Tag Archives: mental health

Confessions of a Mad Mooer: A Quick Update on Writing 

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Those of you who also follow me on Twitter already know that I haven’t been feeling my best. I’m definitely not at my lowest but changing medications to try to get on top of my migraines and RLS has left me feeling subpar.
I know that I’m not that bad because when I get time to sit down and write it still comes readily. Even if I feel like total shit, the moment I open the Scrivener file my fingers start typing. When I am at my lowest I simply can’t access the things needed for writing. I’m just too empty. 
On Friday I was quite teary. My medication had been increased the day before but it takes a couple of weeks before the increase works. And I thought that I was too upset and jittery to write. I looked at the clock and I only had thirty minutes until I had to pick my daughter up from school. This made me more upset. I’d gone a whole day without writing AND I’d had time to do it. It wasn’t because of being too busy with the kids, I just hadn’t. I felt hopeless and like a failure.
And then it hit me, my POV character hits a point where she is utterly shattered and feels like she’s an utter failure. I could write that scene. I use Scrivener so I can write out of order and easily slip it into place. And so I did just that. I opened up my Scrivener file for my WIP and just typed and cried. I did this for 25 minutes. At the end I had 950 words. That’s fast for me. Normally for novel writing it’s around 500 words in that time.
So good news, I’m still no where near my worst and feel much lighter. And maybe that idea might help somebody else? Maybe you’ve been holding off writing because you feel utterly shit? Try writing a scene where the POV character feels the same. They’ll be feeling broken for a different reason than you, but hopefully you can still use the shared feeling to get to the heart of the scene.
Good luck and happy writing.

Read about my thoughts on being a dyslexic writer here.
Read about my thoughts on author branding here.
Buy my shit here.

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/ 

Confessions of a Mad Mooer: I Love Eurovision

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I love Eurovision. In my opinion you’d be crazy(er) not to. In fact, I love Eurovision so much, that I talk about it in my memoir. Yep, I managed to work it into a memoir about postnatal depression. No regrets.
In honour of it being Eurovision season I’m sharing an entire chapter from my memoir with you now. And yes, it mentions Eurovision, repeatedly. Enjoy.

Carrots, Potatoes, and Broccoli

Okay, that last section got a little heavy with the artistic wankatude. I apologize. I did a BA, so can get a little theoretical and heady at times. Let’s bring it back down to reality with a chat about hospital food. I have spent extensive amounts of time in hospital. I have a dud pancreas, therefore from time to time, I end up in hospital on a cocktail of painkillers and NIL by mouth. When they ease you back onto food, to ensure you can eat without exploding from both ends and doubling over in pain, they put you on a clear-food diet. They tell you that this involves jelly, apple juice, and broth. This sounds kind of awesome. The only awesome part of this is the apple juice, which tastes like heaven after being denied food for sometimes weeks at a time. This desperation for food, unfortunately, cannot make hospital jelly or broth taste better. The jelly is vomitously sweet, and the broth isn’t so much broth as Bonox and water. It tastes like bitterness and the ashes of destroyed dreams. Once you graduate from apple juice and refusing to eat jelly and “broth,” you get “treated” to real hospital food. Just quietly, I’m fairly confident that hospitals save on money by serving up removed organs as protein. I’m pretty sure that I’ve had my own gallbladder served back to me and a few umbilical cords. When people say hospital food is bad, they’re not exaggerating. Always order the sandwiches for lunch and dinner until they ban you. Fortunately, food at the psychiatric hospital was markedly better. Perhaps it’s because they aren’t performing organ removals so have to actually source their protein from outside the hospital grounds.

Given that I went into the psychiatric hospital on the back of two stays in regular hospital, the food was a welcome relief. It was real, it was hot, it wasn’t wet, and it tasted reasonable. I was also able to go and eat it at a table rather than in my bed. It was almost like being human again. However, there was an element to the menu that soon began to drain on me. It was the accompaniment to every meal. Potatoes, broccoli, and crinkle-cut carrots. My relief at edible food soon faded to boredom and then heightened to horror as the weeks wore on. By week three I simply couldn’t face another meal with potatoes, broccoli, and crinkle-cut carrots on the side. It got so bad that we all began joking that they must have put one of the OCD patients in the kitchen for some rehab. The head chef would walk in, all excited for the day. “Okay, guys, let’s do something different today. I’m thinking an Italian theme. How about a little lasagne, maybe a nice Italian salad on the side?” And of course, we’d end up with lasagne with potatoes, broccoli, and carrots. The next day the head chef would come in and say, “Wooooohoooo, I’m coming down with Mexican fever today. Let’s do some tacos, some homemade guacamole. It’s going to be fantastic. You can do it, Frank.” In the end, they plate up tacos with potatoes, broccoli, and carrots. “Time for Chinese food. Who doesn’t love sang choi bow? Come on Frank, you can do some Asian greens, even include some Chinese broccoli.” And so we crazies are served up sang choi bow with potatoes, broccoli, and carrots. “Seriously, Frank? You’ve shown no fucking progress; get your head out of your arse and serve something different.” Ladies, here are you potatoes, broccoli, and crinkle cut fucking carrots.

I shouldn’t be to hard on them. They’re dealing with a lot of crazy people. Maybe if they gave us too much variety for our sides, we’d start getting ideas. They’d find us sitting nude in a janitor’s cupboard reading poetry whilst smoking a kranjska. Can’t have us going all Dead Poets Society on them. Particularly because none of our group therapists were inspiring enough to have us clambering up onto tables and declaring them our captain. One of my group leaders actually told me to just quit writing until the kids were all older. Robin Williams would NEVER have said that. It just wouldn’t work at all.

Honestly, our biggest source of excitement was watching MKR and discussing the impending Eurovision finals. But even our enthusiasm over television shows was kept at bay by the rigid structure of our ward. The whole decor seemed to be designed to ensure we weren’t too stimulated.  The communal lounge room had square chairs, square coffee tables, rectangular rugs, and a giant rectangle flat-screen TV mounted on the wall. Very orderly. It’s like the structured furnishings would help keep us calm so that we wouldn’t go wild. Probably so that we wouldn’t start making crazy demands like having something other than potatoes, broccoli, and carrots with every damn meal. In fact, if we giggled too loudly whilst watching our guilty evening pleasure of MKR, the nurses stared at us and asked us if we’d like our evening medication. Couldn’t have us giggling too loudly; there’s trouble to be had there—better medicate us and ship us off to bed. But I’m proud to say we persisted in rebelling. I even got a couple of magazines with sexy sealed-sections and left them in the communal area. Shhhhh, don’t tell anyone it was me.

But even with all this structure, the staff couldn’t diminish the untamed ecstasy that is Eurovision. Perhaps the hospital has better results further away from the finals. Because we tended to remain defiant and fobbed away our evening medication until we were told quite sternly that it was late, and the medication window would be closing, and if we didn’t take our freakin’ meds right now, we’d get reported to our psychiatrists. Given that mine was such a low talker that I wouldn’t have been able to understand any lecture I received, this was possibly not such a great threat to use on me. Unfortunately, my compadres quite liked their psychiatrists and could understand every word that they said, so I had no allies to fight the power with. But we still talked big.

And as for Eurovision 2014, what a spectacular winner. Conchita Wurst. An Austrian drag queen with exquisite eyes, the voice of an angel, and a beard. A real “stuff you” to the establishment. A celebration of being unique. It showed that you can be different and not deficient. Just like myself and my fellow mums were. We were anxious, we were guilt ridden, and we were gradually getting hairier ourselves because most of us assumed that we wouldn’t be allowed to bring in a razor, but we were great. We loved each other. We laughed with each other. We empowered each other in that “you’re weird and I’m weird, but that’s okay” kind of way. So as much as the food, the furniture, and the nurses wished we’d just mellow the fuck out a bit and follow an orderly life, it was the moments of joined rebellion that really helped get us through. It gave us a much needed sense of ourselves and let us know that we were still fun and good company. I still love those girls. I know you’re reading this. You’re possibly the only ones reading this. Big smooshy kisses to you all.

Looking back, there seems to be an awfully high correlation between inmates and a love of Eurovision. I’m not saying you have to be crazy to like it, but apparently, it helps. If you, like me and my crazy-arsed friends, find yourself getting the tingles each year as the Eurovision final approaches, then maybe you should consider getting yourself checked out. Personally, I think you’re crazy if you don’t like it. What’s not to love? The wind, the glitter, the dancing, the miming. It’s champagne television. But what would I know? I’m nuts.

Love that excerpt? Grab my book here.

Confessions of a Mad Mooer: What Fresh Hell is This? #PNDAawarenessweek 

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Sigh. It’s PND Awareness Week so obviously articles and posts about this issue are on the increase. I’m posting on PND every day this week rather than sporadically as I usually do. It’s good to raise awareness.

However, there is an article that pisses me off more and more each time it come up on my newsfeed. I suspect it is thought to be so totes-mega-awesome that it has actually been paid to be promoted… I, on the other hand, feel it is a totes-mega-steamer.

The article says that there has been a study into how society feels about mothers with PND. Good news, apparently there is no longer a stigma. hi5s all around. Apparently women with PND perceive that there is a stigma and that’s what prevents them from getting help…

… Well isn’t that just an amazing coincidence. Somehow only women with PND are afflicted by this strange notion that there is still a stigma. I mean, you might even say that it’s downright bizarre and unlikely that only women with PND would think there was a stigma when really there isn’t one. It’s almost feeding into a stigma in itself, that women with PND are delusional with no grasp of reality. But hey, an article supposedly to help women with  PND wouldn’t do that, would it? So they must be right. It’s just an incredible ccoincidenc.

Hey, people who came up with those conclusions based on your extensive studies, ring up an insurance company right now and ask for life insurance and tell them you have PND. Go on, I’ll wait. Let me guess, you have an added clause for suicide because you have or have had PND? It is in effect for the rest of your life? Yeah, so weird that insurance companies consider you a suicide risk for the rest of your life given that there are no stigmas surrounding PND. Must be part of that same crazy phenomenon  that makes women with PND think there is a stigma.

The article states:

This week, PANDA is calling on the community to engage with this conversation and with the new parents themselves.

“Even though we have these changing attitudes surrounding mental health, they somehow don’t seem to have made it through to this crucial time where life is created,” Smith said.

“On one hand, the community is saying it is okay — that’s their belief. The next step is for the community to help mums to understand that.”

Yes, let mothers with PND know that you’re thinking about them. Let them know how you don’t think there is any stigma. Hmmmm, I wonder if that’s a bit like when cases of maternal infanticide are reported people come up to me an ask me how I’m going because they’ve just heard about an awful case, and it’s suspected that the mother had PND, and to call them before I do something like that. That’s totes supportive. Letting mums with PND know that you’re there to support them. No sense of stigma that women with PND are ticking time bombs ready to go off and kill there babies. It’s all in our heads, thanks kindly community members for reaching out. And yes, everyone I know who has PND has similar stories.

You know what this delusional gal, that is out of touch with the community, who has PND thinks?  I think people saying that they don’t judge women with PND is a bit like them saying they don’t judge gay people, or black people, or Islamic people. I think that  people claiming not to be a biggot might not be 100% honest with themselves. I also think it’s not at all helpful to promote an article, which could have been a brilliant article as it shares so many great stories, that implies women with PND are deluded and shame them further. It’s all in your head is a bullshit approach to women with PND and their experiences. Invalidating the group you’re trying to help is ridiculous. 

I usually love the stuff done by that organisation but I found how they reported on their findings misleading and invalidating. Hook your respondents up to lie detectors, follow them for a few weeks and see how they really talk, then get back to me on how the stigma is gone.

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

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/

Yes, I know that one of the organisations above is the one promoting the article that makes my blood boil, but they have excellent rresource and I hope someone clues them in to just how problematic their phrasing is and that they rethink it in future. I’m just disappointed in them, certainly not calling for a boycott.


Confessions of a Mad Mooer: I wasn’t okay #RUOK

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When I was in my early 20s I was living with my boyfriend, studying teaching at university, studying kung fu,, creating short films, I was on New Start, and was working periodically in libraries, science labs, bars, and essentially anywhere I could. It’s not exactly an abnormal existence for a girl in her 20s. Lots of people work odd jobs to get through uni, lots of people move out of home, albeit the trend is to move out much later these days. Most people would have thought I had it pretty together. I had a smart boyfriend doing a prestigious degree, followed by honours and then a PhD, I was working towards getting my degree, I had active hobbies, short film and kung fu, that I was progressing well with, I was fit, and I was living relatively independently. Acquaintances would have thought I was doing well… but I was not okay.

On moving in with my boyfriend I had become increasingly isolated from my friends who I had previously seen regularly. Prior to my relationship I had a wide circle of friends in multiple friendship groups. I could dip in and out with different people from time to time. Strangely being an introvert this suited me well. I could see people briefly then flitter off to recharge. I didn’t burn out on people this way as I did when I had intense, one-on-one, friendships. My new boyfriend was the opposite. He had a very tight circle of friends and enjoyed intensity of time and attention. His friends were all living hours away in his hometown whilst he had moved to study. I became the sole focus of his attention. My friends began to balk, why does he always have to come? I was hurt by my friends shutting out my boyfriend and so withdrew. This led to my increasing isolation and suffocation in a relationship that wasn’t healthy for me. My boyfriend and I had so many activities that we loved in common that we just kind of assumed that we were meant to be. We were not.

Anytime I started seeking out new friends and wanting to go out on my own my boyfriend would see that as an attack on our relationship. He would in turn attack by saying that my new friends weren’t really my friends and they were just using me. I hadn’t come out of high school with sufficient self esteem to shake off his comments. One of my friend’s older brother had called me the walking forehead in year 7 and the name stuck. I had “cool girls” drawing pictures of me in year 9 science and passing them around the class saying how stupid I looked and what a try hard I was. In year 11 other kids complained that sometimes I wore shorts and sometimes I wore skirts and I should always wear one or the other. It wasn’t even that I could never win, I could never be neutral, I could never be just me. I withdrew in high school and did the same in this relationship.  I became increasingly depressed. My boyfriend needed a rather closed relationship and I needed to roam. Not in a non-monogamous sense. I’ve always been monogamous in romantic relationships. It was a mismatch of relationship styles.

A year or two into living with my boyfriend I encountered an old friend. She could sense something was up. She asked me if I was okay, and I said no I was not. Not only did she treat it seriously and not try to diminish or dismiss it she helped me deal with how overwhelmed I felt. She booked me an appointment with a GP and she even went with me because she knew I was too anxious to go. Now unfortunately after that point things unravelled for a variety of other reasons but what she did was important.

She didn’t just ask R U OK? and then move on.

She helped device a plan of seeing a doctor and helped me get there.

Sometimes when you’re at your lowest and feeling overwhelmed you need someone to step in and take care of you. You need someone to not defer and say that the parents, or the boyfriend, or the family, or someone else SHOULD be helping, but to say I will help you and here’s how I’m going to do it.

So if you know someone drowning in their iwn depression offer them a life line and sit with them and make that call. Take them to the doctor. If it’s an online friend send them links to Black Dog, or Relationships Australia, or Beyond Blue. Try to take a concrete step beyond just asking. Because words are nice but often people are already overwhelmed with sites and sounds and they need action to be taken. Ask R U OK, but let that be just the start.

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/ 

Structural Workshop with the Divine Dr @KathrynHeyman – #SydneyWritersFestival

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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

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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: New Mother Workshops

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Yesterday morning I met with a lovely life coach who had stumbled across my blog. Her special area of interest is new mothers and to this end she wishes to put on a series of workshops and panel discussions next year.  I was meeting with her because she is interested in having me on one of the panels. I’ll keep you updated next year.

After Lathamgate yesterday it is more important than ever to host these events for new mothers. Latham indicated that if you work you don’t love your kids, if you take medication you’re a coward, if you do anything at all for yourself you’re selfish. But this is hardly the first attack levelled against mothers. There’s a whole industry out there just to guilt mothers. If you use controlled crying your child will be psychologically damaged, if you cosleep your child will end up with an Oedipus Complex plus never be able to sleep on their own, if you give your baby mushy food it goes against nature, if you don’t give your baby mushy food they won’t be able to digest enough nutrients, you have to exclusively breast feed for at least six months preferably 24 months if you truly want your kid to be healthy,  if you don’t bottle feed you won’t know how much your child is consuming,  if you use disposable diapers you are killing the environment by increasing landfill,  if you use cloth nappies you are killing the environment through water pollution, if you put your baby in a forward facing pram they are traumatised because they have lost their connection with you, if you put them in a backward facing pram they’re development is impaired by lack of new stimulation,  if you put them in a pram of any kind you aren’t bonding with your baby because you must wear your baby, if you wear the incorrect carrier you are causing your children hip dysplasia,  if you walk near your child as they play you’re over parenting and denying them the ability to explore,  if you let your child out of arms reach they could get hurt or stolen and you’re an irresponsible parent, it takes a community to raise a child, grandparents are overused, too many kids are in childcare. I could go on. There isn’t an area where mothers aren’t judged. So not surprisingly, what I have termed,  Postnatal Anxiety,  is at an all time high. So that’s why we as mothers need to stand up and say ENOUGH. Different but safe choices are fine. Any event, cause, article, program that helps mothers to do that is invaluable.

As most people know, I’m a bit of a writer (a lot of a ranter) and I do enjoy a good Writers’ Festival. I think it’s time that we had Mother Festivals. Not Mother and Baby shows where merchandise is pushed on us and there are one or two speakers but an actual festival that focuses on connections and relationships rather than products. I was at the Emerging Writers’ Roadshow the other week and as always the first panel was 5×5. Five authors sat down and gave the five best pieces of advice they wished they had when they started writing. This same premise could be used for a mothers festival. Panels on multiple births, ethical responsibilities, juggling work, staying at home, maintaining a sense of identity,  Postnatal Depression are just the tip of the iceberg for discussions to be put on in various rooms. Sure, have a market where people can buy stuff but we’ve got enough festivals for consumerism,  so just have that small and on the side. Let’s get the focus back where it needs to be, support and wellbeing,  not judgement or product placement.

Now go out and hug a fellow mother today and tell her you respect the heck out of her.

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Any women who suffer from any form of depression or anxiety are welcome to join my own FB group which is pro mystical troll but doesn’t allow any nasty trolling.

https://facebook.com/groups/563402577109194

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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/