Post Partum Depression: The denied mental health issue

ppd

Photo Courtesy of thefeministwire.com

Ebony Wilkerson’s story or rather the many responses to her actions hit a nerve and was the reason behind a mini rant on twitter.

You see, I have seen post partum psychosis depression up close and in person. In case you did not know, it is not pretty.   I was 12 years old and that person was my mother. She had just had her sixth child nine months ago. It was a scene from a horror story. I will never forget what it looked or smelled like. I worry that I too may suffer from a similar fate. That is why I speak-out and for those women who do not have a voice to speak for themselves. Post partum depression is real. It is not made up any more than PMS is made up.

Just what is post partum depression? According to PubMed Health post partum depression is defined as, “Moderate to severe depression in a woman after she has given birth. It may occur soon after delivery or up to a year later. Most of the time, it occurs within the first 3 months after delivery.” Like any other medical condition, if post partum depression is left untreated it  can last for months or years. That’s where stories like Ebony’ s come in at. From all accounts, it seems in my opinion that Ebony actually suffered from post partum psychosis, which is far more severe than post partum depression.  According to WebMD post partum psychosis, “Is a rare, severe, and dangerous form of postpartum depression that can suddenly occur within the first 3 weeks following childbirth. A woman who has postpartum psychosis may feel detached from her baby and other people. Or she may have hallucinations involving smell, touch, sight, or hearing. She may have thoughts not based in reality (delusions), display bizarre behavior, or have urges to kill herself and her child or children.”

There is no question that Ebony needs help. There is no question that, her children need to be removed from her care. There is a question of whether she should be treated like a common criminal. While there are plenty of cases  of women killing their children and not being mentally ill, that a mental illness does exist should be taken into account. Most like to use the argument that pedophilia is a mental disorder too. What many fail to realize is that, in order to be diagnosed with a paraphilic diagnosis one must meet certain criteria. As per the DSM-V the criteria is:

  • feel personal distress about their interest, not merely distress resulting from society’s disapproval;

or

  •  have a sexual desire or behavior that involves another person’s psychological distress, injury, or death, or a desire for sexual behaviors involving unwilling persons or persons unable to give legal consent.

Many do not know this but, in truth most people who have  atypical sexual interests do not have a mental disorder. Rather, it is a perverse and willing choice that engage in such acts. To compare these people to women who genuinely have a psychiatric issue is inhumane.

While my mother did not hurt her children, she hurt herself. Every time I smell a certain smell, I have flashbacks to when she hurt herself. I will never forget that lost look in her eyes. I pray that one day I too don’t walk around with that same lost look. Like so many other mental health issues, incarceration is not the answer. Rather, it is the problem. As filled as prisons are today, there is no way that the mentally ill will get the care that they really need. Rather, the deplorable conditions only make the conditions worse. No one wants to have cancer. To think that someone would want to be mentally ill is ignorant beyond words.

Let us not judge or we shall be judged. If indeed Ebony is not ill then I say, carry out punishment to the fullest extent of the law. However, let us make sure that’s the case. Shame on those who have disorders such a bipolar or schizophrenia and because of medication are functional judging this woman. Your road is not the same as hers. Shame on society for not accepting that those mental disorders that only affect women real and not some made-up figment of our imagination. Shame on government for not doing more. Congrats to the person who decided that they should do more and created this White House Petition. Hopefully, you will do as I did and sign. We owe it to ourselves as women to protect ourselves before the right is taken from us.

If you you or someone you know is suffering from post partum depression/psychosis please advocate for treatment and contact these sources if you need help:

Words of Wisdom:

In health,

Maliyka

Why I won’t sign: Kaitlyn Hunt

kateFor several years, I have been a member of change.org, signing petitions. Some of the petitions have been questionable and did not deserve my support. However, I just pressed skip and kept it moving. Recently, a petition popped up and after reading it I had to shake my head.

Here is the thing, when it comes to homosexual relations, I really do not care. At this stage in my life, I feel that if you are happy with your lifestyles/choices/orientation so be it. My name is Maliyka A.A. Muhammad and my main concern is me. You want to get married….knock yourself out. I hear marriage is tiresome and puts you in a whole other tax bracket with Uncle Sam plus divorce rates are high for heterosexual couples. But hey, if that is what you want who am I to stand in your way. This society has bigger issues to deal with like stopping cancer in its tracks. Eliminating HIV/AIDS infections. Combatting childhood obesity. You know real superman issues. Determining who should or should not get married really doesn’t fall under that category. As my sister once said to me and I ran with it, “If you like it…I love it.” I am cool with a lot of people who choose to sleep with someone I wouldn’t that goes for some of the opposite sex too. Some of these people are as close to me as my blood sisters. I have met their significant others. It is all love and then some.

Moving on to Kaitlyn Hunt. You can view the petition here or not. The short version is that Kate is a lesbian who recently turned 18. Her girlfriend is only 15 years of age. As soon as she turned 18, the girlfriends parents went and pressed charges claiming that Kat turned the gay. Kate has been charged with “lewd and lascivious battery on a child 12–16 years of age.” Now do I think that the parents are…WACK…LAME…CORNY…A CORNBALL…basically a non-factor…yep sure do. Do I think that Assistant State Attorney is perpetuating a parents disgust at their child’s lifestyle…absolutely. However, that does not take away from the fact that Kate committed a crime. The fact remains that the girlfriend, is not of the legal age consent. Regardless of how unrealistic it is, Kate was supposed to break it off with her girlfriend the minute that she turned 18. And in truth, her parents should have been parents instead of her friend and warned her of the potential consequences. If they did well than as my grandmother would say, “A hard head make a sore behind.” If they did not…shame one them. As a parent sometimes you end up being the bad guy…deal with it. I know I appreciate my mother for all of her bad guy moments. It was one of her bad guy moments. Go figure him and her evenetually broke-up for other reasons thank GOD.

While I am in favor of equality and I do agree with Bridget Crawford’s perspective, which can be read here , the fact remains that Kate did in fact commit a crime. Two wrongs do not make a right. 18 year old boys who have a 15 year old girlfriend should be charged and in many cases they are especially if the girl is white and the boyfriend is black and live in some backwater town.

I was once a young girl, and I had a boyfriend who definitely belonged under the jail given our age difference. Things like statutory rape were not in our vocabulary. At least not in mine. As an adult, I think about how selfish that decision was and am grateful that no one ever got arrested on my behalf. Funny thing is that, in my younger brother’s case my mother let his little girlfriend know that he could indeed go to jail for dating him. Although, he was mad at me I had to let him know that she was correct.

As the battle for equality comes to head with same-sex marriage being legalized in so many states real conversatiion need to be had. No means no even if she is a girl/boy just like you. The legal age of consent in almost all states is 17. If you are older than 17 and they are not, it is statutory rape. Domestic violence is wrong regardless of who are sleeping with. Same-sex relationship do not mean that a relationship is going to be easy. Even these relationships have their ups and down. Unfortunately, even in love there are consequences. This happens to be one of those Romeo & Juliet ones. I wish Kate luck in her legal battle. While I do believe that the punishment is indeed extreme and prejudicial, the fact remains that she was wrong. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse.

Words of Wisdom: “I believe that we are solely responsible for our choices, and we have to accept the consequences of every deed, word, and thought throughout our lifetime” ~Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

In health,
Maliyka