#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  Рinforming 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!

For @JimGaffigan: 12 Days of Star Wars

Inspired by a tweet by Jim Gaffigan, here’s a parody of 12 Days of Christmas, but about Star Wars for his son who claims his favorite Christmas song is STAR WARS (smart kid):

On the first day of Star Wars, my Yoda to me gave:

A Droid in a sandy desert.

On the second day of Star Wars, my Yoda to me gave:

Two jawa scavengers and a Droid in a sandy desert.

On the third day of Star Wars, my Yoda to me gave:

Three Storm Troopers, two Jawa scavengers, and a Droid in a sandy desert.

On the fourth day of Star Wars, my Yoda to me gave:

Four Jedi Knights, three Storm Troopers, two Jawa scavengers, and a Droid in a sandy desert.

On the fifth day of Star Wars, my Yoda to me gave:

Five TIE fighters. Four Jedi Knights, four Jedi Knights, three Storm Troopers, two Jawa scavengers, and a Droid in a sandy desert.

On the sixth day of Star Wars, my Yoda to me gave:

Six furry Ewoks, five TIE Fighters, four Jedi Knights, three Storm Troopers, two Jawa scavengers, and a Droid in a sandy desert.

On the seventh day of Star Wars, my Yoda to me gave:

Seven Gungans-a-swimming, six furry Ewoks, five TIE Fighters, four Jedi Knights, three Storm Troopers, two Jawa scavengers, and a Droid in a sandy desert.

On the eighth day of Star Wars, my Yoda to me gave:

Eight Senators a-bilking, seven Gungans-a-swimming, six furry Ewoks, five TIE Fighters, four Jedi Knights, three Storm Troopers, two Jawa scavengers, and a Droid in a sandy desert.

On the ninth day of Star Wars, my Yoda to me gave:

Nine Tuskens dancing, eight Senators a-bilking, seven Gungans-a-swimming, six furry Ewoks, five TIE Fighters, four Jedi Knights, three Storm Troopers, two Jawa scavengers, and a Droid in a sandy desert.

On the tenth day of Star Wars, my Yoda to me gave:

Ten Siths-a-leaping, nine Tuskens dancing, eight Senators a-bilking, seven Gungans-a-swimming, six furry Ewoks, five TIE Fighters, four Jedi Knights, three Storm Troopers, two Jawa scavengers, and a Droid in a sandy desert.

On the eleventh day of Star Wars, my Yoda to me gave:

Eleven Wookies fighting, ten Siths-a-leaping, nine Tuskens dancing, eight Senators a-bilking, seven Gungans-a-swimming, six furry Ewoks, five TIE Fighters, four Jedi Knights, three Storm Troopers, two Jawa scavengers, and a Droid in a sandy desert.

On the twelfth day of Star Wars, my Yoda to me gave:

Twelve Biths drumming, eleven Wookies fighting, ten Siths-a-leaping, nine Tuskens dancing, eight Senators a-bilking, seven Gungans-a-swimming, six furry Ewoks, five TIE Fighters, four Jedi Knights, three Storm Troopers, two Jawa scavengers, and a Droid in a sandy desert.

 

 

#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!

All the Little Ways

Her prince rode up on a white horse, swept her up behind him, and they rode off into the sunset as her hair flowed behind her, the wind toying with it as the horse rushed headlong into the distance.

Romance, right?

Here’s the thing with romance: it’s not all grand gestures. Romance hides in the most common places and if you’re not paying attention, you’ll miss it altogether.

Take J & me for instance.

We have this one spoon that’s different than all the other spoons in the drawer. It’s not curved at the top, and is wider and a little flatter than all the other spoons. We both love this spoon for some reason. I like that it seems to deliver food in a more oh, I don’t know, pleasing manner?

So if we ask the other one to bring us some ice cream or yogurt, or anything else one eats with a spoon, we will often put this spoon in said food item. No words are said as we hand the other person the bowl and spoon. But when we notice, it’s always an awwwwww moment and we swoon. For us, that spoon is another way of saying “I love you, I cherish you, even in the smallest of ways.”

Love isn’t big acknowledgements.

It’s the tiny nods in the midst of the chaos of every day living.

Those are the things I live for and the things I am grateful to receive and even more excited to give.

What tiny nods in the midst of the chaos of every day living do you give your loved one?

#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!

Cabin Fever

It’s dark outside. The sun roams about behind grey mist trapped in the sky, mist which expands and sighs, drifting about aimlessly and casting shadows upon the ground beneath them.

I sit, inside, my HappyLight beaming artificial light upon my face. Our cat rests next to me, basking in the warmth of the same light infusing my soul with cheer. (Who said money can’t buy happiness?) My tea slides down my throat as I wearily glance outside at the muted colours of autumn draped in the tears of the sky.

Voices chatter from the television, the dishwasher hums in the background, and life goes on around me.

Yet here I sit, on the couch, trapped by some horrible autumnal cold accompanied by a hacking cough for good measure.

I suppose it would be worse if it were a bright summer day full of promising things to do across the countryside. But this…this seems almost worse. As if the world outside is closing in upon me much as the universe seemed to close in upon Dr. Crusher in Star Trek when Wesley’s warp bubble swallowed her whole.

The chill sneaks into my heart, worms its way up to my head, and settles there. The mist follows soon after, bringing with it a torrential rain, which if not properly prepared for, will lead to a great depression.

It is this against which I fight once the days grow shorter, the skies infinitely darker with the storms which swirl about in the midst of autumn and winter. Although spring carries with it the promise of allergic reaction, I welcome the sunshine, the warm breezes, and the sprouting of new life.

For now, I sink back into the dark brown couch, sip my tea, and stare at the raindrops sliding down the glass window separating me from the darkened world.

#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: