Archives for August, 2010


Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder and Exercise Progress

Hello everyone.  Today I'm going to give you a little update on my exercise and its effect on my mental well being.  I've been exercising consistently for almost two months and I think it's paying off!

I have yet to find a month when I have absolutely no symptoms related to premenstrual dysphoric disorder.  That being said, I'm pleased to find that this month seemed quite a bit better than others.  I can't be absolutely certain that my exercise routine takes all the credit.  However, it's something worth watching for the future.  So far, so good.
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Postpartum Depression – The Question of Medication, Part Two

Thanks for coming back to the second part of my thoughts on postpartum depression and medication.  If you missed the first part, you can find it by clicking here.

Extreme Views About Medication

Some people would like to make psychotropic medication out to be evil incarnate.  I am telling you as a practicing therapist and a mom who couldn't see the light much of the time for three and a half years - medication can be a huge factor in a depressed mom's recovery.  It can make ALL the difference.

It can pull her out of the hole so she can begin feeling functional again and rebuilding her life.  I have rare moments in my life that can top the joy and hope I felt when I absolutely knew I wasn't going to dip down in the pit of hell again with my PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder) for the upcoming month.  It was pure elation.
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Postpartum Depression – The Question Of Medication

The publicity from last week about postpartum depression has really made me think.  Saying depression isn't chemical and telling people to "get over it" are fairly typical makings for a stigma.  The other, and even more controversial angle of this, is medication.  Not only is psychotropic medication a hot topic anyway, it is particularly so for women who are pregnant and breastfeeding.

Professional And Personal Viewpoint About Medication

I want to clarify that I am not a medical doctor.  I am a mental health therapist with experience observing people progress through depression both with and without medication.
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Postpartum Depression – How To Get Help Now

In lieu of yesterday's depression stigma firestorm, I feel compelled to write this addendum.  For anyone who thinks they or someone they love may be suffering from postpartum depression, this post is for you.

Postpartum Depression Symptoms

A brief overview of postpartum symptoms so you can examine your personal situation.  This text is taken straight from the Postpartum Support International website:

*  Are you feeling sad or depressed?
* Do you feel more irritable or angry with those around you?
* Are you having difficulty bonding with your baby?
* Do you feel anxious or panicky?
* Are you having problems with eating or sleeping?
* Are you having upsetting thoughts that you can’t get out
of your mind?
* Do you feel as if you are “out of control” or “going crazy”?
* Do you feel like you never should have become a mother?
* Are you worried that you might hurt your baby or yourself?

Clarification: Even if you do not have thoughts of harming your child, having several of the other symptoms may still mean you have postpartum depression. 
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Uninformed Media Keeps Depression Stigma Alive

Today I received an urgent email from Katherine Stone, a blogger/advocate for postpartum depression.  She and others came across an insulting article on AOL news regarding the South Carolina mother accused of drowning her children earlier this week.

Postpartum Depression Comments Generalized And Uninformed

Certainly, the news of these tragic little ones being killed by their mother is sad, horrifying, and hard to comprehend.  Thoughts of Susan Smith may immediately come to mind if you were watching the news in 1994.  So writing a detailed story about this is something AOL has the right to do.

Where they went wrong was quoting a criminal profiling expert who had some very insulting things to say about postpartum depression.  She considered postpartum depression a "crock" (as a defense) because there was really no chemical imbalance involved.
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Get Set For Starting School

School is here again for many people, including me today.  Once again, the happy chaos of school lunches, backpacks, and alarm clocks set the rhythm of our week.  But with that rhythm comes some serious adjustment.  And a little stress!  Check out this quick review of important points for starting school this year.  Keep everyone on track whether you have already started school or you are still waiting for the big day.
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Adult Parent-Child Relationships Around The World

Adult parent-child relationships can be challenging at times, but also very rewarding.  I read an intriguing article this morning about adult parent-child relationships.  I hadn't thought about how this could be different across other countries.  The differences and similarities really made me think.

Of course, it doesn't say anything about cultures with less influence from Western civilization, like African or Asian countries.  But still, this comparison will take your mind out of the box a little bit. Think about your own adult parent-child relationships as you read about what I found.
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Positive Influence Of Siblings

If there's one thing that puts me over the edge at home it's dealing with the girls fighting.  It gets noisy, doesn't always resolve right away, and certainly stirs up feathers.  But I recall from my counseling training that allowing siblings to argue wasn't all bad.  As long as they weren't hurting each other emotionally or physically, this "exchange of ideas" was a healthy thing.

When left to their own devices, they found ways to solve their conflicts and make up with each other eventually.

I have tried to follow this concept with my own kids so they could learn these important relationship skills.  While it concerns me when they fight, I'm keeping with this direction for the long-term benefits.  So far, they seem to have generally good affection and have each other's backs.
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Talking To Someone About Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

I've been getting several questions about how to talk to someone about depression, especially premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).  I'll give you as many ideas as I can.  Above all, I would say to keep it simple and stay emotionally calm.  Be prepared before you start, but you don't have to recite a long monologue to get the conversation going.
Consider Their Perspective

They are likely feeling rejected or that they might be rejected.  When you have any form of depression, you tend to feel like the world is against you.  Just consider this before you say something so your compassion really comes through.
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Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder Sleep Update

Hello, everyone.  I'm giving you a little update on my observation of sleep and my PMDD.  Last month, I shared my observations about the importance of sleep deprivation and exercise.  Before that, I talked about how I'd observed changes in my sleep around the week before my period.  Here's the next chapter in that whole story.

Since my sleep and PMDD seem clearly related, I've been conducting a bit of an experiment.  Last month, my premenstrual week was right before a very stressful planned event. I spent a lot of time preparing for everything and thinking about what was to come. I got at least a few full nights of sleep, but rest didn't seem to help my mood much.
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