Journal and Blog
Spent some time talking with an OB/GYN practice earlier this week. I wanted to share some useful finding. First I want to explain the term Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorder (PMAD). Includes woman whose symptoms begin during pregnancy and after delivery (Perinatal). It's not just depression woman experience. Having symptoms of anxiety is common (Mood disorders and anxiety disorders). So for many women calling it Postpartum Depression just isn't encompassing enough.
Thinking for yourself or someone else about:
Information, research and stats came from:
Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders training at the UMMHC and UNI Conference 2017 and
Cox, J.L., Holden,J.M., and Sagovsky, R. 1987 Detection of postnatal depression: Development of the 10-itemEdinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale.
So much grief and sorrow have surrounded this week as parents we all grieve with those in Florida, in that complete heartbreak a question is rising," How do we stop this? Enough is enough." Press releases and articles are circulating social media all offer ideas and reform. Dealing with something so emotionally heavy for all of us and being in a position of helplessness and fear is paralyzing.
As you think about your own ways to create safety in a world we all fear. As information surfaces in articles and press releases, think about the levels of change. Some speak of large system changes; gun reform, mental illness. Others focus on school and community safety, reporting and training. While others pinpoint, homes, parents, individuals. Truth is there is the need for change on all levels.
Start where you are. Don't feel like in order for your children to be safe you have to write the legislation, become a principal and police officer, and be a stellar mom knowing every detail of your children's lives. Take little steps in any direction or maybe a couple of bits out of each area of change. If politics, legislation are your thing. Jump in, evoke change, share the information in your own way for us less savvy policy lovers. If you can be active in your community-share your talents, maybe a kid doesn't have a safe, loving home, be their example, give them an interest. Coach a rec team, volunteer at your kid school. Never before have we as individuals been able to be so connected, yet socially isolated at the same time. If government and community seem too big of places to start. Focus on what is within your four walls. How do you teach values, respect, differences? What can you do as a parent to be more involved?
Feeling anxious and overwhelmed thrives when we feel powerless and helpless. Accurate information, appropriate change can help create empowerment. Sometimes just having a compartment in our brains gives us a place to store information until we are ready to process it. Watching the news with my kids this week hasn't been a space I can feel these feeling and have my head spinning with questions and "hows." As I read information I can think, "Ok they are talking about starting at home, what can I take from this article?" Or "Alright this is a policy change on a larger level, I need this information for when it comes time for me to vote."
Am I handling this OK?
Do I need to talk to someone, is this normal?
I can't keep struggling like this...there has to be something I can do.
The experiences that lead you to ask yourself these questions are moments that weigh heavy on your heart and mind. The fact you are asking this of yourself is something you can trust. When to seek treatment is very personal but not something you need to justify. If you feel the need, look into it.
If you are looking for more ways to organize your thoughts. Three things to think about are duration, intensity and frequency.
Three things to think about are duration, intensity and frequency.
How long have you been experiencing these symptoms? How long have you been dealing with these feelings? If it's been an extended amount of time (months) when you think about times that typically should have made you feel better but didn't. The duration of symptoms in significant.
Measure intensity by thinking about how the symptoms you experience interrupt (or prevent) routine daily functioning. Understand suicidal thoughts, ideation, self-harming behaviors are high-intensity symptoms that warrant immediate attention but you don't need to wait until the intensity reaches that level.
Clinical research concludes a history of mood disorder episodes increase likelihood of reoccurance. So does family history. Documenting if your symptoms are reoccuring daily, multiple times a week is another way to identify the frequency of symptoms.
Loved being a part of The Wild Outsiders Club's first mama's mental health night. What an amazing group of moms doing extraordinary things! These incredible women come together weekly with kids in tow to explore trails and complete hikes all along the Wasatch Front. Their story is one I am drawn to. These young moms are finding a way to do what they love and sharing it with one another and the children they dearly love.
One of the first things I always discuss with clients is the details of their support systems. We all need a team! Sometimes we need an entire army, but we always need a few solid friends in our corner. One of the next things I always ask clients about their interests. What motivates them? When are they happiest? What do they enjoy doing? So often its hard, really hard for clients to identify who is a part of their support system and recognize things they like. I am so grateful Wild Outsiders Club is there. Providing support and friendship with one another and doing what they love all the while being so inclusive to any and everyone.
I still remember reading a post about their fearless, beautiful leader, Ashley Leek. Ashley posted on Instagram about how their club got started. Ashley isn't from Utah, her and her husband headed west four years ago. Being drawn to the recreational Mecca Utah is they knew it would be a good home. Ashley was pregnant, and they were excited to start with such a fresh beginning and had so much they were looking forward too. Fast forward a year after getting settled and the birth of their daughter. Ashley realized she was lonely, isolated and longing for friends. She knew she needed a community of friends. Here is where Ashley becomes one of my heroes. She figured she couldn't be the only out-doories new mom needing friends and hoping to be able to do the things she loves. So she started her own club. I admire her courage, feeling lonely and isolated she took a huge step to pull herself out of a dark hole. Which is never easy to do. She identified her problem, and didn't just wait for a way for it to be solved, she created a solution. Last night I was able to witness first-hand the light and friendship she has brought to so many.
The idea of self-care sounds good, right? It’s accepted as being important and recognized as having great value. Yet, the gap between it being a nice thought and being implemented is wide. For moms, it can be more than just a wide gap between thought and action. That’s because for most of us there is an underlying stigma associated with self-care. It is so strategically placed in our minds that we might not even detect its presents. This underlying stigma might sound something like, “If I just liked being a mom more, I would be fine.”
The perception of self-care is that it is only needed when we are not blissfully happy in our roles as mothers. This thought process is dangerously debilitating. This toxic perception fuels the opposite of self-love and creates a pattern of thoughts that destroy any access to self-care we might have considered. Self-care is not selfish, it is not lavish, it is not only for the unhappy, stressed, and weary.
We fall into a trap of self-neglect, when we think self-care involves grand efforts. Having a weekend trip kid-free or a day at the spa can be rewarding activities to look forward to, but these aren’t events most of us can take advantage of frequently enough to sustain us daily. When we get set on big things, it’s easy to feel like, “I have no time, no money or no energy for self-care.”
Self-care also needs to be self-sustaining. We can set ourselves up for disappointment when we depend on others to provide the soothing effects self-care should provide. The Key is to think simple, think small.
Use this recipe for self-care to create your own self-care tools.
Here is a good example of how a mom named Jen that I worked with, used the self-care recipe to help her. Jen struggled with the post dinner clean up. It seemed to take so much time and she was already worn out from her long day. As a way to help her through this task, she thought of ways she could use her sense to create peace. She would turn on soothing music to listen to as she picked up dinner. She also kept the window covering opened over her sink because she loved the view from her kitchen window. Once the kitchen was picked up she would light a scented candle. Here she used sound, sight and smell as simple ways to self-care during a hectic time of day.
Self-care in its many forms increases our ability to exercise self-compassion. Self-compassion empowers us to sustain emotional health. Our inner peace is strengthened not because of the absence of difficulty but because of the stabilizing effect self-care and self-compassion can have. Just like pulling a ripcord opens a parachute to slow free-falling. Self-care figuratively can be the ripcord to open the parachute of self-compassion and together they slow emotional free-falling.
Download your Own Self-Care Postcard