Category Archives: #PPDChat

#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!

#PPDChat 09.21.14: When Darkness Falls – SAD & PPD

ppdchat-09-22-14Fall Equinox.

When I was a kid, I loved those words. It meant the leaves would soon change colour, setting the landscape ablaze in yellows, oranges, reds, and the sunlight would carry the newly found rainbow into the sky as it sank beneath the horizon earlier and earlier every night.

It also meant my birthday was only 4 days away.

But now, as I have journeyed several days down the path of life, I don’t enjoy those two little words as much any more. In fact, they make me sad. I strive to find the joy in autumn and not focus too much on the shorter days and looming increase in hours spent in the dark, away from the sun.

I moved back to the northeast United States a few years ago. The first year I was here, Sandy hit. I have not been right since. The cloudy days, the shorter days, the snow (dear LORD, the snow), the dark – it has me sinking into the depths of my couch in the winter, fighting for any shred of happiness I can find. I finally had a discussion with my doctor about it last year and we realized it may actually be a combination of PTSD from Sandy and the settling in of SAD.

So now, this year, I am prepared. I fought back last year with medication (finally) but after doing everything else I could do as well – a therapeutic SAD lamp, Vitamin D, socialization, etc. But this year, I’m still on my meds, I use my light every morning as I drink my first cup of coffee and catch up with friends on social media, easing myself into my day.

Tonight, we’ll discuss not only the very real issue of Seasonal Affective Disorder, but how that may complicate PPD and things you can do to battle both at the same time. I hope you’ll join us.

See you tonight at 830pm ET!

PPDChat 09.15.14: After Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders

ppdchat-09-15-14There is such a range of experience with mental health after the birth of a child. From the expected baby blues to the much more serious psychosis. But most of us expect the healing to come within a reasonable amount of time.

For many of us, it doesn’t and we find ourselves fighting a mental health battle we never saw coming. For others, it’s a battle which started before we became mothers and is continuing.

But tonight’s chat will focus on the continued, unexpected battle. Those of us who go on from a Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorder into a full blown life long battle against a variety of mental health diagnosis. What then? How do we cope? How do we keep from constantly falling down the rabbit hole? How do we fight the exhaustion? The parenting while fighting our own minds? It’s all too much sometimes and we retreat into ourselves, leaving our partners to hold the reins. What if that partner isn’t supportive? What if we can’t find the space we need to parent within the boundaries of these challenges? What then?

So many questions, different from the experience and transient nature of Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders. We’ll touch on them at tonight’s chat. I hope you’ll join me at 830pm ET on Twitter. See you there!

#PPDChat 08.25.14: Single Parents & PPD

Single Parents and PPDTonight’s #PPDChat is one we should have had a long time ago. Motherhood is often faced alone by women, for a myriad of reasons. On top of facing parenthood alone, many of these single mothers also face the beast of Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders on their own as well. With less time, less resources, less energy, they have to find ways to fight back on their own.

A Canadian study showed thatBoth teen and adult mothers were approximately five times more likely to experience PPD if they received no support or minimal support after the birth of the baby.”

FIVE TIMES MORE LIKELY.

FIVE.

It’s important for us to support all mothers, regardless of their history, status, etc. Mothers are mothers and babies are babies. We all deserve the best start possible.

I sincerely hope you will join me tonight as @addyeB and I discuss facing PPD as a single mom, what you can do to help yourself and to help single mothers you know in this situation.

Find us on Twitter at 830pm ET. See you then!

#PPDChat 08.18.14: Self-Care – Lists of Three

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I started this thing awhile back on Twitter, #listof3. It took off and I use it when I get down. Thing is, I haven’t used it in awhile so it’s been stuck on the backburner of my brain. Others have used it, however. It warms my heart to see others using it even if I am not because it’s comforting to see someone else lifted up because of you.

I was reminded of this #listof3 by a #PPDChat Volunteer late last week when I asked for suggestions for chat this week. I sat with it for a few days and decided to run with it today. Her suggestion read as follows:

“Name 3 things you’re thankful for, 3 things you wish your family knew, 3 things you want your kids to remember about you, and so on and so forth. I come up with 3 different things each time.”

We’re heading into that time of year when mamas are sending older kids back to school and schedules are drastically changing. In the midst of this chaos (regardless of whether or not you’re celebrating or missing your little ones), it’s important to remember to take care of yourself and focus on the positives in your life instead of all the little things running you ragged or pulling you down.

I sincerely hope you’ll join us tonight as we discuss our own #listof3, finding gratefulness tucked away even in the most chaotic corner of our lives. Who knows, maybe attending chat will end up on your list!

In the meantime, what are you grateful for today?

I’m grateful for coffee, sunshine, and sleep.

Your turn:

#PPDChat Topic 08.04.14: Getting Pro-active: Facing Pregnancy after a Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorder

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Along with countless women, I have been in this boat. It’s an intimidating boat, let me tell you what. But, with some preparation, things don’t have to be quite that scary.

My first experience with a PMAD was frightening. I had no idea what was happening in my head in addition to trying to get myself adjusted to motherhood for the first time around. Talk about one helluva screwball. Thanks, life.

I survived. My daughter survived. Did we come out unscathed? No. But I definitely came out wiser. I view my first brush with PP OCD as one heck of a learning curve which prepared me for the second time I found myself in an even deeper valley than the first.

Halle Berry said it best on Oprah: “Once you’ve been through depression, it gets easier to get out because you have a road map.” Each episode, while it may have different nuances and causes, is essentially the same basic experience deep down. You get used to battling your way out of it and yes, you absolutely have a road map. You learn to recognize the curves and know how to adjust for them well before they even appear on your horizon.

Just as with a road trip, preparation is key. While even the best preparation in the world does not guarantee that a PMAD will stay at bay, it does empower you and enables you to seek help sooner rather than later.

I sincerely hope you’ll join us tonight to discuss the importance of preparing yourself and your loved ones for the possibility of another bout of a PMAD after the birth of a sibling. I have experienced both a planned and an unplanned pregnancy after my episodes so there will be lots of insight into both situations, including a very honest discussion about depression and other mental health issues during pregnancy.

Tonight’s chat is an important one. Don’t miss it. See you on Twitter at 830pm ET!