Tag Archives: Facebook

Whatever Wednesday: Welcome to hell, courtesy of Facebook

Last night, I curled up in bed with a bilingual copy of Pablo Neruda. Snuggled under a wool blanket, two quilts, propped up with several comfy pillows, I read until I passed out. (Which took all of 5 minutes but I digress.) Point is, I fell asleep happy. Comfortable. Safe. A sense of order and bliss surrounding me.

This morning?

Ripped away from me in mere milliseconds after typing in http://www.facebook.com.

Oh.MAH.GAWD.

There’s some scrolling status update thing in the corner ABOVE the already annoying sidebar chat list.

And there’s no choice in what you see on your News Update now. It auto-updates. With what it THINKS you want to see the most.

Don’t get me started on the lists. Because really. Automatically added to lists via location or who FB thinks my closest friends are? Wow. Although this one hit me a few days ago, I’m still working my head around it.

I immediately set off to the Twitter. For help. For support. For… OW. Mah head. I may be blind. I may… there… but… wha?

Tech Crunch offered a solution. Change your language to English (UK) in your Account Settings. Didn’t work for me. It’s like I tripped overnight and fell into some massive rabbit hole which then landed me in one of Dante’s circles of Hell which then flew me via Oceanic Flight 815 over to the island with the boys from Lord of the Flies. GET ME THE EFF OUTTA HERE. PLEASE.

Ever seen Nothing to Lose with Martin Lawrence and Tim Robbins? No? The clip below sums up perfectly how I feel about the changes at FB this morning.

“You’re driving on the sidewalk … people got to walk there!”

“I’m blind! I cant.SEE.SHIT!”

Thanks Zuckerburg. Thanks for the massive ass migraine. You’ll be getting a bill.

Only human

Dear lovely readers and #PPDChat members:

 

It’s been a heck of a week. I’m tired. Drained. Worn the heck out.

I’m always preaching to you about self-care. About filling your own tanks and making sure you put yourself first.

This week, I sucked at that a little.

So I’m taking the weekend off.

I’m uninstalling Twitter from my phone.

I’m turning off my email alerts except for a super secret email address only released to a few chosen people.

I won’t be on Facebook either.

I need to just be.

To soak in the jacuzzi.

Watch the clouds.

Swing on a playground.

Watch the Blue Heron hunt for fish in the lake behind the house.

Sink into a hot bubble bath.

Also? Chocolate. Maybe.

Know that I’m okay. That I’m taking care of me which is precisely what I want each and every one of you to do this weekend.

Take care of you.

I’ll see y’all on Monday at chat.

We’ll be talking about Triggers and how to cope.

What better way to get ready than to practice all weekend?

Love all of you so much.

All my heart,

lauren

Whatever Wednesday: I am not my @klout score

If you’re at all active in the Social Media realm, you are familiar with Klout. You either have it or you don’t. You either joke about it or you take it very seriously. Klout defines some. It confuses others. It depresses many more because try as they might, they just can’t get their Klout score any higher.

In the interest of full disclosure, my Klout score is 62. It’s been that way for months now. Not terribly bad for someone who has a niche blog and mostly socializes on Twitter. Thing is, my Klout score means nothing to me.

The people over at Klout lay out how they determine your score on their Understanding the Influence Metric page. From their page: ” The Klout score is highly correlated to clicks, comments and retweets.” They then go on to describe how they test, retest, use machines, etc, to determine your Klout score.

My Klout will never be determined by a machine.

I will never be defined by my Klout.

Ever.

When I started blogging over four years ago, it was for a very selfish yet not so selfish reason. Unexpectedly pregnant with our third child, I needed to reframe my pregnancy after two very serious episodes of Postpartum OCD, depression, and a case of PTSD from our second daughter’s NICU stay. After ferociously reading “What am I Thinking: Having a Baby after Postpartum Depression” by Karen Kleiman in which she suggested reframing your pregnancy in a positive light, I decided to start blogging. I was already active in Postpartum Advocacy and had been for a few months by then. Blogging seemed  a natural evolution for my advocacy. So I went to WordPress, snagged a blog, and began to write.

I knew nothing about social media when I started blogging. Twitter was brand new then and FaceBook wasn’t yet on my radar. I blogged away. I found it helped with the tough days. Knowing I would be able to sit down at the end of it or whenever I needed to and just pour my heart out made the hard things easier. My mind began to rework the hard things into funny things. Karen’s idea took hold. My pregnancy began to be positive despite the initial depression which, quite frankly, made me wish at my first few appointments that they wouldn’t find the baby’s heartbeat and I could go on without being pregnant. For the first three months of my pregnancy I was delusional in thinking that the pregnancy was not real and was instead, just a dream. I did not begin to fall in love with the idea of this unexpected pregnancy until nearly five months along.

Eventually I joined Twitter. I do not remember what I talked about in the early days. I do know that @MommyGeekology was one of the first friends I really made there. (We STILL have yet to meet in person – we SO need to remedy that!) From there, my friends on Twitter grew. I shared my blog posts, found other parents to whom I could relate, and was absolutely not shy about discussing the hard stuff with anyone.

A year ago I really embraced the power of Twitter. I started #PPDChat on the third anniversary of my blog. I had no high hopes for attendance nor did I have any expectations for how things would go once chat started. Would I be talking to myself? Would others want to talk about the hard stuff with me? Who would show up? Would I lose followers for talking about nothing but Postpartum Mood Disorders twice a day once a week? Taking a deep breath, I dove in to the first chat.

Our first chat was small and cozy but the sharing blew me away. The evening chat was slightly bigger. I’ve tracked the numbers with TweetReach after each chat. But again, for me, it’s just a way of keeping record. The world likes tangible. I’m not a fan of the tangible. I measure chats by how many people I’ve reached. By how many people asked me questions. Or how many people took a deep breath and said “Hi. I’m hurting. Can you help me?”

My online presence is not about the numbers. It never has been and it never will be about the numbers.

My online presence is about the love and comfort others feel when they talk to me. About the way people mention me to people they know are or might be struggling with a Postpartum Mood Disorder. It’s about the heart. My heart as well as the growth and change in the hearts of those who talk to me. Watching people heal and grow stronger is an amazing thing. Knowing that you’re a part of it is even more amazing. It’s humbling.

One year after #PPDChat started, we’re still going strong. In fact, to speak to just how much I don’t pay attention to the numbers – I started a closed FB group for the #PPDChat ladies this past week. It’s a safe place where they can express themselves in more than 140 characters outside of chat. (Note here: you MUST be an active member of #PPDChat to join.) In less than two days, there were 50 members. There are now 61. I’m astounded. I had no idea so many were chatting. I truly love each and every one of the moms and dads who come to me for help. I care deeply for them. You can’t put a number on love. You can’t put a number on heart. You can’t put a number on networking that level of compassion.

Yes, I understand why so many put the emphasis on Klout and why it’s necessary. It’s a tangible measurement of your reach. According to Klout, my true reach is 1k. In my heart though, I know it’s so much more – it’s limitless… and it’s only limitless because of those who have reached out to me, found solace, and then shared me as a resource with others.

I am humbled and grateful for all who have sought me for solace and compassion as you navigate the very dark place filled with Postpartum Mood & Anxiety Disorders. I can only pray I’m allowed to continue to be a shining light in that dark place for years and years to come…. outlasting even Klout.

Coping with tragedy while struggling with mental illness

Last night, all bleary eyed, I read a Breaking News Update from Huffington Post about Japan. A 7.9 earthquake had struck. I prayed and stumbled to bed.

I awoke to news of an even higher richter scale quake splashed all over the Internet. It was on my Facebook Page, at Twitter, and everywhere else. There was no escaping the tragedy which had occurred overnight. I felt my own anxieties ramping up a bit and then I worried for my #PPDChat Mamas.

If you need support, please don’t hesitate to find me on Twitter – I’m @unxpctdblessing. You can also email me at mypostpartumvoice (@) gmail (dot) com. If you feel yourself really adrift in anxiety and stress, do not hesitate to call your healthcare provider or therapist.

News and current events can strike fear and confusion in the heart of even the most normal of people. For those of us struggling with mental illness, those feelings are magnified. I stopped watching the news when I realized it was causing my anxiety to increase 100 fold or more.

Increased anxiety is not good for anyone, let alone someone with an anxiety or depression disorder.

While it is important to stay informed, it’s also important to take care of one’s self in the face of the ever increasing instant news society in which we live. One of the biggest things you can do for yourself is to turn off the evening or morning news. When was the last time you heard good news there any way? Read online. Sure, you may see some headlines that might trigger you but you don’t have to click on them. Go elsewhere. Or visit Happy News.

Your friends may post links to triggering news stories at Facebook or on Twitter. Again, ignore them. You can hide the post on Facebook. Twitter moves so fast that any news post may be lost before you even have a chance to click. If you struggle with the urge to click on news stories, then you may want to go find an online game to play – Tetris specifically has been proven to be helpful for those who struggle with PTSD. It distracts the brain and forces it to focus on solving a puzzle.

The APA also has a great page on how to manage during a disaster. While you may not have been directly affected, some of us have very vivid imaginations and have seen video of what happened in Japan. Sometimes this can affect someone almost as much as having been there, especially if they are already struggling with a mental illness. Go read the APA sheet. I strongly urge you to seek help if today has been overwhelming for you. Don’t suffer alone.

 

 

 

Postpartum Voice of the Week: The Comparison Game – Facebook you suck

Comparisons. Judgments. Look at her, she’s all put together and flawless. Nails perfect. Lipstick matches her shirt/dress. She’s got the latest stroller, designer clothes for her baby, not a hair out of place , everything looks fine. Family photos, family vacations. Not a single smudge of flour in her kitchen anywhere in her pictures. On Facebook.

LOOKS fine.

When people post photos, they tend to post the best, the brightest, the cleanest. They post photos which portray the life they are “supposed” to have. Now, some people may post pictures of their real lives. They may be honest with their portrayal of their lives. But for those of us who feel less than perfect, photos which appear even remotely perfect cut us to the bone.

They bring judgment into our head. Misconceptions. Lies. The cycle begins. We get lost in what should be instead of what IS in our own lives.

With the advent of social media, we get a closer peek into the lives of people we know (and even people we don’t) every day. Social media has gained a new foothold into loading us down with Mama Guilt.

Today’s Postpartum Voice from Carrying Me Through, shares a very powerful post about how these photos and ideals shared and portrayed (through Facebook specifically) have affected her as a Mom struggling with a Postpartum Mood Disorder.

Please go read it. You won’t regret it at all…. in fact, it may cause you to think in a new way about the effect of Social Media.

Just Talkin’ Tuesday 08.25.09: Sharing the PPD news with your parents

Communication today is often done via email, text, twitter, facebook status updates. It’s become much less personal and much less formal. For some, this is good. For others, not so good. Some things get lost in translation. It’s easy to type something and hit send without thinking. It’s also easy to apply this short communication style to every day life, leading to quick judgments, misunderstandings, and worse, the planting of grudges and beginnings of the end of relationships. The art of the thoughtful conversation seems to be drifting by the wayside.

Many women and families with whom I’ve worked have expressed to me that the biggest challenge they face is enabling those around them to understand what is going on without increasing stigma or losing their formerly close relationships. It’s a struggle to go through a Postpartum Mood & Anxiety Disorder let alone try to explain the complexity of it to a loved one from whom you need support.

When I spoke with my parents about PPD, they were understanding, compassionate, and actually did their own informative research. The one thing that stood out to me when I was hospitalized came from a phone call with my dad. He said something simple yet profound (my dad is full of those – I LOVE him for it). My father told me not to let anyone tell me I was “crazy” for the way I was feeling given my situation. My situation was that two months prior I had given birth to our second daughter who was then subsequently diagnosed with a cleft palate and by then had undergone two surgeries, one major to help lengthen her jaw in order to allow her to breathe safely. I held it together as long as I could but finally collapsed on day 56. Turns out for me, falling apart was precisely what I needed in order to pull it back together.

I’ve spoken with Mothers and their Parents alike who are frustrated and upset by the lack of information, communication, and the subsequent misunderstandings that follow all too often in the wake of a Postpartum Mood & Anxiety Disorder. Often these very issues only serve to compound a family’s recovery.

Today, I would like to take the opportunity to check in and see how (or if) you told your parents (or in-laws) or kept up appearances with them. Did you let them see inside the dusty window or did you keep the shade pulled down and pray no one would accidentally flip it up?

Let’s get to Just Talkin’!

From the trenches…

Today I’d like to focus on the real faces and true stories of Perinatal Mood Disorders.

These are the stories of everyday people who have ferociously fought to survive this insidious illness.

These are the people who realize the true value of The Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHER’S Act. They passionately support the legislation.

Many of them are also now ardently dedicated to supporting others as they tread on this dark and lonely path.tea-cup-and-strainer1

Got a few minutes?

C’mon in – grab a cup of tea and sit down.

Let me introduce you to a few of them.

Meet Heather. Her brush with Postpartum Depression began during the pregnancy of her first child. Anxiety and intrusive thoughts settled in, causing her to obsess about birth defects of her unborn infant. Things went from difficult to worse when Heather experienced a reaction to a pain medicine administered during labor. She awoke at 7 hours postpartum only to witness her son receiving oxygen. Once home, she stopped sleeping, going days without rest. Her milk supply dried up as a result of the intense stress she was experiencing. Heather and her family moved in with a family member as it was no longer safe for her to be on her own. With an intolerance to all medications (including antibiotics), she sought help via talk therapy and a kinesiologist. After a few months of therapy, she was given a clean bill of health. Heather now serves as a moderator at the Online PPD Support Page and finds helping others very rewarding and meaningful. You can read more of Heather’s story by clicking here.

Ruth Rhoden Craven & son

Ruth Rhoden Craven & son

Then there’s Helena Bradford, one of the most amazing women I have ever had the privilege of knowing. Her daughter Ruth Rhoden Craven tragically ended her life after struggling with Postpartum Depression. Doctors were unable to help and some bad internet advice led the family to believe all Ruth needed was a vacation. How wrong they were! Helena works each and every day with a determination to prevent what happened to Ruth from happening to others. She is deeply rooted in her faith and believes without a doubt that the Lord has used Ruth to further the cause of PPD awareness. Helena has an amazing will. She is standing strong despite her tragic loss. Read an interview with Helena by clicking here.

headshot_bob-gibbsAnother parent who has joined the battle is Bob Gibbs. Bob lost his daughter and grandson, Jennifer Gibbs Bankston and Graham Bankston on December 19, 2007. This particular story is very hard for me to write about. I gave birth to my son on December 18, 2007, just a day before Jenny and Graham lost their lives. Even in the face of this tragedy that would cause most to buckle and falter, Bob and family have instead garnered strength and power. They have turned their loss into a powerful outreach program which has garnered national recognition. Jennyslight.org is a powerful and energetic new force within the Postpartum Advocacy landscape, one we hope will continue for a very long time. While we are saddened for their loss, we are thankful for their dedication and passion to families struggling with Postpartum Mood Disorders. Get to know Bob Gibbs in his own words by clicking here.

cheryljazzar1Meet Cheryl Jazzar. She experienced a psychotic break after the birth of her first child and was subsequently hospitalized. The break destroyed her marriage and she lost her child as a result. Five years later found her remarried with another child on the way. She experienced a depression a few months after birth. Using self-care, she rebounded quickly and knew she had something to share. Cheryl began to educate herself regarding alternative and complementary methods of treatments available to mothers during the perinatal period. She quickly became quite knowledgeable regarding non-traditional methods of treatment with a strong desire to share this with other mothers. Cheryl is a passionately dedicated volunteer for PSI and also blogs at Wellpostpartum regarding alternative and compassionate care. You can read Chery’s interview here.

danscottNow I’d like to provide a different point of view. A mom is not the only one affected by a Postpartum Mood Disorder. Her husband is also affected. Meet Dan Scott, a father who has stood by his wife as she struggled three times with a Postpartum Mood Disorder. Each time was a unique experience, one that tested their marriage and their faith. Dan states that the second time around was the worst – there are moments they don’t even remember because the circumstances were so dark. As a result of his journey, he finds himself more sensitive towards new mothers. He recognizes the hard times the birth of a child can bring. He advocates for new fathers to step up and take their vow of “for better or for worse” seriously. Dan believes he is a better man for having been through this with his wife. Want to read more about Dan’s story in his words? Click here.

Last but not least, I’d really like to introduce you to a mom named Jamie. She’s a mother to one daughter and is due to give birth in June. Is she scared of experiencing Postpartum Depression again? Absolutely. Has she had issues with mood already during pregnancy? Yeap. But she is bravely speaking up about her experience and is being very pro-active this time around. Her first episode found her not wanting to bond with her child. Instead of being the blissful new mom society tells we should be, Jamie cried, lashed out, and wanted to pack her bags to run away. She finally sought help after her father questioned her constant negativity. Jamie has one piece of advice for new moms. Get help – the sooner the better. Want to read more about Jamie’s story in her own words? Click here.

Now that you’ve had a chance to read some of the true stories of survival, I hope you’re picking up your phone and calling the H.E.L.P. Committee.(If the line is busy, call the next member but keep trying until you’ve spoken with every office!)

Have you emailed Susan Stone yet with permission to be added to a list of supporters? If not, email her with your name, state, and any credentials or organizational affiliations at susanstonelcsw@aol.com right now! (Seriously – you’re already on your computer, right? It takes five seconds!)

I hope you’re blogging to raise awareness and support for The Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHER’S Act. Got a twitter account? Raise your voice there too. Share this on Facebook! DIGG it! Don’t let these voices go to waste. Raise yours with them.

Remember in the children’s book, Horton Hears a Who, it wasn’t until the tiniest Who raised his voice that the jungle animals finally believed in the existence of the Whos. We need ALL of your voices. Now.

Blog Week for Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHER’S Act starts at midnight!

candle-wicks1Are you excited?

I am!

Starting tonight at midnight, you’ll be able to get the low-down on all the details of this week’s blog campaign to show support for the Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHER’S Act.

(By the way, there’s an interview with Mary Jo Codey on the way too!)

There will be blogging, twittering, facebooking, myspacing, DIGGing, and whatever other form of social media you’re into.

There will be calling.

There will be sharing, paying it forward, and strength in numbers as those of us dedicated to supporting new moms in the perinatal period raise our voices in support of this important legislation.

Even if you don’t do blogging or social media, call the H.E.L.P. Committee members to let them know you support this legislation. There will be a call script provided at midnight as well. And if you’re in the mood, there will also be a suggested letter to the editor for you to send into your local papers.

Let’s make this one for the record books, folks!

MOTHER’S Act Petition Signing Party

Join me on Facebook next Friday for the following event!

Looking forward to seeing you there!

(Click on the snazzy graphic below to RSVP and get more info! Oh, and feel free to grab snazzy graphic and use to promote the event at your site too!)

mothers-act-signing-party1


The MOTHER’S Act has been through mark-up and will go to vote this month in the US House. Won’t you sign the petition in support of this valuable legislation?

On Friday, March 20th, we’re asking you to sign the petition as well as share this event on your profile, encouraging those you know to sign the petition!

***Note*** Even if you’ve already signed the petition, we encourage you to sign up to attend and ask that you share the event on your profile to encourage others to sign the petition as well! And we thank you for already signing! *****

If you’re curious about the full text of the legislation, it can be found here: http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h20/text

To read immediate Past President of PSI, Susan Dowd-Stone’s statement about this advocacy effort, click here: http://unexpectedblessing.wordpress.com/2009/03/09/sign-the-petition-in-support-of-the-melanie-blocker-stokes-mothers-act/

Thank you for your support and compassion for those who struggle daily with a Postpartum Mood Disorder!