Tag Archives: PANDA

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: Let’s #StartTheConversation and Have a Virtual #LunchOutLoud 

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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: the musical ( #bePNDaware )

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Quick confession, the title is a tad misleading. My blog posts on postnatal depression, which I always start with Confessions of a Mad Mooer, are not being converted into a musical… but I have used them as a basis for a book! That’s right, a book. I have written a book about my journey through postnatal depression mainly focused on my month long stay in a psychiatric hospital with my twins when they were newborns. My first blog entry on this can be found here. And the good news is, that you will be able to get it in both print and e format.

So in honour of Postnatal Depression Awareness Week, which starts today Sunday the 13th of November, I am doing a dramatic cover reveal even though my book is not due to be released until December. TADAH!

Look at her. Isn’t she magnificent? The art and cover design were done by Sally Walsh from Sillier than Sally Designs. I’ve never loved an image containing my own melon so much. I simply showed her the linked blog post, said that the picture in it represented my time in the psychiatric hospital, mentioned that I liked orange and birds, then asked if I gave her monies could she give me a cover. She said yes and managed to create this amazing piece of art.

Confessions of a Mad Mooer will be out in December. Talk about the perfect Cristmas gift for the  hot mammas in your life. 
Keep your eyes on this page for more information coming up about the release of my memoir about postnatal depression and my month long stay in a psychiatric hospital. Excerpts and giveaways are coming your way this week, I promise.

I will be doing a blog post about postnatal depression everyday this week as a nod to Postnatal Depression Awareness Week. Please do check in regularly or all the news.

For more information on Postnatal Depression Awareness Week please go here.

And as always, any women who suffer from any form of depression or anxiety are welcome to join my own FB girl-tribe group which is pro mystical troll but doesn’t allow any nasty trolling.

https://facebook.com/groups/563402577109194

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

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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.

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Confessions of a Mad Mooer: Invisible Prejudices

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Hmmmm… hmmm… ugh…. It is with great awkwardness I write this because it was inspired by a friend who I know checks this blog from time to time. It’s about the supposedly invisible prejudices people have against mental health issues that really aren’t so invisible. So although I’m looking forward to the meltdown that will follow about as much as the idea of my husband giving me a brazilian I’m writing this anyway. Because if I’m this upset and uncomfortable about it then surely other people are too. So deep breath and here goes…

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Today one of my friends told me for the umpteenth time that, at this rate she was going to be needed to be admitted into an institution if her family didn’t pull their finger out. Like it was the pinnacle of bad things. That getting intensive, professional, support marked just how fucked up and unsupportive she felt her family were being. Now I understand that a lot of people reading this will think, “So the fuck what? Isn’t going into a mental home the worst thing that could happen? Isn’t everyone in there really crazy and fucked up?” Ummmm no and no. There are worse things, like denying that you’re mentally ill and forcing your loved ones to live through your paranoia and rages untreated, like self medicating with drugs and alcohol putting your family into debt, running away leaving your children with abandonment issues… And oh so many more things. As for the crazy and fucked up, a standard psychiatric hospital and a hospital for the criminally insane are two very different things. You don’t slap a bunch of women with PND or cops with PTSD in with pedophiles and serial killers. It’s just not even close to the same thing. And that’s the problem. People subconsciously put us all together into one barrel.  That we’re all disturbed individuals, totally disconnected with reality. Sure if you question someone on their beliefs they’ll no doubt say that they see depression and extreme psychosis as two very different things yet they’ll still treat people with depression and anxiety like they don’t know what is happening and can’t really be trusted.

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This same friend also freaked out when someone she knew suggested she had PND. She complained bitterly about how she was going to go to the doctor and take a test to prove them wrong. Like the notion was so abhorrent she needed to rush off to prove otherwise. That it was a stigma she couldn’t accept because people would think she was a bad mother. BAM, there you have it. Invisible belief visible. Societal norms dictate that people with depression are not capable people. And people who seek intensive help for it are weak and should just soldier on… poisoning everything they touch around them. Treatment is for the weak, anger and resentment is for the strong.

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People in our liberated time of 2014 say how they can’t believe how patients,  even as late as the 1970s were subjected to horrific treatments. Things such as rotation therapy which was like being on the spinning swings at a carnival but for hours not minutes, immersion therapy where patients were kept submerged for not just hours but sometimes days in water, radiation therapy where patients were exposed to things like radium, to name but a few. Patients were often kept sedated so that they weren’t of a bother to staff. I am beginning to realise we really haven’t come that far, as society would like to sedate mental illness from its conscious. That it’s ok for the odd celebrity or journalist to have depression but only bring that nasty crap near us once you’re better and productive again. Please don’t tell us about your reoccurring battles and certainly don’t thrust it into our faces with suicide. Heck even in my own life people cannot reconcile the fact that I seem to be smart, articulate, a great mum and not entirely unfortunate looking, and that I suffer from depression and anxiety at the same time. “Oh you’re not really depressed,  you’re a Super Woman,  you’re just exhausted.”

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Well I’m going to have to burst your bubble… I’m all those good things but I am also depressed. Not just a little blue, not a little flighty, but chronically depressed.  I went to a Novel Pitching event yesterday,  other participants thought I was confident and a bit glamorous (and some thought I was a mindless pretty bimbo but only one was rude enough to ask me if I was there to sell my manuscript or my body*) they didn’t realise it wasn’t a bit of a mask that I was wearing like they were, but a carefully constructed performance that I have for public rituals. Because I know damn well what a burden people find me if I let all of me out to play. That the nervous,  shy girl, who threw up before entering,  would not be considered good company. So I only show part of me. I’m not even sure they’re the best parts of me but they are the socially accepted parts of me. Humour, grooming, smiles, the odd profound insight (but not too many) and self deprecation. Heck, the day before going I was lamenting to a friend, who was also pitching,  that I was worried that the not so acceptable bits of me would slip out. Bits that are so objectionable by our invisible prejudice.

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I don’t write this blog to shame anyone but more so as a think piece so that people can start actually addressing their true feelings about mental health. You can say you’re ok about it but if someone said you might have depression would you react as if you’d been called a racist?

Be kind; everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. –JOHN WATSON

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* Others would have shaken that comment off as the other person being a bitch but unfortunately being a depressed individual it tends to eat away at me behind the mask.**
**The mask is me, I’m not dishonest or ingenuous but I certainly don’t allow my issues to show to their full extent. I joke about them but never really address them.

Please remember if you are a woman with depression or anxiety you are welcome to join my group on Facebook: https://facebook.com/groups/563402577109194