A bejeweled box left behind by an ungrateful and anxiety ridden house guest.
Dating back to the 18th century, this box is pure silver. At first, the silver had a horrible tint to it and was covered by a dark grunge. The jewels, diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, and rubies, all lay hidden beneath the same coating of scum. A quick swipe with silver cleaner shined the box right up. So much so that I felt comfortable opening the box.
Opening the box is quite simple. All you have to do is drop it and it pops open. Closing it, however, is a whole different story. In order to close the box, you have to complete a puzzle on each of the four sides and then finally complete a rather complicated puzzle in order to seal the box tight. It can also be costly because if one of the puzzles won’t close, you have to purchase an entirely new box along with a cheat set of keys. Even then you’re not guaranteed to be able to close the box.
I finally opened the box.
This box appears to be completely empty.
So why the hell am I here?
Rest assured this bedazzled box was once filled with horrid things like beating yourself up for your chosen type of motherhood, your decision to have children, your need for bonding in your relationship. Also in this box is a black veil. Even when you wear it out in public, you’re painfully aware of every stare, every whispered word, every single second of ever single day. Every step in front of others is excruciating. Why not just brand you with the letters P P D and get it over with??
If you manage to get the box closed without it affecting you, chances are you may drop it again. When you do, make sure you have others to help you close the frustrating little bastard.
For the bargain price of just $0.50, this box can be yours. I make no guarantees nor promises regarding the satisfaction or functionability of this box. No instructions will be sold with this box as no instructions came with this box. I’ll be available for support or chat if you need it after purchasing the box. No one should own this box alone.
Please do not purchase for children, infants, elderly people, new moms and husbands. Also do not purchase for gifts. In fact, unless you really reallllly don’t like them, and even then, don’t purchase this. I know, I know, what kind of salesman tells someone NOT to buy something? This one. This box is one twisted puppy.
To be purchased for your own personal use only, either as display or to destroy. We recommend burial instead of burning. Say prayers over this box before you get up .
Must sell QUICKLY. As in yesterday.
It is not okay to contact poster about any other issue here. I’ll only be talking about this evil, horrible trinket in hand.
Purchase with caution.
All day today, I stared at the green landscape surrounding my home. The trees, the rolling hills, the asphalt. I listened to the sounds of the day pass by – the hum of traffic, the murmur of voices as people greeted each other in the halls at church.
Then we came home. We closed the door to the outside world and hunkered down in order to stay safe from the incoming snow storm.
In so many ways this is just like an episode of Postpartum.
If only we could see it coming and hunker down to stay safe and healthy.
If only the outside world wouldn’t throw a blanket over the mess of it all.
If only we wouldn’t forget what real life looks like after it has been covered up.
If only we could remember that the world is beautiful even if it’s not covered with a white blanket.
If only we didn’t let that white blanket weigh us down.
If only we didn’t let that white blanket break us.
If only we could shake it off, free ourselves from the falling chaos.
But sometimes we must break.
Sometimes we need to be covered up.
Sometimes we need to rest.
Sometimes in order to grow strong, we too, must break.
Only then will we recognize the strength which lies deep within us as we slowly wake up.
Only then will we be able to finally shake that frozen white blanket from our hearts and minds.
Then…. we will be free.
For those of you who regularly participate in #PPDChat at Twitter, there is the possibility of a technical difficulty with the 1pm chat today.
I’ve already seen my buddy Mr. Fail Whale (ie, the Whale that shows up when Twitter is Over Capacity) twice this morning. According to Twitter, “We’re seeing periodic high rates of errors on Twitter.”
As of right now, chat is scheduled as planned at 1pm. IF for some reason, Twitter goes down and we are unable to chat, please email me at ppdacceptance(@)gmail.com for an alternative chat site. And of course, there is chat again tonight at 830p EST. Hopefully Twitter will no longer be seeing high error rates this evening.
It’s a new socially driven website for people with or an interest in mental illness.
I’m a member (you can find me under Lauren Hale). Still nudging around the site and learning the ropes, what with the way life’s got me running lately – sick kids, kids, kids, and well, in swooped summer break. ACK!
According to a recent press release,
“Mental Health Social allows users to create profiles where they can choose to share information about themselves, post videos, upload audio or photographs, and offer or receive help from like-minded members of the community. “MentalHealthSocial.com was created with the mental health community in mind,” said Wood. “Currently no other web site caters to that community in the same way as Mental Health Social.” The company is about more than connecting people though. MentalHealthSocial.com is also about raising awareness. Mental Health Social will actively work to raise money for mental health related non-profit organizations to bring awareness, treatment options and research to the very community it serves.”
How can you NOT love a website doing all that?
Plus, the founder, Colin Spencer Wood, has Bipolar disorder so he GETS what it’s like to struggle.
So go check it out. And friend me.
There’s not much there regarding Postpartum Mood Disorders yet. Care to start something with me? Let’s hook up!
I don’t usually post again on Tuesdays. But this is related. And I didn’t want to just add it into the regular post in case some of you have already read it and moved on with your day.
About 30 minutes ago, I got asked to do a button for the Just Talkin’ Tuesday feature by @momgosomething at Twitter. She’s been answering the posts at her own blog the past few weeks. I think it’s a great thing she’s sharing my questions with her readers as well. (I’m sure she’s not expecting a button so quickly though!)
So now, if you feel the urge to answer the questions on your own blog, there will be a button included with every Tuesday post for you to grab and slap up at your place. All I ask is that you link it back here to the Just Talkin Tuesday post or to the main URL.
Enjoy and let’s get Just Talkin’ Tuesday on the road!
Lately, I’ve had this question thrown my way by more than just a few of you.
It’s a tough question to answer.
There is no defined recovery time we can hand out. It’s not like going to a deli, pulling a number, having your number called and then walking out the door into the wild blue yonder with your neatly wrapped item. Ok, so maybe it’s kind of like that. If it’s a busy deli and the wait is long. And then they’re out of the meat you need. And then you have to start the process all over again somewhere else or settle for something like ham when you really wanted corned beef pastrami.
Bottom line though – recovery is not something your local deli guy will wrap up neatly in butcher paper and tie off with a pretty bow.
Recovery is messy. It can take a long time. It can go quickly. It can involve lots of starts, stops, and side trips.
And in the end, you may be recovered but there will always be the organic memory of the experience of your Postpartum Mood Disorder to jump out at you and mess with you.
So how the heck do I know if I can consider myself recovered from my PMD?
Here are my three humble signs of recovery (always check with your caregiver/therapist and don’t every stop treatment cold turkey!)
1) You have more good days than bad days.
2) You are able to laugh at things.
3) Your world has returned to vibrant colors instead of the dimmed down twilight you’ve been living in for the last several nights.
I remember the day I saw that brighter world. I was on my way home from my therapy appointment. It had rained that morning so everything had been rinsed clean. The sun shone down and the trees burst forth with new growth as they strained for freedom at the birth of spring. As I breathed in the clean scent of rain and honeysuckle, my heart soared. The trees were greener, the sky was bluer, everything sparkled. And not just because of the rain.
Just a few weeks later I discovered I was indeed pregnant with our third child. Scared to death, I worried all my progress would be all for naught. But it was not. I continued to move forward. Not because I had to but because it was what I wanted. Once I got past the shock of our unexpected pregnancy, I focused all my energy on preparing for postpartum support instead of getting ready for baby. It was time well-spent. I educated those around me, created a postpartum plan, and thankfully I thrived. Not all mothers are this fortunate though.
Every mother has a different story, different doctors, and different reasons for struggling.
What helped you recover and if you’re fully recovered, how long did it take you to recover? What advice would you give to a still struggling mother?
One of my favorite songs when I was struggling was “Breathe” by Anna Nalick.My favorite lines?
There’s a light at each end of this tunnel, you shout
But you’re just as far in as you’ll ever be out.
To me, it means keep on going forward. Because it’s FORWARD motion that’s so very healing.
Let’s get to just talkin’!
A close friend of mine, Marcie Ramirez, a Co-Coordinator with Postpartum Support International in Tennessee, sent me the following piece last night. She wrote it to process her feelings after watching Joseph’s very poignant video about his daughter, Crystal. Marcie used to live in San Diego and was newly recovered from her own journey through postpartum when Crystal’s tragedy occurred. I immediately asked if I could post it as it was beyond fabulous. Sheer power and emotion are captured so magnificently here – I couldn’t let it just sit in my inbox. With no further fuss, here is the piece I received:
Today I was watching a montage that my friend had posted on her blog. I had read the article which had the basic nuts and bolts…a story of yet another mom who didn’t survive the first year of her child’s life. A mom, who just like me felt like her family would be better off without her and for whatever reason didn’t feel like she could ask for help.
As I watched the video I not only read the words but I noticed familiarities in the pictures. It was a landscape common to San Diego, my home until not quite two years ago, where I gave birth to both my children and where I went through the most terrifying experience of my life. I watched and my suspicions of this woman being from my home town grew when I saw the name of the cemetery. My heart sank. I clicked on a link in the blog that took me to the man’s original story and it turned out that he owns a restaurant my husband and I have been to on many occasions. It was also the restaurant my family and I would go to every Christmas when we would look at the lights on Candy Cane Lane and Christmas Circle. La Bella’s was one of the few perfect memories of my childhood.
As suspicion turned into reality I realized that I went through my Postpartum hell at the same time she was pregnant and when I was really starting to see a light at the end of my tunnel she saw nothing but darkness. What if our paths had crossed? What if I had been able to say something to her that would have allowed her the freedom to ask for help? I never asked for help. To this day I am still confident that if I hadn’t have been screened that I would be dead.
San Diego is on the forefront of Postpartum Mood Disorders. I say this because I know first hand how incredible my access to maternal mental health services was. I was screened through my pregnancy, before leaving the hospital and again at my six week postpartum checkup. When I didn’t pass my screening there was a therapist onsite who saw me before I went home. I saw posters, I had access to a psychiatrist who specialized in maternal mental health. I wanted to kill myself many times but somehow was able to hold on because I knew if I could just make it to my next appointment that I would have a soft place to fall. I spent close to two months in a mental hospital when I just couldn’t handle it anymore…but I survived and am thriving. I am not only a better mom but a better and more empathetic person than I ever thought possible.
Still, when I read the words of this courageous father I was left wondering why she didn’t get the same help? Was it because she wasn’t screened? Was it because she developed the PPD after her last screening? I don’t know and will never know. What I do know, though is that just as we call our medical professionals to screen new moms we have a responsibility to do our own screening. We don’t necessarily have to whip out the Edinburgh every week but we can sincerely ask a new mom how she is REALLY doing. We can learn the signs of PPD and ways that we can help minimize the stress on new moms. We can offer to bring lunch over and then have a real heart to heart conversation. We can talk about our own experiences so that the one in seven who are suffering realize that they are not alone. We can offer to take them to their appointment or watch the baby so they can take an uninterrupted nap. There are so many things we who have been there can do to make a difference.
Ironically maybe an hour after I read the articles and watched the heart wrenching video, I was at a restaurant with my two boys who are now seven and three. For some reason my oldest son asked if we could sit at a particular table in a section we had never sat in before. At the same time a family sat down at the next table. Mom, dad and a beautiful little girl who was maybe a year old. The little girl, however screamed over and over and over…and every time she screamed I saw the life draining from her mother’s face. The mom would bury her head in her hands as if trying to escape.
I was instantly back into my first year postpartum. I could see, smell, taste and hear the very things that were going on when I was in that place. My heart sank and I just wanted to walk over, hug her and tell her that she would be able to get through this. Normally when it’s just a mom and baby I can easily strike up a conversation and casually mention that I had PPD. This was different, though because dad was there. He seemed like a wonderful and supportive father from what I could tell from my few minutes watching the family. He was trying to take over with the daughter so mom could eat in peace. Eventually he got up to get a drink and I was able to speak briefly with the mom. I gave her my card which had my contact info for the work I do with Postpartum Support International.
Hopefully this mom was just having a bad day. But what if she wasn’t? What if she felt completely hopeless and was ready to escape by any means necessary? We don’t know. That is why it is so important for each and every one of us to love new moms and be there for them. Sometimes a kind word can be the beginning of changing someone’s forever.