Tag Archives: Twitter Chat

#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!

Warmest,

Lauren

Follow along with tonight’s chat right here:

#PPDChat 03.02.15: Space to Heal

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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 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 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:

#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

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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:

#PPDChat Topic 08.04.14: Getting Pro-active: Facing Pregnancy after a Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorder

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Along with countless women, I have been in this boat. It’s an intimidating boat, let me tell you what. But, with some preparation, things don’t have to be quite that scary.

My first experience with a PMAD was frightening. I had no idea what was happening in my head in addition to trying to get myself adjusted to motherhood for the first time around. Talk about one helluva screwball. Thanks, life.

I survived. My daughter survived. Did we come out unscathed? No. But I definitely came out wiser. I view my first brush with PP OCD as one heck of a learning curve which prepared me for the second time I found myself in an even deeper valley than the first.

Halle Berry said it best on Oprah: “Once you’ve been through depression, it gets easier to get out because you have a road map.” Each episode, while it may have different nuances and causes, is essentially the same basic experience deep down. You get used to battling your way out of it and yes, you absolutely have a road map. You learn to recognize the curves and know how to adjust for them well before they even appear on your horizon.

Just as with a road trip, preparation is key. While even the best preparation in the world does not guarantee that a PMAD will stay at bay, it does empower you and enables you to seek help sooner rather than later.

I sincerely hope you’ll join us tonight to discuss the importance of preparing yourself and your loved ones for the possibility of another bout of a PMAD after the birth of a sibling. I have experienced both a planned and an unplanned pregnancy after my episodes so there will be lots of insight into both situations, including a very honest discussion about depression and other mental health issues during pregnancy.

Tonight’s chat is an important one. Don’t miss it. See you on Twitter at 830pm ET!

#PPDChat Topic 07.14.14: Chatting with @addyeB for Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

ppdchat-07-14-14This evening’s #PPDChat will focus on women of colour and mental health.

Why does this matter?

A quick visit to the Health & Human Services Department’s Minority Mental Health Statistics page for African Americans drives home some scary points right away:

  • Poverty level affects mental health status. African Americans living below the poverty level, as compared to those over twice the poverty level, are 3 times more likely to report psychological distress.
  • African Americans are 20% more likely to report having serious psychological distress than Non-Hispanic Whites.
  • Non-Hispanic Whites are more than twice as likely to receive antidepressant prescription treatments as are Non-Hispanic Blacks.
  • The death rate from suicide for African American men was almost four times that for African American women, in 2009.
  • However, the suicide rate for African Americans is 60% lower than that of the Non-Hispanic White population.
  • A report from the U.S. Surgeon General found that from 1980 – 1995, the suicide rate among African Americans ages 10 to 14 increased 233%, as compared to 120% of Non-Hispanic Whites.1

I’ll give you a few minutes to read those statistics over and realize what they mean. Then I want to highlight two specifically.

“Non-Hispanic Whites are TWICE as likely to receive a prescription for antidepressants than Non-Hispanic Blacks.”

“African Americans are 20% more likely to report having serious psychological distress than Non-Hispanic Whites.”

Taking those two statements alone, African Americans are 20% more likely to report having serious psychological distress than Non-Hispanic Whites BUT are less likely to receive a prescription which would help them deal with said psychological distress.

How is that even close to okay?

Mental health affects more than our minds, too. It affects several systems in our bodies with the stress it causes, it affects quality of life, it affects everything. Without it, we are not complete.

So join me tonight as we chat with the fantastic @addyeB, as she, in her own words, will be:

“…sharing what it’s been like for me, as a woman of color, to fight through & recover from a postpartum mood disorder. I’ll be talking about the stigma surrounding mental illness in minority communities and how it impacts awareness, education, and folks seeking treatment…barriers to treatment/access to resources in our communities…and various resources that women of color can find and use for support-especially online. I’ll also be asking other women of color to share their experiences and ask questions as well.”

It’s gonna be a good chat, y’all.

Look forward to seeing you there!

Warmest,

Lauren