#PPDChat 04.06.15: Done

ppdchat 04-06-15


As mothers, it’s not a word we utter a lot. Nothing ever seems to be “done” completely, does it?

There’s always dishes to be “done”, laundry to be “done”, baths to be “done”, and the list goes on and on. We are never DONE.

And yet, we should be done with small tasks throughout the day. Why?

Because, according to a fascinating article at Fast Company this morning, saying the word “Done” after completing even small tasks, allows us to feel a sense of accomplishment.

Seriously. They even cite science, y’all. What does it do? It shifts our brain in a neurochemical fashion, creating more serotonin. And we could ALL use a bit more natural serotonin, yes?

Join me tonight and let’s talk about everything you got “done” today. I’m willing to bet it is far more than you think.

See you at 9pm ET on Twitter. Be sure to check back here to follow the live feed if you’d rather not hop on Twitter itself. Thank you, Twubs, for existing.

With that, I’m DONE.


#PPDChat 03.23.14: Healing Timelines

ppdchat-03-23-15“I should be better by now, right?”

“When do the thoughts go away?”

“When does the rage stop?”

“I started meds a few months ago. Why don’t I feel better yet?”

Many of us have heard these phrases echoed by women who reach out to us. They’re frustrated because they are still hurting and fighting. For many of these women, a Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders is their first brush with mental health disorder. And like so many, they assume there is a timeline the disorder will follow. Thing is, even with medication and therapy, we all follow our own timelines.

When we get sick, we go to the doctor, get medicine, and are told when we can expect to feel better. With a mental health disorder, we are given medicine, told when we can expect it to kick in, advised of side effects, and possibly referred for therapy. That’s if we’re lucky. Then we are left to our own devices.

We find people like us. We do the most human thing possible – we compare our healing timeline to theirs. “She’s on the same med as me so I should get better as quickly as she did, right?”

Not necessarily.

Last week, we discussed knowing your symptoms. This week? We’re going to discuss knowing your healing timeline, how to keep from comparing yourself to those around you, and find solace in the small steps forward you’re making instead of seeking for giant leaps in healing.

Join us tonight at 9:00pm ET on Twitter. Don’t forget – you can come back here at 9:00pm to follow us, live.

See y’all then!

#PPDChat 03-16-15: Know Thy Signs

ppdchat 03-16-15Any navigator will tell you to know your landmarks when traveling. Know thy signs.

It’s the same with mental health. Know thy signs.

What happens when you start to spiral down? Do you have certain habits you repeat? These are your signs, your tips that something is going wrong.

Tonight’s chat isn’t just for those of us who face a Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorder – it’s also for those of us who fight the good fight against mental illness on a daily basis. We have to read our minds and know our signs. It’s exhausting, but necessary in order for us to make the best of the day which lies ahead of us. Sometimes, that day may require rest or sometimes we may have a really awesome day followed by sheer exhaustion because of everything we took in. It’s the ebb and flow of the war we wage as we live our lives.

I sincerely hope you will join us as we explore and chat about our own warning signs, what they mean, and how to learn to recognize your own.

See you tonight at 9:00pm ET!

PS. If you can’t get to Twitter, you’ll be able to follow the chat from here. Check back at 9pm ET, when a live chat feed will be embedded into this post!

We’ll be LIVE in 5 minutes. Follow along  here:

#PPDChat 03.09.15: #MakeItHappen

ppdchat-03-09-15In recognition of yesterday as International Women’s Day, tonight’s #PPDChat will pick up and carry the theme of #makeithappen.

Even in the past eight years, advocacy, support, and care have come a long way. But there is still plenty to be done. Tonight, we will be recognizing the strides and breakthroughs but also discussing what lies ahead of us to better improve care and support for women and families still struggling. Join us as we discuss hurdles we’ve jumped and the hurdles we still have to leap over.

See you tonight at 9pm ET!



Follow along with tonight’s chat right here:

#PPDChat 03.02.15: Space to Heal


The Fourth Trimester. It has potential to be rocky for many. All those adjustments. And the potential of the complication of a mood disorder? HELLO.

For those of us who fight a mood disorder post-birth, or the further complication of a life long mental health battle post-birth/parenting, adjusting can be hard. Add in the well-meaning folks who have ALL THE ADVICE and ALL THE ANSWERS and ALL THE QUESTIONS (when will you have another one? Are you done with babies?) and well, yeah. The space to heal becomes an item on the highest shelf at the store that you just cannot reach but desperately need to take home with you.

So how do you create that space to heal? Do you wait for it to appear? Do you force it to appear? Do you say a few words and will it into existence?

Baby steps.

The space to heal begins with the first step – admitting you need it. Then the second (and possibly difficult) step of getting those around you on board. You know how we nest in the later stages of pregnancy? That’s what you need to do – but for yourself.

Join us tonight as we talk about creating the space you need to heal after the birth of a baby and the onset of a perinatal mood & anxiety disorder. Deciding how to move forward is a personal decision and not one anyone else can make for you. Walk with us as we help empower you to make that nest of healing space.

See you on Twitter at our NEW time – 9pm ET!

#PPDChat 02.09.15: Sharing PPD With Family


Family is supposed to have your back, right? That’s what society says, anyway. But each family is different and every person holds “support” in their own box. They think they are helping but they are instead tearing you down with suggestions meant to heal you.

How do you decide when to share your diagnosis? What about when a beloved family member shames you for fighting this battle?  How large do you make the circle of people who are able to know?

Please join me tonight at #PPDChat to discuss this very issue. It’s one that is extremely important. See you on Twitter at 8:30pm ET!

#PPDChat 02.02.15: #DayofLight Chat

ppdchat-02-02-15This status update came into my feed yesterday evening via my good friend Addye. I’m thankful she shared it because it is certainly something I want to support.

The status read (emphases mine):

“Hey All! This Wednesday, February 4th is the 2nd annual ‪#‎DayOfLight‬. This is the day when I’m asking everyone to share their stories of depression on social media. So often folks suffer alone, believing that no one else understands what they’re going through.

Depression is real. It’s not something that can be wished away, and it’s not something to be ashamed about. Share your story on your blog, on your Facebook status, in a tweet, or on Instagram. Pick up the phone and check on a friend. Send an email, a text message or a DM to let someone know that you are there for them.

If you, or someone you know, has been affected by depression, please change your profile picture to black and white on that day to show solidarity to those who are going through it.”

Brandi, the founder of this movement, will be stopping by during #PPDChat this evening to talk with us a bit more about the history of the movement and how folks can participate and spread the word.

I hope you’ll join us and raise your voice with your story. We, none of us, are alone.

On Shonda Rhimes, Race, & Postpartum Depression

Last night’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy has some folks flurrying around, claiming it stigmatizes mental illness and does some serious damage to women who struggle with Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders. (Click here to read more about this battle moms are taking to Shonda’s alleged shaming of Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders.)

I’d like to take a view that is the polar opposite of being infuriated.

Shonda Rhimes did everything right last night.


(This is where you go elsewhere if you haven’t seen the episode yet and don’t want spoilers – in fact, go get Happy with Pharrell!)

We start the episode out coming back from winter break – we last found out that Kepner & Jackson’s baby has serious issues and Derrick is leaving for DC after a fight with Meredith.

HELLLOOOO STRESS and high tensions.

The opening scene involves Meredith discussing the hiring of a nanny with Callie. The conversation is interrupted by the incoming trauma of a mom who drove off a bridge with her two kids in the car. At this stage, we do not know the ages of the children and I don’t recall if they mention mom is pregnant at this time (ie, no need to jump to the PMAD hopscotch square yet). Meredith remarks, as everyone starts to walk, “Maybe she needed a nanny.”

Doesn’t every mom need a nanny at some point or other? Why does this imply a mental illness? It doesn’t. It implies motherhood is fucking difficult and sometimes, mom just needs some help (which we do).

Then, we fast forward to another scene where Dad arrives at the hospital after Mom has, only armed with the knowledge that there was an accident and believes someone has pushed his wife’s car off a bridge. He’s dumbfounded to find out it was his wife who was the driver – and rightfully so. Would you truly believe that your spouse were capable of driving off a bridge?

Stephanie interviews the husband as doctors and nurses prep his wife in a room, asking him if there’s anything he had noticed about her that – he interrupts, and says “You mean do I think she’s crazy? No! Absolutely not!” He then sits down and starts to list signs he’d noticed – fatigue, forgetting things, stressed, etc. Admits he’s been working a lot of hours and perhaps hadn’t been paying attention like he should have been.

Meredith, meanwhile, becomes the woman’s advocate and pushes back against any judgement implying the patient is, for lack of a better word, crazy. In fact, Meredith is the one to push for a physical diagnosis of her behaviour instead of a psychiatric one.

In the second half of the episode, the husband breaks down with Jackson, weeping, asking how on earth he could have missed this and how could he have been prepared for something like this to happen? Of course this hits Jackson hard as he is facing the birth of a child with serious health issues.

April, in her own personal hell after learning the situation with her own unborn child, goes on the most glaring rant against the patient’s behaviour.   Callie attempts to calm her down but doesn’t really get anywhere. April’s reaction, to me, was completely justified because she’s reacting from a place of hurt and is projecting.

Here’s how I saw the episode go down, in bullet points:

  • Situation/stigma presented (start in the messy)
  • Situation/stigma delved into
  • Situation/stigma pushed back against

How often do we see a show that deals with a Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorder by introducing the stigma, toying with it, but not dealing with it and instead treating it like the elephant in the room?

Grey’s didn’t do that last night.


In fact, they brought the stigma in, expanded it by using a woman and family of colour, and then they smashed right through every single damn stigma aspect they introduced.

And yet, that’s still not enough.

A groundbreaking episode presented to us on a popular television show run by the ONLY woman of colour in TV running things right now and that’s STILL NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

What the actual hell?

I watched the episode, waiting for the horror to unveil itself. Instead, I found myself agreeing with every single situation I had seen bashed as being handled poorly. Every single situation in this episode seen as “stigmatizing” simply WAS NOT STIGMATIZING. AT ALL.

I expected one of the children to be an infant. But nope. Well out of toddler years for both children.

There was simply no reason to fly off the handle for this episode. None. Except wait, the line where someone mutters “crazy moms who…” We push back against this as hard as we can with facts, with exposure of what it’s really like to live with a Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorder. Guess what? Even though last night’s mom didn’t have a PMAD? They pushed back. They had a solid grasp on reality and they exposed it. Reality is, this is where we are as a culture – and that isn’t going to change over night. I, for one, welcome a show which is willing to push the boundaries of stigma and what exists there but also be willing to yank it back. Because in reality? Not everything is neatly tied up and beautiful replete with facts and details.

Shonda Rhimes starts where it’s messy. Then she wades through it and brings it to conclusion. Does it end up where we want it to? No. But you know what? It starts with what we recognize as a CULTURE. Is that right? Not yet. But we’re getting there and last night’s episode of Grey’s acknowledged that in a big way because it:

  • introduced a woman of colour who did something unspeakable
  • had the husband deal with it appropriately
  • involved the staff reacting in an appropriate medical manner without judging mom

In my book, that’s GROUNDBREAKING, not shameful. Not at all.

Thank you, Shonda Rhimes, for putting this episode together and doing so in a respectful and mindful manner. Keep that up.


#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


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!