Tag Archives: postpartum depression

Farewell, #PPDChat

It’s been a long haul.

It’s saved lives.

It’s empowered so many.

Educated even more.

Brought women together who felt so alone and lost. Created lasting friendships.

In short, it’s been amazing.

But.

Like all good things, it too, must come to an end.

There’s been a lull. And then work got crazy. So I haven’t run #PPDChat for quite some time now. And no one has said a thing. It’s time.

With Twitter on the downward spiral as well, it is definitely time.

There will be no more live #PPDChat sessions. We will keep the group on FB going. But, alas, there will be no more active weekly chats. I simply can’t keep up with it along with my current workload. It’s just not feasible. Anyone who knows me knows that I am massively true to walking the path I preach. Self-care is of the utmost importance to me and quite frankly, right now, I need all the self-care I can garner.

So adieu, to all those who have helped to create #PPDChat into what it is today. It is with a very heavy heart that I write this post as this, this outreach, has been my lifeblood for quite some time now. But like a whisper on the wind, it has faded, and the time has come.

I will always be here, always available. Always approachable. And always, always, full of love for those who are struggling to find answers and light in the dark.

#PPDChat 03.28.16: Dance Party!

Dance Party! Join us to share your favorite groovy happy tunes! PARTY PEEEEOOOPPPPLLLEEEE!!!!

You do NOT want to miss tonight’s #PPDChat because we are gonna be grooving!

Tonight, we will be collectively putting together a groovy playlist on Spotify just for #PPDChat! Have songs that get your heartbeat going? Suggest it. One that brings you up out of a funk? Share it. One that you just like to dance to in your kitchen while no one watches? ABSOLUTELY tell us ALL ABOUT IT.

Oh? And if you have a Spotify account? The playlist is collaborative so you can add tunes beyond tonight!

We’re gonna party like it’s 1999 tonight. Why? Because music moves mood. Always has. We will not only be creating the playlist, but exploring the science behind how music moves mood. Can’t WAIT to see you there!

Tonight, 9pm ET. Be there or be square!

#PPDChat 03.14.16: Fighting the Rage Monster

Fighting the Rage Monster, #PPDChat Topic 3-14-16. 830pm on TwitterRage.

It happens to the best of us. It is also one of the symptoms of a Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorder which finds many moms and surprises them. The intensity. The depth. The sudden onset, as if it is a cat waiting around a corner to pounce at any moment.

Tonight’s chat will focus specifically on the issue of rage. How to recognize it as a symptom, what you can do to handle it, and how to educate those around you about this symptom which isn’t discussed nearly enough.

Whenever postpartum rage is discussed within our community, there is typically an overwhelming response. This response is a predictable “Me too!” or “I had NO idea the anger I experienced was a symptom of depression!” This is why it is important to discuss.

For me, rage attacked often. I found myself snapping for no reason at everyone around me – at my kids, my partner, the dogs…not even knowing why I was suddenly filled with this unstoppable flow of red hot rage. It went as quickly as it arrived most times. Sometimes, it hung around for a bit and faded slowly like a sunset. But whenever it was around, I found myself exhausted by its very presence. I wouldn’t say I tolerated it as much as I endured it. Slowly, I learned how to push it away as soon as it popped so much as a toe through the door to my brain but it took quite a bit for me to get to that point.

I sincerely hope you will join us tonight for this important discussion. I look forward to shining a bright light on the symptom that is rage and hearing how everyone approaches it and sends it on its merry way. See you this evening at 830pm ET, y’all!

#PPDChat 01.04.16: Just The Facts – 8pm ET!

ppdchat 01-04-16 8pm ET Just The Facts http://twubs.com/ppdchatNew year, new time, back to just the facts.

#PPDChat moves to 8pm ET for 2016. 9pm is just a smidge too late for everyone, I think. Attendance really dropped off since changing the time so we’re going to try something new for this year.

Tonight, we’re doing what I like to call our “primer” chat – addressing signs and symptoms of Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders. Feel free to join us and hang out to learn all about what to look for not only in yourself but in those around you as well.

Hope to see you there!

Why We Need to Shout

medic-708125_640When I go to the gym to hit the pool (which hasn’t been as often as it needs to be at all lately), there is a gigantic sign explaining CPR methods for children and adults on the wall of the pool room.

Defibrillators in schools and malls. Emergency phones on the highway every few miles. Emergency numbers on signs everywhere for you to contact the police if anything goes wrong. Call. Text. Instructions on where to go and what to do if a fire breaks out. Fire extinguishers.

But.

No signs explaining what to do if someone is suicidal.

No numbers of hotlines or therapists or psychiatrists plastered in public places commanding us to call them for emergencies.

No emergency break glass here in case of mental health crisis.

These things – they are not part of our society. They are there, lurking, in the background, but they are not mandated to be part of our everyday scenery. Things we whisper about to other people when we need them because heaven forbid we talk about them out loud.

Breathing – that’s important. Of course it is, you say, because without breath, you die.

BUT.

Without life, you die.

And when things get really really really bad because of our mental health and we feel all alone? We die inside. For us, we have no life and for some of us, death is the ONLY WAY OUT.

We don’t reach out because it’s difficult. We stay silent because THE WORLD TELLS US TO. It tells us that we are selfish. That we are capable of snapping out of it. That we should be happy and therefore we should just BE HAPPY DAMMIT and stop being depressed because it’s a fucking luxury. As if being depressed is something I’d rather be doing than oh, I don’t know, anything else?

What if.

What if, right NEXT TO THE SIGNS EXPLAINING CPR, there were signs explaining MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID? WHAT IF right under the #77 to reach the state police, there was a shorthand number to text if we were feeling vulnerable emotionally and struggling with a severe mental health episode?

WHAT IF WE MADE MENTAL HEALTH JUST AS NORMAL AS PHYSICAL HEALTH?

I’m tired of the bullshit. I’m tired of the stigma. I’m TIRED OF LOSING MOTHERS BECAUSE NO ONE WANTS TO TALK ABOUT IT OR ASSOCIATE WITH MOMS WHO AREN’T HAPPY.

WE can do better.

We NEED TO DO BETTER.

We can’t do it alone. We shouldn’t do it alone. We are raising up. We are casting a wider net. It’s still not where it needs to be – and we need your help. We need those who don’t battle our demons to speak up. To not let us flounder. To check on us when we begin to creep back under the covers.

It’s okay to not be okay but it’s not okay to not be okay alone. Reach out. Even if it’s just to a loved one or a trusted friend. YOU are worth it. We are ALL worth it.

Things you can do every day to help combat the stigma of living with mental illness:

Speak up. Share your story. Be honest about how you are feeling and the challenges you face.

Ask businesses you frequent if you can share promotional/supportive materials from organizations such as Postpartum Progress, Postpartum Support International, and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Make mental health support accessible.

Share posts from various organizations battling for increased mental health awareness via social media. I am constantly sharing Lifeline’s posts on both FB and Twitter. Why? Because someday, it may just save a life. Suicide is not a bad word – it’s an emergency.

Get trained in Mental Health First Aid. Heck, make a day of it with friends. The more you know…. (Find a class here)

Bottom line – live your life in a mindful way of others and their feelings. Of course, keep your own in check as well, but you never know just how far a smile at a stranger might go one day.

In the meantime, visit MHA’s Screening site. Share the graphic below. Let people know they’re not alone.

Depression Screen pic

#PPDChat 11.16.15: Holiday Survival

PPDChat Holiday SurvivalThe holidays. A time of year when we all celebrate our various faiths. They seem to blend together faster and faster these days, don’t they? Stores putting out Christmas decorations before we have even reached the end of October, seemingly skipping both Halloween and Thanksgiving. What ever happened to one holiday at a time?

Everyone counting down the weekends, the ensuing panic about gift shopping (thank goodness for Amazon, am I right?), and then the logistics of who is doing what where.

It’s enough to exhaust anyone.

The holidays are when our boundaries are truly tested. When our mental health is stretched to the limit for the sake of spending time with family and loved ones because it is expected. But what if you need time to recharge? What if being alone with your couch and Netflix is what heals you? How do you fit in time for yourself if you are dashing to and fro?

Tonight, we will explore how to fit in self-care during the holidays. We’ll discuss strategies to make that get together with your annoying relatives a little bit more manageable. And we’ll also chat about how to keep them from playing hot potato with a newborn little one (because yeah, everyone wants to hold the baby!).

Join us at 9pm ET for a chat that will help you survive the holidays without losing your sanity.

See you then!

{background photo sourced here}

Thoughts on Warrior Mom Con

This time last Friday, I had just rolled into Boston via Amtrak. I thought I would have to wait until I got into Boston to find other Warrior Mamas but no.. there was one right there on my train. During a stop, she meandered up from her seat and sat with me for the remainder of the ride. Despite never having met in person before, we sat there and chatted as if we were the oldest of friends as she worked on a blog post and I finished knotting, bagging, and labeling the huglets for the conference. It was fantastic.

Then, we got to Boston, dropped our luggage off at our respective hotels, and headed to lunch for the early bird arrivals. Again, all people we had never met in person before, but once we were together, it was like sitting with old friends.

Shared experiences, man, they’ll do that to you.

The entire weekend was full of love. Hugs. People you didn’t have to explain yourself to at all because you KNEW they got where you had been, where you were going, and why. Because they too, had been on similar roads.

Unfortunately, I missed Saturday afternoon sessions because my body crapped out on me at lunch, forcing me into a much needed nap back at my hotel before my live #PPDChat session at 4pm. I didn’t feel guilty about it, however, because as anyone who is familiar with my work knows, I emphasize self-care. Walking my talk is extremely important to me. I will not ever be the kind to tell someone “Do as I say, not as I do.” Nope. Not me.

Our #PPDChat session was intimate, but awesome. We closed with a fantastic meditation suggested by one of the attendees – perhaps you’ve heard of it: (language warning, because obviously)

Despite missing the afternoon sessions, I got so much from the conference. Surrounded by a mass of women who cared so much about their journeys and about the journeys of those around them was sheer magic.

There’s so much more I could write – and will write – but for now, I need to go sit down and continue recovering from the insane pace of my life over the past two weeks.

Suffice it to say that I am not a conference person, primarily because I’m an introvert and travel is draining. But this one? This is one conference I want to have a permanent spot at because it was so very fulfilling.

#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.

#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 08.18.14: Self-Care – Lists of Three

ppdchat-08-11-14

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: