not all missing the obvious?” just makes you sound like a giant asshole.
Holy guacamole! I don’t know what to address first here — the horrifying implication that someone living with a disability shouldn’t procreate (which sounds a whole lot like eugenics), or the careless assumption that every parent living with a mental health disorder in this judgmental society knows that they are in fact living with one — or more so, feels safe enough and has easy enough access to quality resources to actually heal if they’re aware of it.
Side note — the fact that this commenter’s first reaction is to tell me that maybe I shouldn’t have kids while they’re happily holding a child in their Instagram pic? So. Fucked. Up.
Insert largest eye roll emoji I can find right here.
Let’s break down exactly what’s happening in my video, shall we? I was enjoying my morning with my adorable children and sweet husband when I randomly experienced an involuntary non-epileptic seizure. I asked my hubby to record the seizure because 1) it’s been helpful for my medical team and family to understand what they look like, and 2) I share my journey with seizures on social media to de-stigmatize our collective obsession with avoiding topics like trauma, disabilities, neurodivergence, and mental health.
During a quiet moment post-seizure, my two-year old shuffled on over to me and repeated back all of the sweet things his daddy and I say to him when he’s upset. So when this happened, it gave me more feels than watching the cutest puppy compilation video ever made.
Also — these “episodes” are real, live seizures that I am totally conscious while having. They are completely out of my control, used to scare the shit out of me when they first happened, and stem from a physical condition that accompanies two disorders I did not cause myself to have. But regardless of the variety of reasons someone may be living with a mental or psychological disorder (or both!), there is nothing “ridiculous” about me choosing to document my symptoms or share a surprise moment of love bestowed upon me by my compassionate toddler.
What’s actually ridiculous is assuming that someone is just forcibly willing a seizure of any kind to happen, or that there is something inherently “wrong” with that individual if they are having one. Oh, and let’s not go unpacking the mental health of my young kids, okay? Yes, they are most likely going to need therapy just like any other kid growing up in this “ridiculous” world, but they are well-loved, feel safe to be themselves, and are in fact living their best lives right now eating pizza in our TV room with their bare hands like a bunch of giddy raccoons during a midnight feast.
Did all the Karens in the world just wake up one day and decide that my post was the exact moment to dump their ableist shit onto a mom living with a mental health disorder? Also, I’ll tell you what real scarring is — it’s the damage of being a parent whose too fucking terrified of faultfinding Karens like you to get legitimate mental health support. The childhood abuse and dysfunction I grew up in was also pretty scarring — which is why I’m in weekly therapy and on medication for my mental fucking health.
Do you know how difficult, exhausting, overwhelming, and relentless it feels to actively become the cycle breaker who tells the rest of the family that the abuse stops with me?
No, you don’t. Because you are choosing to spend your precious, fleeting time on this Earth damning a mom who has non-epileptic seizures on Instagram — which is honestly more confusing to me than the lack of deep pockets on my jeans.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go cry buckets in my bedroom closet over these nasty comments and question my worth as I spiral down into a shame puddle.
Just kidding — I’ll be watching Moana with my kids under some comfy blankets and living my best life.
If you are facing a mental health crisis or struggling with self-harm, please call or text The National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.
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