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

You got the Baby Blues….

baby blues

Let’s talk pregnancy! Now before you start scratching your head and saying hey, isn’t today Mental Health Monday don’t worry. You will see the connection shortly.

So for 10-months you carried your precious bundle of joy. You had a normal, safe delivery and now have a gorgeous baby. You should be happy but you are not. Why? Don’t worry, this does not mean that you are a bad mother. What you are going through is not uncommon. It is what is known as “Baby Blues” and should subside a few weeks after birth. Some telltale signs that you may have the blues include,  anxiety, irritability, and weepiness. Think about it, your body just went through a huge ordeal. For almost a year, you were on hormone overload carrying new life and then poof, you are not carrying that load anymore. Your body is now changing and it has to play catch-up.

Medication is not necessary to treat baby blues. A little TLC should work just fine. Know that it is okay to cry. Hopefully, you have a support system. Your support system should know that you are not crazy. Their main role should be to just listen to you and encourage you.  You should also try to make time for yourself. Yes, you are a new mom and babies don’t care about your schedule. However, this is where your support system should come in. Even if it is only 20 minutes to practice some deep breathing exercises  make sure to make time for you. Not making time for yourself can cause your baby blues to postpartum depression (to be discussed at a later date).

There is no question that women rule the world. After all  we were the fair sex chosen to bring new life into the world. However, with that beautiful blessing sometimes our bodies tells us that we need a break. Baby Blues is one such way. After being pregnant and delivering a baby, you deserve a moment or two to regroup and breathe. Don’t worry you can get right back up and be woman to the rescue.

Today’s prescription: A good cry never hurt anyone. Everyone could benefit from shedding a tear or two. It is the weight of the world being released.

 

In health,

Maliyka is health