Category Archives: #PPDChat

#PPDChat 01.29.15: Just The Facts

PPDChat topic 051611It’s that time again! Every so often, #PPDChat goes back to basics and talks about the signs and symptoms of the issues of Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders. It’s important because many folks aren’t familiar with the nuances of some of the symptoms. Or they associate PMADs with the things they hear in the news.

This chat battles two fronts  – informing as well as disarming any stigma that is out there.

So we’ll see you tonight (blizzard and all) at 8:30pm ET for an informative chat all about the signs and symptoms of a Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorder!

#PPDChat 01.19.15: Love & PPD

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Love. It envelops you and claims you whole, much like a cozy comforter on a cold winter night. Then, reality rips the comforter away and brings with it a freezing breeze. Struggle as you may, you just can’t get the comforter back. So, you fight to do your best with what you have.

This is what love is like during a Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorder. We pull away because we are working to keep ourselves warm (read: sane) and do not have the ability to keep those around us warm because we are barely staying afloat. So our loved ones watch, helplessly, as we fight ferociously (or for some of us, drift away), along this confusing path.

How do we make love thrive during the time of PPD?

How can those of us who are struggling reach out to those around us?

How can those who love us dearly reach out to us without being afraid of further hurting us or stifling our progress?

Patience. Acceptance. Compassion. Mostly patience.

Join me tonight at #PPDChat on Twitter at 830pm ET as we navigate this roller coaster road of love in the time of PPD.

See you there!

Medication or Therapy?

In a very insightful piece at the NY Times in the Well section, “To Treat Depression, Drugs or Therapy“,  Dr. Richard Friedman, M.D., explores recent research which examined the manner in which people respond to either medication, therapy, or both.

It’s a question we hear a lot as we support women fighting their way through a Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorder. The concern is valid, for a variety of reasons. Breastfeeding mothers worry about what the medicine will do to their children. All mothers worry about the stigma about being on a medication. Therapy provides its own challenges with childcare and financial being the two primary ones.

So how do you choose? Why is it that what works for one doesn’t work for another?

Turns out, according to the research Dr. Friedman examined, it comes down to our brains. The research, led by Dr. Helen Mayburg of Emory University, holds great potential for successful treatment of those of us who struggle with mental health issues.

“Dr. Helen Mayberg, a professor of psychiatry at Emory University, recently published a study in JAMA Psychiatry that identified a potential biomarker in the brain that could predict whether a depressed patient would respond better to psychotherapy or antidepressant medication.”

Read that again. A biomarker. In the brain. This vein of research, which involves imaging the brain, may one day allow us to side step the arduous task of finding the right medication for our own situations.

Go read the article, which also touches briefly toward the end on Dr. Charles Nemeroff’s research regarding the treatment response of those who endured childhood trauma. (This is also very enlightening).

Mental health will always be a challenge. How our brain works affects everything we do, everything we are, everything we hope to be. It’s a fight to get it all done. But it’s a fight worth every single breath.

#PPDChat 01.05.15: New Beginnings

ppdchat-01-07-13A new year. New beginnings. Where to start? Resolutions? Baby steps? Intentions?

Wherever you decide to begin, join us tonight at we examine the necessity of going through your days with small intentions designed to snowball into larger achievements as you move through a Perinatal Mood & Anxiety diagnosis.

See you tonight at 830pm ET for the first #PPDChat of 2015!

#PPDChat 12.08.14: 12 Things to Say to New Mothers

12 things to say to new momsRiffing on the 12 Days of Christmas in a nod to the holiday season, I invite you to join me tonight on Twitter at 830pm to share words of wisdom for new moms facing or possibly facing a Perinatal & Anxiety Mood Disorder.

I’m sure we will end up with more than 12 things to say but I will bring 12 points on which we can focus our advice.

See you tonight!

#PPDChat 12.01.14: Mindful Holidays

Mindful Holidays

One holiday weekend down, two more to go. And a parade of holiday get-to-gethers to survive in the meantime.

What’s a mama to do?

Slow down.

Breathe deeply.

Stay sane.

It’s a tall order for even those who aren’t fighting a mental health battle, right?

I hope you’ll join me tonight at #PPDChat on Twitter at 830pm as we go through some basic skills which you can tuck away in your brain as you move through this holiday season.

Come prepared with questions, vents from this past weekend, and get ready to unwind in a fantastic soothing way.

See you tonight at 830pm ET!

#PPDChat 11.17.14: Holidays & PPD

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As the holiday season rapidly approaches and social appearances are greatly expected, those of us who struggle with mental health issues store up excuses to bow out of gatherings. While saying no is a phenomenal practice, there may be some gatherings which are required. We grit our teeth and bear it, hoping to repair our anxiety once it is over.

Tonight’s chat will focus on coping mechanisms for surviving the holiday season. Learning to say no, surviving when we are sucked into the vortex of family and work gatherings, and building self-care for our souls into the holiday season. ‘Tis the season to give of ourselves, but also TO ourselves. Be kind to yourselves these holidays – refill your pitcher as you pour to others.

Join me tonight at 830pm ET on Twitter. See you at #PPDChat!

 

In case you missed the chat, here’s the transcript:

#PPDChat 11.10.14: The Odd Couple: Gratitude and PPD?

The Odd Couple: Gratitude & PPDGratitude and PPD. These two concepts might seem like an odd pair.  But in my experience, they are closely linked.  I’ve read some posts and articles in which women actually stated that they were grateful for PPD. They explained how it helped turn their marriage around, led them to care for themselves better, showed them how strong they could be in difficult situations, and uncovered an underlying issue that needed to be addressed.  On the other hand, other women responded to these statements, stating that they were not at all grateful for having had PPD. They explained how it was a miserable time and that nothing positive came out of it.

I want to honor those two differing perspectives regarding PPD and gratitude.  Obviously, neither opinion is right or wrong, but I do want to bring up another point about PPD and gratitude.  I found that gratitude was my saving grace as I pulled myself out of the panic and fog PPD led left me in.  When I managed to make it through one day without obsessively worrying about something, I would congratulate myself for this progress and count it as something to be grateful for.  When the insomnia settled and I was able to fall asleep easily, I was eternally grateful.  When friends helped out by taking my dogs for walks, I thanked them profusely.

For some reason, even though I was so sad and scared about my illness, I was able to recognize my small steps towards healing and cherish small acts of kindness.  While the depression and anxiety I experienced when my son was first born has lifted, my gratitude has remained.  Though I wouldn’t state that I am grateful for having had PPD, I do believe I am a more grateful person now than I was before PPD hit. I am grateful for compassionate friends. I am grateful for my wonderful family. I am grateful for a clear mind. And most of all, I am grateful for my strength which carried me away from the dark clutches of PPD and has guided me through many experiences since then.

Has PPD affected your gratitude? Please join #PPDChat tonight at 830pm to chat with us about this topic!

-Ana Clare Rouds

#PPDChat 10.20.14: All Stories Matter

ppdchat-10-20-14There was a brilliant piece on October 18, at The New York Times, in the Opinion section, by Peter Kramer. The title is “Why Doctors Need Stories” and it came to my attention via the Facebook page of The Postpartum Stress Center.

Peter makes some excellent points in this rather lengthy opinion piece but this paragraph, found near the end, sums it up nicely:

“I don’t think that psychiatry — or, again, medicine in general — need be apologetic about this state of affairs. Our substantial formal findings require integration. The danger is in pretending otherwise. It would be unfortunate if psychiatry moved fully — prematurely — to squeeze the art out of its science. And it would be unfortunate if we marginalized the case vignette. We need storytelling, to set us in the clinical moment, remind us of the variety of human experience and enrich our judgment.”

Psychiatry treats the mind. The mind is what drives us, it is where our stories reside, where our choices are made. So it would seem obvious to keep the stories of our lives as part of the study, yes?

As research moves more toward numbers and the data including them, however, stories are being – as Kramer puts it – squeezed out. The art is fading. But it is, at the same time, making a comeback, fighting for breath in a stranglehold of data.

This is why our stories matter. While our words may not ever appear on the pages of the New England Journal of Medicine or be held in the hands of a renowned physician, they will be held and read by mothers who are walking the path we once walked. Every single story, every single word – it matters.

Tonight’s chat will explore the art of storytelling – multiple aspects of choosing to do so. It’s not easy to share our stories but we do it because we wish we had been able to read stories like ours when we fought in the dark.

Join me on Twitter at 830pm ET as we explore the art of storytelling as it relates to Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders. We’ll cover all the standard questions – the who, what, where, why, when, and how. See you there!

#PPDChat 10.06.14: Art of Self-Care

ppdchat-10-06-14Guilt over what we should be doing for ourselves often translates into a serious lack of self-care. We forget to gift ourselves the grace we so often extend to everyone else in our lives to those who need it most – us.

I am constantly saying how important self-care is to the journey of motherhood. We HAVE to fill our own pitchers before we can pour ourselves to those around us. If we don’t, we will have nothing to pour into the cups of those we love and soon we will turn to dust.

Join me tonight as we chat about the art of self care through the art of self-grace.

Gift yourself grace, and steep yourself in the self-care you deserve.

See you on Twitter at 830pm ET!