Tag Archives: stigma

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: 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