Tag Archives: Beyond Blue

#RUOK 2017: I Challenge You To Do More

Standard

R U Ok Day is upon us soon. It’s a day that has people divided. Some say it’s fantastic and saves lives, others say it reminds them just how much people really don’t care about them because they only ask on R U OK Day as if it is some glib game. I’ve asked, I’ve done my bit, I’m a good person, give me cookies.

Love it or hate it, I challenge you to open yourself up and learn more about different mental illnesses this R U OK Day. Go to the library, or a bookstore, or online, and get a memoir that focuses on a mental illness. Really engage with lived experience, find out what real people went through, what they are still going through. And then when it comes to ask R U OK you might have something more specific and meaningful to say to a friend than a simple catchphrase.

Here are some recommendations:

Madness: a Memoir by Kate Richards

This is a memoir about living with depression and acute psychosis. In the memoir Dr Kate Richards also includes notes that she wrote during episodes which puts you directly into the mind at the time of turmoil. A compelling read.

Eyes too Dry by Alice Chipkin and Jessica Tavassoli

This is an innovative, dual person, graphic-novel memoir. It explores depression and suicideal ideation. It is essentially the conversation between someone in deep depression and their friend as they try to navigate through depression together. Very unique.

Bloodletting by Victoria Leatham

Cutting has recently been much covered in the media, but often sensationally and with little understanding gained. Victoria Leatham talks about her own experiences with self harm and how it is related to anorexia and bulimia. A truly eye opening read.

An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jamison

When it comes to bipolar few people have more experience than Kar Redfield Jamison. She both treats it as a psychiatrist and faces it personally. This book looks at bipolar from both the side of the doctor / patient equation.

The Good Greek Girl by Maria Katsonis

This is the memoir of the brilliant Maria Katsonis. Havard graduate, world renowned theatre producer, obedient daughter and sometimes rebel. It explores how this incredible woman found herself in a psych ward fighting for her life.

My Life as a Side Effect by Milissa Deitz

A memoir that helps demystify depression. It gives details from Milissa Deitz’s journey, including self harm, relationship breakdowns, medication and therapy.
The Green Bell by Paula Keogh

A memoir about Paula Keogh’s own experience with schizophrenia. It has been described as a coming of age story that takes a lifetime.

Tell Me I’m Here by Anne Deverson

This has become a classic text to read on gaining some understanding around schizophrenia. It is written by Anne Deverson and explores her relationship with her son and her efforts to get him appropriate treatment and the horrors they both endured. It does not hold back on catastrophic episodes.

Under Siege by Belinda Neil

Belinda Neil is a former police negotiator and homicide detective. Under Siege explores PTSD and its effect on not only work but also on her personal life. It is a very generous sharing of living with trauma.

Me and Her: a Memoir of Madness by Karen Tyrrell

This memoir appealed to me greatly because it looks at how a teacher was brought to the brink and how she managed to come back. As a former teacher who has witnessed and been on the receiving end of workplace bullying this really hit home for me. This book is very thought provoking into our own actions and what we dismiss and turn our backs on.

Woman of Substances by Jenny Valentish

The nature of substance abuse and addiction is explored in this compelling memoir/investigation by Jenny Valentish. From underage drinking to adult use of hard drugs, Jenny Valentish uses her own story and others to explore the nature of addiction, who is most susceptible, and what both treatment and mistreatment look like. Her skills as an investigative journalism are on display in this book as she draws information from experts and sufferers alike.

Well Done Those Men by Barry Heard

Australian Vietnam Veteran Barry Heard shares his life before and after the Vietnam War. It explores how young mean were sent off to war inadequately prepared psychologicaly. It also gives an earnest and gut-wrenching look at his post-war breakdown.

Crying into the Saucepan by Nikki Hayes

The incredible memoir of someone who had battled with mental illness for most of their life only to be repeatedly ignored or misdiagnosed. Nikki Hayes had received many diagnoses such as depression, postnatal depression and anorexia before being diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. This memoir delved particularly close to my heart, because even though I don’t have BPD, I also had begged for help from various professional only to be fobbed off.

Small Acts of Disappearance by Fiona Wright

This is a collection of ten essays about Fiona Wright’s experience with an eating disorder. The essays cover different phases of her illness including life threatening anorexia nervosa. Heartbreak and humour are combined in this moving memoir from a well known and respected Australian poet.

Things That Helped by Jessica Friedmann

This is a collection of essays about Jessica Friedmann’s experience with postnatal depression after the birth of her first child. Jessica Friedmann has achieved honours in creative writing and it shows. The prose is beautiful to the point of poetic. Fans of Fiona Wright will LOVE this.

And of course there is always little old me.

Confessions of a Mad Mooer: Postnatal Depression Sucks by Robin Elizabeth

A direct, not holds barred, earnest telling of my time in a psychiatric hospital with postnatal depression four months after the birth of my second and third children, twins. It is conversational, injected with humour, and includes practical tips.

So, on this R U OK Day, the 14th of September, I challenge you to go further than repeating a preprepared question. I challenge you to use the day to truly engage. Grab a memoir, bunker down, and find out what lived experience is like without interrupting.
Add your favourite memoirs about mental illness in the comment section.

If you or someone you know has mental health concerns you can find good resources on the following sites:

Black Dog Institute http://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/

Lifeline https://www.lifeline.org.au/

Beyond Blue https://www.beyondblue.org.au

Head Space https://headspace.org.au

Relationships Australia https://www.relationships.org.au

National LGBTI Health Alliance http://lgbtihealth.org.au

The Children of Parent’s With a Mental Illness http://www.copmi.net.au

Mental Health in Multicultural Australia http://www.mhima.org.au/portals/consumer-carers

Some postnatal depression specific sites are:

Gidget Foundation http://gidgetfoundation.com.au/

PANDA http://www.panda.org.au/

PIRI http://www.piri.org.au/

Confessions of a Mad Mooer: Let’s #StartTheConversation and Have a Virtual #LunchOutLoud 

Standard
Confessions of a Mad Mooer: Let’s #StartTheConversation and Have a Virtual #LunchOutLoud 

Okay ladeez, this week is PANDA’s   Postnatal Depression Awareness Week. As most of you know postnatal depression  (PND) is a topic that is near and dear to my heart and I started blogging about it after the birth of my twins. This year PANDA is urging people to host a lunch in November and start the conversation about perinatal mental health. I’m not exactly the hostess with the mostess, so this blog entry is my version of having a “lunch out loud.” So let’s start the conversation about perinatal mental health. I’ll go first.

I don’t just have PND and dyslexia, I also have questionable fashion sense.

Hi, my name is Robin and I had PND with all three of my children. Granted child two and three are identical twins, so it was actually only two  cases, which makes it a little easier to cram it all in.

Despite the fact I had several things that made me a prime target for PND I wasn’t diagnosed until 9 months after the birth of my first child. That’s an awfully long time to go untreated. I was picked up earlier after the birth of my twins, at 4 months, but by that time I was so far gone that I was immediately admitted to a psychiatric hospital with a Mother and Baby Unit. Hardly a postive reflection on our allied health professionals ability to pick and and begin ttreatent of  PND at this time.

Some of the more obvious risk factors I had, but were ignored, were:-

– Premature birth of all three children. my first child came at 35 weeks, and the twins came at 32 weeks.

– I had been through major depressive episode twice before in my life.

– I had limited family support and no paid support to fill that gap.

These were not my only issues but they were three key concerns that health workers should have known to keep an extra careful eye on. They did not.

My daughter, although born 5 weeks early, was big enough and strong enough not to need any medical assistance by the NICU. She roomed with me from the moment she was forceped out of my cut open vagingo. We were in hospital for 1 week and then  we took her home at just 36 weeks gestation. One week before full term, four weeks before her eestimated  due date.

Awwww, she still melts my heart on sight.

She looked like an angel and I loved her completely. However, she wouldn’t sleep and  would spend two hours on the breast, feeding. She out-right refused a bottle, and no, you don’t get to just let a premi baby go hungry to force them to eat, they’re small and have enough issues without adding tough love. Any time that I would try to lie her down she would shriek in pain and vomit.

I was lucky if I got 30 minutes sleep all up in 24 hours. I was a mess. I cried, I vomited, and I began to collapse at random moments. My husband was angry that I kept calling him, begging for help. He told me that I needed to learn how to sort stuff out on my own like every other mother. He had a dreamy 1950s Hollywood fantasy and I was rudely intruding upon it.

I told the community nurses, I told my GP, I told Tresillian, I told a social worker. Their responses varied from – I couldn’t really be sleeping that little or I wouldn’t be able to smile  (I’m a smiling depressive) – to – babies like to suck, a breast is better than a dummy, so I should just STFU. Nobody was willing o help me because I loved my baby and had bonded with her. As far as they were concerned, that was the only issue.

I contemplated suicide repeatedly every day. Given that nobody could see an issue with my existence I concluded that I was the problem . I felt that I wasn’t good enough to be a mother to my angel. It never occurred to me that I might have PND because the vast amount of media coverage depicted mothers with PND as being distant and unbonded. On top of that, not one single health professional had suggested it. I didn’t fit the stereotype, I didn’t hate my baby, I hated me.

When it came time for my daughter’s 4 month injection and checkup I couldn’t get an appointment with my regular GP. The receptionist recommended nother doctor. That doctor saved my life.

The doctor immediately recognized that my daughter had reflux and referred us to a specialist. She had a particular bad case. It was a textbook case and should not have been missed. Medication was prescribed. The GP also picked up that my daughter had hip dysplasia and referred her to another specialist. Because this condition was missed by the hospital, community nurses, and my previous GP, it had progressed past the point of a harness or brace being able to fix it. Within two weeks she was in for surgery and placed in a spica cast. It was traumatic for all involved. She is five years old now, her hip is much improved but not 100%.

Spica casts are not an easy ride, it gets better with time but don’t let anyone fool you into thinking it starts out easy.

Soon after that the GP called my husband into her office and told him that I was exhausted and unless he wanted me to end up in hospital he better start helping. From that point on she became my regular GP, I dumped the old one. A good GP is worth their weight in gold. If you find one, keep them, they can truly save your life.

After my daughter was treated and my exhaustion started getting under control my GP started working more seriously with me. So at 9 months post birth I was finally diagnosed with PND, put on a mental health plan, placed in therapy, and given medication. It was a long and brutal road but I got there.

I tell more of my story and all about my time in a psychiatric hospital with my twins in my book “Confessions of a Mad Mooer” which is being released in December. I hope it helps to further breakdown stereotypes and makes PND more relatable for others. We really need to get rid of the stigma and start that conversation to gain understanding and acceptance.

Okay, that was my turn, now it’s your turn to join the conversation. I’d love to read about your experiences in the comment section. 

My book! It’s out in December. Woot!

(Note: I’m dyslexic so if you wish to comment to gloat about spelling and grammar errors… your time will be wasted. I can not simply stop being dyslexic and see and write things as you do.)
If you or anyone you know is depressed, here are some great links:

PANDA http://www.panda.org.au/

PIRI http://www.piri.org.au/

Black Dog Institute http://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/

Lifeline https://www.lifeline.org.au/

Confessions of a Mad Mooer: Postnatal Depression Awareness Week #LunchOutLoud #PNDAawarenessweek #StartTheConversation

Standard

image

Welcome to November. As those of you who follow my blog know postnatal depression is an issue very near and dear to my heart, having gone through it with both my daughter and my identical twin tornadoes. The 13th to the 19th is Postnatal Depression Awareness Week. I’ll be doing blog posts about PND everyday that week, plus have an exciting announcement and am initiating a giveaway but there are more ways that people can get involved.

PANDA are asking supporters and individuals to organise a lunch or get together where people can talk Out Loud and have honest conversations about the joys and challenges of parenthood. Everyone’s journey to parenthood is unique and different.

Five easy steps to enjoying your Lunch Out Loud

1. Set the date- Whilst Lunch Out Loud is designed to coincide with PNDA Awareness Week in November, you can hold your event at any time during the year!

2. Invite guests- Invite as many people as your venue can handle- at home, in a restaurant/café or at work.

3. Use social media- Facebook is a great way to promote and plan your Lunch Out Loud. Set up an event page, invite your guests and keep them updated in preparation for your event:
#LunchOutLoud #PNDAawarenessweek #StartTheConversation

4. Collect funds- you can accept donations, hold a raffle, charge an entry donation, hold a bake sale- the possibilities are endless!

5. Most importantly, have FUN – At PANDA we hear every day that parenthood is tough; friendship and support are a great first step in this unique journey. 

Get more info here:

http://www.panda.org.au/get-involved/panda-events/lunch-out-loud

If anyone is keen to organise a lunch in the Sydney city area but is worried that nobody will talk about their issues  please feel free to shoot me an email on robin.elizabee@gmail.com I am very open and honest about my experiences and am happy to come and talk. I already blog about it and have a book coming out in December about PND so am definitely an open book on the subject. At this stage I’m free Thursday and Friday to come help get that conversation started.

image

Let #MKR’s Dee-saster Inspire A Relationship Health Check

Standard

image

I like many Australians watched My Kitchen Rules last night. I like many Australians was left feeling sickened by the emotional abuse being depicted on the screen. For those who missed the episode,  Dee continually berated, blamed, and belittled her husband Tim. It was quite triggering and upsetting to watch given that Channel 7 had given no content warning and MKR had actually tweeted “Enjoy” about the episode. Domestic Violence is an important issue. Documentaries such as Hitting Home are important and educational viewing but they are not titillating and enjoyable. Nor are they marketed that way. Chanel 7 and MKR’s irresponsibility with their advertising and lack of content warning aside, we can still use this blatant depiction* of spousal psychological abuse to help educate and improve our own relationships. Let this episode inspire us all to give our relationships a health check-up.

Throughout the episode Dee screams at Tim. Every mistake is his fault.  Even mistakes that haven’t happened are his fault. She interrupts him part way through processes to yell at him before he’s even made a mistake. Tim is clearly so stressed that he can’t even think. And then after screaming at Tim, Dee manipulates him with tears and cries to garner sympathy. It’s extreme. Immediate help and intervention is needed. But can you honestly say you’ve never yelled. Think of the last four weeks. Have you become so frustrated with your partner or kids that you have yelled at them? Sure, they were being annoying, sure they weren’t listening, sure there were plenty of other explanations, but have you yelled?

If it was because they had headphones on and a wave of lava was about to hit them you’re probably fine.

If it was at your partner because you felt they wouldn’t listen any other way does that seem healthy to you. Isn’t that a dynamic you need to discuss? You’re leaking rage because you’re feeling stonewalled. Don’t you want help to no longer feel powerless? Don’t you want your sense of self to be strong enough to withstand any perceived slight? Don’t you want a relationship where your needs are heard without you feeling like you have to lose control?  Don’t you want mutual respect. Don’t you want to control yourself even when things don’t go your own way? Life won’t always go your way, it can’t. So it’s time to discuss this relationship dynamic with your partner. Think about getting personal therapy for your own issues and some couples counselling for the negative dynamic you are in. Relationships Australia can help. Your GP can help. Go get a Mental Health Check with your GP and get referred to a therapist. Not only does your partner not deserve to be screamed at, and if you have kids they don’t deserve to overhear it, but you also don’t deserve to feel angry and powerless all the time. You can change. No matter what your reasons, no matter what your past is, you can improve, and there is help for you. Seize it.

If it was at your children stop and think, is this the lesson I want to teach them? That might makes right. That screaming and terror is a valid resolution to a behavioural issue. Perhaps you think it is, but perhaps you feel like there is no other option and the yelling actually makes you feel stressed and awful too. There are programs such as Circle of Security and psychologists that can help you come up with alternate solutions if you don’t want screaming and violence to be your methods of discipline. There is help, sometimes it’s hard to see that things can be better in moments of high stress but they truly can be.  You can be the parent that you want to be. Speak to your GP. They can help with so much more than a sick certificate. They are there to support you. Seeking help is not a weakness it is a sign of strength and a sign of making good choices.

Parenting is tough. Relationships are tough. Just being yourself is tough. There is help out there for you to be the best possible you. Please take it. Please seize it. Don’t live with self anger and guilt any longer. Don’t leak that rage onto others. Break the cycle. You just need to take the first step and seek help.

You don’t need to be an out of control spousal beater to want to change. Anyone can want to be better.

Useful Contacts:
Relationships Australia 1300 364 277
Beyond Blue 1300 224 636
Lifeline 131 114
I would also recommend checking out the resources on The Black Dog Institute website.

image

*I’m aware editing can make things look better or worse. Let’s still use this as a learning opportunity.

Structural Workshop with the Divine Dr @KathrynHeyman – #SydneyWritersFestival

Standard

image

If loving Kathryn Heyman is wrong, then I don’t want to be right. There, I said it. Everyone else in the Structural Intensive workshop hosted by the Sydney Writers’ Festival was thinking it, I just said it. You would be hard pressed to find a more dynamic presenter, and the best bit was, that Dr Heyman had substance to back it up. I’ll be perfectly honest, I am not going to detail everything that she covered, partly because I wouldn’t do it justice, and partly because if you want to truly learn from Kathryn Heyman then you need to go and do a workshop/course/mentorship with her yourself. What you get out of a course is a deeply personal thing because we are all on different paths in this writing journey. BUT this would be the world’s shortest blog if I gave nothing away for free so here goes…

One of the first sound bites that really moved me was when Kathryn Heyman said, “Your fear drives why you write.” Now I’ve heard, “if it scares you do it,” “go where the fear is,” and all those other common things before but on that cold, wet, Friday, where I had arrived drenched, late, with a slightly broken umbrella and the memory of my kids crying ringing through my brain, this phrasing, and this women really hit home. For me, I’d got my money’s worth all in that one hit. Because, I’ll let you in on a little secret, come closer, even closer, shhhh, closer, I’m going to whisper this so listen carefully, every single novel I have written deals with exactly the same issue, no matter what the genre or target audience. My chick lit novel coming out in July has a main character who has an intelligent, and quirky main character who happens to have incredibly low self-esteem so can make some pretty dumb choices. My children’s novel coming out next year has a very confident main character but the backstory that never gets explicitly covered is that the mother is deeply scarred and traumatized individual trying to be that super mum who gets everything right. Memoir From the Madhouse (I’ve never shared an excerpt from that so will pop it at the end of this) looks at why we are who we are, how our past demons drive us. I could go on but in a nutshell, I write women’s fiction, no matter the genre, no matter the age range, and the story is always – What happened to the little girl that nobody loved. Fuck, I hope she turned out okay. Until Kathryn Heyman said, “Your fear drives what you write,” I did not realise that I had written the exact same story over and over again as I grappled with my fear. It’s kind of liberating to know that I am on a cathartic journey. It’s even more liberating to know that I love that story and I will tell it over and over again, in as many ways as I like until I am ready to put that issue to bed. Because that story needs to be told. That story needs to be told not just for me but for all those little girls. I’ll keep speaking out. I’ll keep publishing for you. I hope you will join me.

Now I think you can understand what I meant by saying that this writing gig is a deeply personal journey and you have to go sit at Dr Heyman’s feet yourself to get what you need. However, I won’t be a total spoil sport, there were plenty of general things that were good for everyone. Mainly, it really helps to have a concrete, physical manifestation of conceptual matter. So if there is an obstacle, how about getting another character to embody that. If you have some sort of transformation make sure there is some sort of event or location that can act as a metaphor rather than having it all inside the character’s head. If the character has an internal desire, give it a physical manifestation, as in what action or situation would demonstrate that the desire had been met or totally failed. I’m leaving it there because as I keep saying, you have to go learn from Kathryn Heyman yourself in order to get the real benefit.

 

As promised, and true to my blog’s about section, unedited, unkempt, and untamed, here is an excerpt from Memoir from the Madhouse.

 

I am running, running faster than I’ve ever run before. The cold from the dew damp ground runs up my bare legs and covers my naked body with goose pimples. But still I run on. The warmth is fleeting, the wind is chasing me, and they are hunting me. I run naked in the cold dark night and all the while I think – I’m not crazy, I’m not crazy.

Out of my periphery I see a nurse approaching me. I let out a delirious laugh and keep on running.

‘Run, run, run as fast as you can…’

The wind whips away my words and I still run on. The ground starts to gently slope downwards and in the darkness I lose my bearings. I trip. I roll. Arms and legs flail at impossible angles. The world slows down as sky and earth blur into one. I smile and think about what has brought me here, starkers, in the dead of night, chasing demons, in the psychiatric hospital’s grounds.

 

6 Hours Earlier

I sit in Consultation Room 2 staring at my psychiatrist. I have no idea what he is saying. His voice is so soft that I can only make out every second sentence if I’m lucky. Regardless I nod like I understand. I don’t want him to think I’m rude or worse, stupid. My constantly interrupting to say, ‘Eh?’ or, ‘What?’ only results in him repeating his mumbles anyway. So instead I just nod along like I agree.

‘Are you anxious about going home tomorrow?’ Finally a sentence I can hear.

‘No,’ I lie.

Of course I’m anxious. I’ve got newborn twins and a two year old. They’re hard work. I have to somehow keep on functioning, no, mumctioning, despite the fact that the twins won’t sleep, which means I can’t sleep either. All work and no sleep makes Robin a dull girl. Perhaps they could be trained to settle one another. One cries and the other rubs their back, then they roll over and swap jobs. That’d be pretty sweet but although I’m in the nuthouse even I know that won’t happen.

‘Really?’ my psychiatrist raises an eyebrow. ‘Last time you were supposed to go home you had such an anxiety attack that we had to transfer you to a medical hospital.’

I shrug. More words are spoken that I nod thoughtfully along too. God only knows what I’ve agreed to in these sessions.

‘Do you like cap guns and pillows?’ Nods in agreement.

‘Do you still wet the bed?’ Nods thoughtfully.

‘Do you have a Christ complex?’ Nods politely.

‘Do you like the smell of your own farts?’ Nods vigorously.

He probably thinks I’m the biggest psycho to ever have graced this Crackpot’s with Babies Unit. No doubt I’ve inadvertently agreed to having a fetish for gingerbread men, partaking in cock fighting as a chicken, and having to burp three times every time I hear the word purple lest the world ends. Not surprising that Doctor Huang is so shocked by my casual attitude.

Truth be told I’m just quietly packing shit. My husband and I have arranged for a babysitter to come for a few hours a day during baby rush hour. 4 – 7 sucks with the under threes. They’re cranky, they need baths, they need dinner and they need to go to bed. Times that by three and I seriously struggle. The babysitter coming at these times doesn’t help me rest. Just helps me make sure none of my kids are neglected. I want to rest. We can’t afford rest. Fucking money.

‘A lot can change in a week.’

Let’s Talk About That Baby

Standard

image

Unless you’ve been living under a rock you will have heard about the newborn left in the drain for 6 days in Western Sydney at just 1 day old. You will have heard that the baby’s 30 year old mother dropped the baby approximately 2.5 metres down a drain, an almost certain death sentence. You will have been horrified and wanted to hug that baby. You will have wanted to tell that baby to fight and that he is worthy of love and life. You will have also heard the public outcry about the situation. You will have seen people calling for the mother to be locked up, beaten, dumped in a drain in searing temperatures herself. It’s a horrific situation,  people will obviously have an extreme reaction. It doesn’t surprise me, it doesn’t even disappointment me. All these strangers reacting strongly just proves how much they love children. The bit that does surprise me and disappoint me is that when women I know, who like me suffer from Postnatal Depression are calling the mother of this child all sorts of names, baying for her blood and saying how they can’t comprehend what she has done and that she deserves no understanding. Now I’ve personally never had any urges to harm my children, I sit within the postnatal depression range not postnatal psychosis BUT if we can’t have compassion, or at least a willingness to withhold judgement until all facts are out, for mothers who have done something so clearly out of the ordinary,  then… well… who the fuck will?

I never tried to OD with Postnatal Depression. Something that would deeply scar and traumatise a child for the rest of their lives, leaving them with a lifetime of issues requiring therapy,  but I withhold judgement from my friends who have attempted such things. I know what it’s like to feel like you’re such a toxic person that your children would be better off without you. So I offer these mothers compassion. Sure I could tell them they’re awful and that they don’t deserve kids and get up on my high horse and really go to town on them but I don’t. Why? Because I know what pain and confusion feels like. The same with mothers who leave their kids. I’m very much with my three babies. Mumma isn’t going anywhere save ill health (I can’t rule out being hospitalised with Pancreatitis again, unfortunately I just have a bad pancreas that confounds the medical world). But I understand the urge to run because you feel like you’re not doing anything right and your kids would be better off without you. Of course that’s not true, they’ll feel abandoned and unloved,  but we can see perception and reality aren’t always friends.

I hope you can see where I’m going with this. What if the mother didn’t abandon this child into a filthy hole in hellish temperatures which would certainly result in death because she was evil but because she thought it’d be better for the child to die than be with her. What if her self loathing wasn’t merely to depressive levels but psychotic levels? What if she did this out of sick depraved love not because she was “a dog” or a “selfish mole” or any other insult levelled at her? My heart doesn’t break any less for the baby. I don’t want to hug that baby and make everything better for him any less. It doesn’t make his circumstances any less horrific,  dropped into filth where he was unlikely to ever be found with no milk or hugs. The torment that sweet baby endured for 6 days when it so desperately needed love and nurturing sickens me. Not just a bit but to the point that I literally threw up. But I’m willing to see that the mother clearly needs help. That her mind is just as disgusting as that drain. That it needs to be cleaned out. That she isn’t necessarily some demon that needs to be hung. So I’m withholding judgement on the mother until the facts are clear and sending that baby love and strength. I urge fellow battlers of mental illness to do the same, because if we can’t show compassion for others, than who else can?

Furthermore, I think what some people fail to realise is that some women when in the depths of Postnatal Psychosis become so detached from reality that they just don’t even recognise their baby as a baby. Very rare but I have witnessed one such woman being shown her baby and repeatedly refusing the baby and asking the nurses what the hell they were talking about. Thankfully the baby was in a hospital and the nurses were there to protect it whilst this woman went through her break from reality but she could have so easily dumped her baby not even realising what she had done should medical staff have failed to pick up on the situation early enough.

Confessions of a Mad Mooer: Mark Latham is a BEEP

Standard

image

So… it’s Postnatal Depression Awareness Week,  we’re all wanting to #bePNDaware … What does Mark Latham do? Write a revolting article shaming women with mental illness. What does The Australian Financial Review do? Prints it. They print this ridiculous article that shames women who take antidepressants, shames women who want a career, shames women who struggle with this whole motherhood thing at all. Because apparently your child’s smile should be the only antidepressant that you need and if you need more you are selfish and hate your children. Apparently Mark Latham knows this because he is a Stay At Home Dad, who has lots of leisure time, tends his garden and cooks gourmet meals, single handedly. Where the fuck are the kids that you are taking care of whilst you are doing those things!!! Either they are in school being cared for by others or you have help where other take care of them also.

And correct me if I’m wrong… but doesn’t Latham have a little bit of an Anger Management problem? One that is evidently not responding to his rigorous treatment of smiles from kiddies as he is still doing the aggressive handshake stand over combo he loves so much.

image

image

image

So maybe,  just maybe, this article is an anxious lashing out because he’s so deeply insecure about his own situation. Mark Latham,  I invite you to see your GP and get a Mental Health Action Plan drawn up. Don’t shun treatment. You don’t have to live your life in such an angry way. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Please reach out and get help, because as you say yourself, your kids are the most important people in the world and they deserve someone who can model compassion and contentment not just dominance.

If you or someone you know has postnatal depression you can find good resources on the following sites:

  1. Gidget Foundation http://gidgetfoundation.com.au/
  2. PANDA http://www.panda.org.au/
  3. PIRI http://www.piri.org.au/
  4. Black Dog Institute http://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/
  5. Lifeline https://www.lifeline.org.au/