‘The No BS Mama’ Gets Real About Depression & Anxiety with guest Megan Eddinger

As a mom, how often have you felt anxious or depressed but felt like you had to hide those feelings from friends and family? On social media, do you only post the good stuff? Do you feel like you have to appear perfect on the outside while hiding your imperfections on the inside? You’re not alone! On this episode of Brainy Moms, Teri interviews the host of the No BS MAMA Podcast, Megan Eddinger.  Megan shares her own story of depression and the impact it had on her marriage and family. It’s a raw and honest conversation about her journey to becoming an advocate and supporter for moms who struggle with mental health issues. It’s such an important topic and Megan is a bright light in a dark room. Don’t miss this one if you or a mom you love is struggling. 

Read the transcript and show notes for this episode:

‘The No BS Mama’ Gets Real About Depression & Anxiety
with guest
Megan Eddinger

Teri Miller:

Hi, and welcome to Brainy Moms podcast. I am Teri Miller and I’m going solo this week without our usual host Dr. Amy Moore, we are missing her very much, but I have the honor of interviewing Megan Eddinger, of The No BS Mama podcast and Facebook group. Megan is a working mom of three who married her high school sweetheart. And as a young mom, she struggled silently as she lost herself in motherhood. Now Megan is passionate about having conversations about parenting and mental health so other moms don’t feel so alone. I’m so glad you’re here, Megan.

Megan Eddinger:

Thank you so much, Teri. It’s so nice to be here.

Teri Miller:

Good. Well, I want to start off with a little background. In your podcast you talk about being a young mom, very young mom, three kids by the age of 23. So tell us a bit about your story and what brought you to the work that you’re doing today encouraging other moms.

Megan Eddinger:

Sure. So very long story, very short, when I was a senior in high school, my boyfriend and I found out that we were pregnant, obviously very, very scary, we weren’t sure how we were going to tell our parents, what we were going to do longterm. My family ended up moving states on the day that I graduated from high school. So I immediately moved in with him and his family, and had our first baby right after I turned 18, which was a blessing because at the time they weren’t sure which ward of the hospital I was going to be in because, was I going to be treated as a pediatric, or as an adult? So there was a lot of stuff that was just really up in the air. And then after my oldest was born, I fell into a postpartum depression. I had no idea at the time, even though the doctors give you a rundown of it and they’ll check in on you on your six week appointment, but I lied. I thought that what I was feeling was normal.

Fast forward, we got married, we bought a house, we have two more children. And I go in and out of depression not really knowing that, that’s what I’m experiencing. I just feel crazy. And now here we are, we’ll get a little bit into it later, but with the pandemic, I fell very deep into a depression and had no choice but to get some help. And so I’m really, really glad that I was able to do that and have that support around me. And now our oldest is 17 and he’ll be on his way to college next year. So we’re getting there.

Teri Miller:

Wow. Oh my goodness. So he is at the age you are when you were pregnant. That’s got to be sobering. Ugh. Yeah. Well, so that’s, folks, listeners, that’s what we’re talking about today, is the big D word, depression. And it’s a hard subject. I think a lot of moms struggle with it, don’t admit it just like Megan was talking about, and don’t know it. Not just don’t admit it, but don’t know it. And even though, I know with the pandemic, there’s more and more acceptance of depression. I still think that a lot of people, a lot of moms are dealing with the stigma of depression, this embarrassment, the shame, and yeah, they don’t want to talk about it. And so we’re going to talk about it anyway. And our hope is that we can normalize it, that we can just share some stories here, and so that listeners, you maybe won’t feel so alone. You won’t feel like you’re such a terrible person, that, man, you love this baby. You love being a mom, but some days you want tear your hair out too.

Teri Miller:

So, Megan, you wrote about, and you just mentioned a little bit, falling apart during the pandemic, and then putting yourself back together again. So if you would, if you’re okay with that, if you could tell us about that season and how you didn’t realize how bad it was, you thought your symptoms were normal, or just okay, you could deal with it. And you wrote, tell us a little more about it, that it wasn’t until your husband moved out, that you finally got the help you needed. So share that with our listeners.

Megan Eddinger:

Yeah. So going back to March, of 2020, at the time I was already working from home, my husband worked in a corporate office. The kids were all going to school, and we were actually housing an exchange student from Spain. And so she was in contact with her family in Spain, watching the pandemic unfold there and the lockdowns and everything. And we were so naive, we were like, that would never happen here. We’ll never go into lockdown here. And the decision was made at school that she was going to stay with us and quarantine here instead of leaving and going home. And then on March 12th, the day before everything really shut down, she got a phone call saying that they were going to close the borders. And if she didn’t get home right now that they didn’t know when she was going to be able to get home, it could be over a year.

And so overnight we lost Christina, a member of our family, the kids lost going to school. My husband now works from home. So now we’re all together. And my mom’s a nurse. And so she was dealing with COVID all the time. I have a big family and we’re used to being together a lot. And some of us were trying to still get together while some of us were trying to be a little bit more safe. And so like everyone else, my whole world was just turned upside down. And I started to recognize that, I wasn’t getting out of bed on the weekends because we weren’t going anywhere, no one needed me. And so I would let myself do that, and I thought that I was just allowing myself the rest. And then looking back, I’m able to recognize now, I didn’t recognize it at the time, but slowly I started to become more and more of a shell.

And what I mean by that is I recognize that my family would be joking and having fun at the dinner table. And I would not be participating in that. I would be preparing dinner and I would just be so annoyed by everyone else’s presence. And to a certain degree that was normal for that stage of quarantine, but not to the level that I was experiencing it. And like you mentioned, this idea of depression has become normalized with the pandemic and everything that everyone’s been through. And so on all of my social feeds, everyone was, no one is okay right now, it’s okay not to be okay. And so I thought that it was okay, this is just a normal reaction to the state of the world. Yeah. And so I wasn’t recognizing it. It was obviously causing trouble in my marriage, and depression is a liar.

So my depression was telling me, Megan, it’s not your fault. It’s his fault. He doesn’t understand, he’s not doing the right things. And it got to a point that we were just so combative and so at odds that we decided that it would be better if he moved out. Yeah. And we’re talking, in February we’ll have been together 20 years now.

Teri Miller:

So hard.

Megan Eddinger:

Yeah.

Teri Miller:

Oh my goodness. And so you said that was when, that was the wake up call for you?

Megan Eddinger:

It was. So to back up just a little bit, I had previously gone on medicine for anxiety and depression, and I did not have a great experience. And prior to the pandemic, I worked with my doctor and came off of the medicine. And my husband, part of our biggest problem at the time was that he was encouraging me to go back on medicine. And my thought process was, you just want me to be more tolerable for you, and I’m not going to live my life as a watered down version of myself to make you comfortable. That was what depression was telling me was happening. Really, what was happening was, he was recognizing that I was an absolute mess and that I needed help beyond what he could provide, but depression wouldn’t let me see that, or hear that until I had that actual physical separation, and I was able to sit back and say, oh my God, he is right. He’s right.

Teri Miller:

Yeah. And so something had to be done. And so you made a shift. Tell us about that shift. Tell us about that next step, what happened next?

Megan Eddinger:

Sure. So the very first thing that I did was I found a therapist for the first time. She was wonderful. She had children, they were a little bit younger than my children, but she understood that phase of life. She lived a little bit further away from me. So one of the blessings with COVID was that this stuff became so much more accessible because you weren’t really bound to your own neighborhood. You had all of these other options now. And so I would meet with her once a week and she suggested that I take medicine and I still was like, I don’t want to do that. But I was still having, along with depression, I also suffer from anxiety. So I was still having panic attacks pretty regularly, racing thoughts. I just still was, I was better than I was, but still not great.

And so I really needed her encouragement to walk me through the process of finding a medicine that would work for me. And so, we had to have that conversation. She explained, not every medicine is right for everybody. Just because you go on medicine now doesn’t mean you have to stay on medicine forever. It could be just for this season. Maybe it’s just for the next year or two. You really have to experiment and find what works for you. You can’t just try one and hate it and just never use a medicine again.

Teri Miller:

Right. I think it’s, yeah, what you’re talking about, that process of investigation, that’s a hard part of it, I think, for us as moms, because we don’t have time, we don’t have time to lay around and feel bad, and we don’t have time to say, okay, I’m going to try, I know I’m a wreck. I’m not being a good mom. I’m going to try this new medication. Oh, but guess what? The first two weeks of it, I’m going to be a zombie. I don’t have time to be a zombie. And I think a lot of us struggle with that like, okay, this one didn’t work because I’m a zombie. And there’s a timeline.

I am not going to say I am diagnostic, or anything with medication. That’s not my specialty. That’s not my lane. I’m speaking as a mom, just as a mom, as a fellow depressed person, that it is a long haul. It’s a process of figuring out which medication works. And it’s not just a couple weeks. It’s 30 days, 45 days, two months to give it a chance. Was that your experience too? That as you’ve tried different things that it wasn’t quick fix?

Megan Eddinger:

100%. And so I was really lucky because she, the therapist, works with a doctor. And so she got me an appointment with a doctor that she’s familiar with. And so now I have a team of people. So before I went to my own general practitioner and they gave me the sheets that diagnoses you with, how often do you feel sad? Is it once a week, twice a week, never?

Teri Miller:

A checklist.

Megan Eddinger:

Yes. And so you check the boxes, and depending on your risk level for anxiety and depression, they just write you a prescription, or at least that was my experience. And so now I have this therapist who I’ve allowed to communicate with the person that I’m seeing, who’s prescribing the medicine, and this appointment was so much more thorough. She asked me a lot of questions about the prior medicine that I had been on, my reactions to it. Now that I am talking more about it and I’m sharing more, I know that there are other members of my family who are also on anxiety and depression medicine. So I’m able to share with her medicines that have, and have not worked for other members of my family. And so that’s really helpful too. Once you start talking about this stuff, you would be amazed, you would be amazed at the amount of people that you know that are taking something to treat a mental illness.

Teri Miller:

And I think that’s, it shouldn’t surprise us so much. It’s not like this hasn’t always been going on. We just know more about it. We’re learning more. And so we’re learning better ways to treat depression, to treat anxiety. And I think there is the fact that, I know the world’s always been hard, and it’s always hard to be a mother, but there is a lot that we’re dealing with as moms right now. We are making history. This pandemic has rocked the foundations of the entire earth, of our culture. And it’s silly to think that that doesn’t rock the foundations of who we are as a human being, as a mom, as a wife, as a friend. Yeah. It’s big stuff, it’s not small stuff. And it’s been hard.

Megan Eddinger:

Yeah.

Teri Miller:

So you also talk about, I love that you talk about the “Perfect Peggy”. And so I’m going to read something from your podcast here. You talk about the dangers of comparison. And you wrote, “Perfect Peggy up the street has well behaved kids who only eat organic food and always have matching outfits, and they’re always going on some exotic vacation. Why doesn’t my life look like that? I must be doing something wrong.” And oh, is that about social media, or what? Okay, so speak to that. Speak to that about the dangers of comparison.

Megan Eddinger:

Yeah. I feel like we all have that one mom that just seems to have everything together, whether it’s someone you know from the PTA, or one of your kids’ friends’ moms, or the baseball mom, or whoever. This mom exists for all of us. And with the social media, this mom’s presence is always in our face. And what we forget about social media is that it is perfectly curated content. People don’t post things, you only get to see this tiny, tiny little glimpse, even if it’s someone who posts every day, or several times a day that you’re seeing them on your feed, you have to remember that is still such a teeny tiny piece of their life.

And so even if this person is put together in the ways that you think you are not, you have to remember that it is very likely that that person has flaws that either you don’t see, because those aren’t things that bother you, or those aren’t things that you’re insecure about. So maybe you don’t see them in her, but they’re there, whether she’s covering them up, or whether you just choose not to see them, because you’re looking at all of the perfect aspects of her life. They still exist. There is no perfect person. There’s no perfect mom.

And something that was said a lot during quarantine was, you’re not going to get a prize for being the best quarantine mom. I think back then, there were kids who were always making sourdough bread with their mom or, you know what I mean? Every day people had all of these fun things that they were doing with their kids. And it was like, what the hell? I have work, I have all of these other things I have to do, I don’t have hours a day to be entertaining my kids in this way. And so you just have to realize that, some people have access to more resources, all of those things come together, and it’s not, you’re not comparing apples to apples ever.

Teri Miller:

Yeah. That’s such a good thing to remember. I’ve got a friend and I’m not dogging her when I say this. She and I have had very transparent conversations, but she just happens to be gorgeous. She has six kids and it seems like they do adventures a lot. It’s probably not as lot as a lot. It’s probably not as often as I think, but it seems like it, she’s always posting about, oh my goodness, they’re at the zoo. They’re at the aquarium. They’re at the lake. Oh, they take a trailer, they go camping. And it seems like she’s just always doing these amazing things. And she has these sweet selfies with her youngest, and then her teenager boy, year mom, and he’s got his arm around her neck and I’m like, yeah, my teenage son is in the other room and doesn’t want me to look at him.

And there’s this thing that builds where we think she’s got it all together. Here’s the truth. She is in the middle of a horrific divorce. She is depressed. She’s coming out of it because she is on medication. And here’s the weird thing. She posts and began posting about a year and a half ago as a part of her own therapy, as a part of her own self-love. And so who knows, there may be things that work out there. There may be moms that are overcompensating for so much pain and hurt on the other side. And they are desperately trying to say, I am okay. I am doing the best I can. I am doing right. And they’re trying their best to capture those sweet moments, because we can all be certain for every sweet moment, there are 99 other crappy ones.

Megan Eddinger:

Yeah. Yeah. Well, and it’s, you have to look back at yourself too, and think, there are things that you are doing that someone else is looking at and saying, wow, I wish I had that, not knowing all of the other things that are on your shoulders that you’re wearing. So an example of that is, this summer we took a three week RV trip across the country. And I know that a lot of people were like, wow, that’s so cool. I could never do that, blah, blah. Well, but the reality is, we don’t have air conditioning in the house that we live in. You know what I mean? We value that over air conditioning. And so that’s what we chose. And so again, it’s just, nobody can see that I don’t have air conditioning where I live. So you just always have to remember that you are that mom for someone else in a lot of ways.

Teri Miller:

That’s so good. Hey, that brings us to the next thing I also just really, really loved in your podcast. I listened to several episodes, like I told you, and I was struck by, in several episodes, your fixation on authenticity. And I just so appreciate it, I think it’s so important. And again, that goes to that social media thing that I know we were talking about. You can’t just say all that social media is truth, and sometimes it’s actually helping a mom capture the sweet moments, and yet tell us more about why it is important for mental health to be your authentic self? Talk about that.

Megan Eddinger:

Yeah. I think that a lot of us struggle, even within our own family, our family’s supposed to be our safe place. And I’m not talking about your partner and your children, I’m talking about your mom and your aunts and your uncles, and your extended family a little bit. That’s supposed to be your safe place, but I think a lot of us, when it comes to those people and some of our closest friends, we’re still afraid to let certain pieces of us show, because it’s embarrassing. Those pieces of us that aren’t so pretty, that aren’t so put together, we feel like it makes us a target. We feel like maybe people are going to talk about us after we leave, or any of those things. And the fact of the matter is, going back to the Perfect Peggy, if you talk to any other mom of any other teenage boy, she’s going to tell you the same thing. He wants nothing to do with me. You know what I mean? He eats me out of house and home, I never see him.

And so here you are in your house thinking that it’s just you and just your child and just your partner experiencing those things because no one else is talking about it. And when you, especially when you are experiencing anxiety and depression, that you already have thoughts telling you that you’re not good enough, that you’re all alone, that there’s something wrong with you. And so if you don’t have people in your life that are sharing the not so great parts of the things that they’re experiencing, it’s so much easier to believe these intrusive thoughts when they come up.

Teri Miller:

Right. Yeah. And to believe that it’s, like you said, it’s only me.

Megan Eddinger:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Teri Miller:

Ugh. And that’s a dangerous place.

Megan Eddinger:

Yeah.

Teri Miller:

Hey, we need to take a quick break, and I’m going to read a word from our sponsor and then we’ll be back. And I want to dig in a little bit more into the importance of authenticity, and Megan, your hope for moms struggling with depression.

Teri Miller: (Reading sponsor ad from LearningRx)

Did you know that more than six million children in America have been diagnosed with ADHD? Many of them struggle in school because of their condition. What if I told you that poor attention may not be the primary cause of their struggles? In a research study with more than 5,000 people with ADHD, we found their working memory, long-term memory and processing speed were less efficient than their attention skills. So an intervention that only targets attention might miss the opportunity to work on those other skills we need to think and learn. LearningRx can help you identify which skills may be keeping your child from performing their best. In fact, we’ve worked with more than 100,000 children and adults who wanted to think and perform better. We’d like to help get your child on the path to a brighter and more confident future. Give us a call at 866-BRAIN-01, or visit LearningRx.com. Again, that’s LearningRx.com.

Teri Miller:

And we are back with Megan Eddinger. And Megan, we’re talking about the importance of authenticity. And I want to hear about that in relation to the importance of community and how those work together, why is it so important for moms to be authentic, to share that transparency and to find a community of women for everyday support?

Megan Eddinger:

Yeah. So for me, it goes back to that concept of feeling very alone, whether you’re a young mom, whether you are the first mom in a generation, whether you are a mom who experiences anxiety and depression, whether you’re a mom of a kid with special needs, there are so many different kinds of moms. And I think that somewhere along the line, we all go through this phase, whether it’s in the beginning, or really the whole time where we feel very alone in our experiences, and in the decisions that we’re making, and everything, it’s very, very isolating and very, very lonely. And it can be a very dangerous place to be. And so, my mission is to make sure that no other mom ever feels alone during those challenging times.

And so I’m trying to build a community where women can come for general connection. So fun things, we can share our successes and our wins and things that we’re excited about, but more so a safe place for moms to come when they are experiencing something hard, because there’s two sides to the internet, one is crazy and very dangerous and not so nice. And the other is this really great place where you can find connections with people halfway across the world, that can be a really great place of love and support for you that you don’t have anywhere else in your life. And I think that we’ve all experienced that mom group, where some poor mom posts something that she needs help with and all these Perfect Peggys chime in and tell her how bad of a mom she is, and what a bad decision that was. And it’s like, that’s not helpful, and good for you that you’re a perfect parent and you always make the right decisions, but this mom came here asking for help and you just made her feel bad.

Teri Miller:

Right. And that’s no good. That’s not authenticity.

Megan Eddinger:

Yeah.

Teri Miller:

Because if we’re giving advice, if we’re just giving advice, we’re not saying, you know what? I’ve been there too. Maybe it didn’t look exactly like that, but I’ve been there and I’ve made bad decisions, and I’ve been struggling with this and that, it’s almost like we need to, as moms, we need to first say, okay, I don’t have my crap together, but I did learn this one thing, and you might try it. It’s not like we can’t help each other, but yeah, to just chime in, well, if you would only sit and read with your child for 15 minutes every night, you would build bonds of unity. Whatever. By the evening, I’m ready to throw my child in the garbage can. And that’s the honesty. We should read with our kids, I know, but it’s hard. It’s just hard.

Megan Eddinger:

It is hard, especially at bedtime. Are you kidding?

Teri Miller:

Oh, exactly. So exhausting. So you have a Facebook community. Tell us about that and what you’re hoping that’s going to grow into.

Megan Eddinger:

Yeah. So thank you so much. It’s brand new. So we’re just getting off the ground, but just like I said, I really want this to be a place where moms can come and find that comfort. And so I will go live in there and share things that I’m personally dealing with, hoping to strike up conversation because people are not quick to jump in and share what they’re struggling with. They’ll send me a direct message, they’ll share in that way, but they’re not quick to post in a community of strangers. And so I’m trying to create a space where people do feel comfortable coming and sharing what they’re dealing with, whether they’re asking for help or not. Some people just need to let it out, because their spouse doesn’t understand, or they don’t have a good relationship with their mom, or whatever the case may be. Some people just don’t have a support system in real life. And so I think it’s really important to create a space that’s safe for everyone, but especially those people that don’t have that support system.

Teri Miller:

And I think, especially with the pandemic, there was such a withdrawal. We have over this past summer, I know had more opportunities to get face-to-face, but things are, I know in my small town, things are closing down again, things are getting very isolated. And so to have an online community where we can build relationships and be vulnerable, ask for help, but also just vent, that’s such a neat, that’s so beautiful. So yeah. Does it have a name? What’s your Facebook group called?

Megan Eddinger:

It’s just called the No BS Mama Community. So you can find it on Facebook there. And I can share a link with you so you can put that right in the show notes if people want to check it out.

Teri Miller:

Perfect. Yeah. We’ll do that for sure. Well, I hope listeners that you are encouraged that you’re not alone, that if you’re struggling with depression, if you’re just struggling with the hard mental anguish of being a mama, which it is, it’s beautiful and it’s hard, that I hope you feel encouraged, yeah, that there are people that can be here for you and you don’t have to be Perfect Peggy, was that the name? Peggy Perfect. Perfect Peggy?

Megan Eddinger:

Yeah.

Teri Miller:

Yeah. Yeah. So we’re out of time. We need to wrap up, but before we go, Megan, is there anything else you’d want to leave our listeners with, anything else you’d want to share?

Megan Eddinger:

If you take just one thing from this episode, it would be to ask for help, just take that one step and ask for help. It does not make you weak. It definitely does not make you a bad mom. If anything, it makes you strong and it makes you the best mom possible. So please, please, please, take that step and get help.

Teri Miller:

So good. So good. So I do want to remind everyone that this episode is not a substitute for medical advice, or for professional therapy. We’ve just been sharing personal stories that I hope is encouraging. And if you are experiencing symptoms of depression, please consult your doctor or a mental health provider. And if you are feeling acutely desperate, if you’re really feeling scary bad, please don’t just keep going on. Please reach out for help. And you can reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK, 800-273- 8255, that’s T-A-L-K, 800-273-TALK. Hold onto that if you’re driving and you’re feeling desperate, pull over, grab a phone, reach out and get help. You’re not going to be reported to somebody for calling that line, you’re just going to get help and encouragement. And there is no shame in that. So Megan, thank you, thank you so much for your transparency, for your willingness to talk about the heartache of depression.

Teri Miller:

And listeners if you’d like to hear more from Megan, tune into her episodes of the No BS Mama Podcast, you can also follow her on Instagram @Megan.Eddinger, or you can find her on Facebook, Megan Fish Eddinger, and we’ll make sure to put those links on our show notes.

So thank you so much for listening to this episode. And if you like our show, we’d be so grateful if you’d give us a five star rating and a review on Apple Podcasts, if you’d rather watch us, you can subscribe to our YouTube channel and please follow us on social media @thebrainymoms, Instagram, and Facebook. So look, until next time, we know you’re busy moms and we are busy moms, so we’re out. See ya.

Megan Eddinger:

Bye.

 

CONNECT WITH MEGAN


Her podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-no-bs-mama/id1521762861

Instagram: @TheNoBSMama

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/The-No-BS-Mama-111252471230304

Connect with Us:

Find Dr. Amy 
www.AmyMoorePhD.com

Follow Brainy Moms on social media:
@TheBrainyMoms

Catch all episodes of Brainy Moms at:
www.BrainyMoms.co

If you’d rather watch us, we’re on YouTube!
Brainy Moms

Visit our sponsor, LearningRx
www.LearningRx.com