Welcome to the Second Edition of Mental Health Monday here at A Broken Compass. (In case you missed it, here is the inaugural edition.)
I started this weekly series in an attempt to build mental health awareness and to take a bite out of the stigma that has cloaked sufferers and their families in shame for years and years. In my great zeal for this topic, I failed to consider that many, many talented and knowledgeable – and, let’s face it, medically degreed – people have taken on this mission long before I named it as My Cause.
So, in my bull-in-a-china-shop way, I’m going to jump in, and start with postpartum depression. I stumbled upon a wonderful website that would have helped me so, so very much back in the summer of 2001.
Postpartum Progress: http://www.postpartumprogress.com/weblog/
Why I like it: It’s no-nonsense, and yet shows a particularly insightful balance between compassion, facts, and resources. Further, it differentiates between postpartum depression, postpartum psychosis, postpartum OCD, postpartum anxiety, etc. This site is astute enough to remember fathers, as well.
A few parts I found particularly helpful: The left-hand column, where the authors list some amazingly helpful info, including 6 Things Every New Mom Should Know About Postpartum Depression, 6 Things You Should Avoid if You have Postpartum Depression or Related Illness. [I would include links to those two lists, but clicking on those website links automatically prompts you to download a word doc. By all means, go and check it out.] I love that level of directness and accessibility. Also, the authors use what they call “plain mama English,” which is exactly what it sounds like: a clear description of what is often only described in medical terms. [Those medical terms, I found, weren’t exactly helpful when a person’s brain is muddled with depression, in pain from the physical aspects of bodily recovery, and sleep-deprived to a torturous point. But that’s just me. I could barely make sense of something like “See Spot run” back then….]
What surprised me: The section where you can get a badge (to place on your website) in commemoration and celebration of surviving these illness. I honestly never once thought of myself as a “Survivor.” That perspective, that term brings me a sense of peace I would have never, ever thought possible nine years ago. And I’ll be reminded of that feeling every time I glance at my site and see MY badge over there on the left.
I fully recognize that I cannot be comprehensive about mental illness on this site. I am not an expert by any means, nor do I EVER want any reader to see me as such. But I’m going to keep throwing little flower baskets of mental health awareness blossoms (just go with the metaphor, OK? It’s all in the name of an excellent cause) your way, hoping that you will find the flowers of knowledge important, valuable, and useful at some point in your life.