Episode 58: Sam’s Story

Sam was sick her entire pregnancy, from the day after she got the positive pregnancy test result until the day she gave birth at 37 weeks pregnant. She vomited 5-6 times a day and survived on Egg McMuffins and bean burritos. She was also working full time during the vomiting horror show – can you imagine?

At 37 weeks, she was induced. After 36 hours of long labor, she had an amazing perfect delivery. The nursing staff and physicians listened to her throughout the delivery and her obstetrician sounds like a total rock star. Her baby, now three years old, was healthy as could be despite all the nausea and puking. (So, all you moms out there: don’t beat yourself up about hitting all the recommended nutritional benchmarks! Egg McMuffins make healthy babies.)

The postpartum depression started as soon as Harlan arrived. Her baby slept constantly, but Sam could not sleep. She would feel tired and wired at the same time. Sam would lie down but her brain would not stop. Instead, it would rush through all the things that could go wrong with her baby. Sleep deprivation set the stage for her other symptoms.

Her other symptoms included tearfulness, loss of appetite, intrusive thoughts, rage, thoughts of hurting or killing herself, and plans to leave so her son could have a better mom.

When her baby was five weeks old, Sam started making suicide plans. Fortunately, she belonged to a supportive Babycenter birth group. When she told her friends how she was doing, one of them told her to call the doctor’s office.

Sam called her doctor and got to see her that afternoon. She had a panic attack in the waiting room and worried the authorities would take her baby away. In the examination room, she cried with her doctor. Her doctor prescribed Zoloft, and so began Sam’s slow recovery from postpartum depression.

A lot of our guests talk about how long their recovery took. I know this can be really discouraging but you will recover. I believe it is important to share the stories of slow recovery so our support team can fully appreciate just how much patience and love we need.

Sam attended Baby Blues Connection, a peer support group in Portland, Oregon. I just looked at the Baby Blues Connection website, and wow, I am jealous and inspired.  If you live in the Portland area, you should definitely check them out! 

Sam also saw a therapist for seven or eight months. I know we are all different and have different roads to recovery, but I think therapy is vital to making a full recovery from postpartum depression. When I talk to a mom who’s prescribed a pill and nothing more, I want to throw a tantrum.

Zoloft was not a magical solution for all of Sam’s postpartum problems. For example, she still felt guilty for the way she felt did during the first five weeks of her son’s life. Therapy and peer support were vital parts of her recovery. Her parents also helped out a lot. Internet friends were also important because they were there for Sam at all sorts of odd hours.

By early 2016, Sam was feeling much better but then she had to return to counseling. In November 2016, when Harlan was a toddler, she was diagnosed with bipolar II disorder. Now in early 2018, she is finally feeling like her whole self but it has been a slow crawl to get where she wants to be.

Sam’s white hot rage was a sign of hypomania. She felt her rage as an out-of-body experience that was paralyzing. That was a symptom of bipolar disorder. I had no idea!

Since experiencing a maternal mood disorder, Sam is much more compassionate when she hears the sensational stories about postpartum depression in the media. She feels there was an element of luck to winning her battle.

Sam’s illness gave her sense of purpose. She has shared her story on her blog in a three part series. That has changed lives. The first post is right here. The second post is here. And the third is here

Sam’s husband had a rough time during her illness but was as supportive as he could be. It was very stressful for him to see Sam suffering with maternal mental illness.

Breastfeeding was one of the issues that contributed to how awful Sam felt postpartum. She tried like hell to breastfeed but it just did not work. She exclusively pumped for five months but the schedule took a toll on her mental health. She wishes she had switched to formula sooner. During our breastfeeding discussion, I mentioned the book Bottled Up. Seriously, I cannot mention this book enough! We need as much education as possible about the actual benefits of breastfeeding so that moms can stop beating themselves up if breastfeeding is not the right choice. 

When it comes to self-care, Sam is not so great at bath bombs and pedicures. Therapy has been an important part of her self-care. Writing is also essential. She also forces herself to socialize even when she’s not in the mood because she’s an extrovert and gets her energy from being around other people.

After the interview ended, Sam and I kept talking and discovered we are both members of The Self Care Squad on Facebook. I’ve mentioned the Squad many times but it bears mentioning again because it is such a supportive, non-judgmental community. The Squad is run by former guest Graeme Seabrook, who is truly called to help moms figure out how to take care of themselves.

Sam blogs at TheMothersideBlog.com and you can also follow her on Instagram @samanthajnw.

Thanks, Sam! You are an inspiration and I’d love to have you back on the show.

Episode 57: Katie’s Paleo Journey and The Six Root Causes of Postpartum Depression

Katie Flores is a wellness coach, advocate for maternal mental health, and host of the newly launched Natural Postpartum Support Podcast. She was first on the show on Episode 43 in May 2017. Check out that episode if you want to hear more about her postpartum adventures. We talked a lot about thyroid issues during that interview.

Since Episode 43, Katie has been on a “Paleo Journey.” For almost the past year, she has been dairy and gluten free. She has made a lot of health changes and is feeling better than ever. For example, she used to get hormonal headaches that lasted her entire period; but during her last visit from dear Aunt Flo, she did not get any headache. She is also sleeping better and her cravings for junk food have decreased.

(Why yes, Katie’s story has definitely inspired me to make some health changes. How’d you guess?)

Katie knew she had to dig deeper into the root causes of her health issues. So the last time we talked, Katie found that postpartum depression was a symptom of issues with her thyroid, but she could not stop thinking: what was the root cause of her thyroid issues?

She did lots of reading and research and identified six root causes of postpartum depression. She has created a root cause assessment test that you can take at KatieEFLores.com/rootcause

The six root causes are:

  1. Traumatic loss
  2. traumatic stress
  3. heavy metals and toxins
  4. electrolyte deficiency
  5. adrenal dysfunction and last but not least 
  6. viral infection

The first two root causes are emotional. Traumatic loss includes things like the death of a loved one, loss of a job, or loss of identity. Katie’s friend Diana Collins lost her best friend to postpartum depression and experienced postpartum depression herself when she became a mom. Her podcast Always With Me dives into postpartum issues. (I have not had a chance to listen, but I will definitely be listening soon!)  

The other root causes are physical. Katie has lots of great tips for detoxifying all the toxins in the liver, which acts as the body’s filter and gets clogged up with all sorts of gunk. Katie tries to eat five foods every day to detoxify her liver: WILD blueberries; spirulina; barley grass juice powder; cilantro; and atlantic dulse. You might not find all these foods at your local grocery store, but Amazon can deliver them right to your door! Katie puts almost all of these ingredients in her morning smoothie.

Coconut water is great for restoring electrolytes and you can add that straight to your smoothie as well.

Also: don’t get overwhelmed! You don’t have to overhaul your life in one day. Maybe just pick up some wild blueberries the next time you are making a grocery run. I want to get back into the morning smoothie groove, but I know the habit will not stick if I try to get all these ingredients into my body at once. Baby steps, folks, baby steps!

Lemon in your water also helps with liver detox and electrolyte deficiency.

Katie has been greatly inspired by Anthony William, a.k.a. The Medical Medium. He is the author of several books, including Thyroid Healing and Life-Changing Foods. (And yes, I have already added these books to my Amazon Wishlist. If only I could download all the books that interest me into my head at once.) Katie has dived into the Medical Medium’s information about depression to sort through postpartum issues.

Katie’s podcast is now available to stream or download on iTunes and Stitcher. Visit her website KatieEFlores.com or follow her on IG @KatieEFlores.

Thanks, Katie for coming back on the show and sharing all the wonderful things you have been learning on your postpartum journey! If you haven’t already, you should definitely check out her show, the Natural Postpartum Support Podcast.

Thoughts on Self Care

I used to be the sort of person that waited until my car was down to at least an 1/8 of a tank before hitting the gas station. This caused all sorts of chaos, necessitating emergency trips to the gas station at the most inconvenient times.

It’s been twenty-three years since I got my driver’s license, and I have finally accepted the truth: it’s easier to fill my car’s tank when it’s only half empty instead of waiting until the fuel light shines its warning.

A couple of weeks ago, as I was topping off my tank at Arco, I realized self care is a lot like fueling my car. I might think it makes sense to push myself until I am running on fumes and then get a massage or pedicure; but in the long run, I feel better if I keep filling up my tank all the time, keeping it as close to full as possible. Then, when there’s a crisis like a sick toddler or husband going out of town for work, I’m as close to full as possible and I don’t have to worry about my self-care warning light.

I don’t drive around with my fuel light on anymore, so why should I let my self-care light get any use either?

A Love Letter to My Hormones

Yesterday I wrote a break up letter to Sugar. That felt soooo good. This morning, when I sat down to journal, I felt compelled to write a letter to my hormones.

Dear Hormones,

I broke up with Sugar yesterday. I have been in love — or rather, something that I thought was love, but really was self-loathing — most of my life. As part of my tormented relationship with Sugar, I hated you. I blamed you every time I felt physically crappy. My Sweet Beautiful Hormones, you were my scapegoat.

I’m sorry.

I want to fall in love with you and honor you for all that you do.

You made my babies! Two beautiful perfect delicious babies who are the best people I know. But instead of thanking you for all your amazing hard work, I just got angry about all the pregnancy nausea and constipation.

I’m done with anger. I don’t like it.

Also, this might sound weird, but I think you need a name. I could call you Hormones, but that creates a distance between you and me, but there should not be any emotional distance between us because you are MINE. You work for me, you make my life possible, you are part of me. So you need a name that honors that.  

But I can’t just name you Helen or Hermione because you are plural, you are many, you are estrogen and progesterone and all sorts of names I am learning but can’t remember yet. I don’t want a name that diminishes your magic. I’ll have to think about this. Okay, I’ll get back to you on the name front and keep calling you Hormones for now until I can think of something worthy.

Because you are worthy. You are part of me, so when I hate you, I hate part of me, and I deserve better. I deserve total and absolute love and adoration.  

Through journaling, I have learned something: writing makes things true. I don’t mean I can write “dogs are green” and suddenly all dogs are green. But I can write “I am beautiful” and once I write that enough, I transform my heart until I truly believe that I am beautiful. (And it’s true! I am beautiful!)

So I am going to write this here and in my journal and I am going to shout it to the world: I love my hormones! I love my hormones! I love my hormones!

I felt a touch of resistance to that idea as I wrote it. A little shudder in my brain. My brain does not like that idea. My brain thinks I’m supposed to hate my hormones. That is what my brain has been taught by the world.

Can I let you in on a little secret? I can rewire my brain. It’s true! I learned all about it in cognitive behavioral therapy after I had postpartum depression. I rewired my brain to be less anxious. I rewired my brain to stop getting flooded with guilt all the time. And since then, I have rewired my brain to be more calm, mindful, loving and patient. So rewiring my brain to love you, my sweet beautiful enchanting Hormones, will be easy.

(I really need to think of a name for you!)

I love you, Hormones, you are utterly magnificent.

I love you, Hormones, for all that you do.

I love you, Hormones, for drawing my attention to some changes I need to make to the way I live my life.

And this love is not limited to words. I am going to prove my love again and again through my actions! I gave up Sugar yesterday for me but also for YOU. Yes, Hormones, I gave up Sugar so that you can work the way you are meant to work. I am reading up on the science, and though I have a lot to learn, I understand this: Sugar fucks with My Hormones. The Sugar I was inhaling was hurting you, my beautiful precious Hormones, so I have banished it from my life.

More changes are coming. I’ll keep you posted.

I am sorry for all the harm I have done to you over the years. I promise things are going to be better from here on out.

Love, adoration, respect and gratitude,

Courtney

Episode 56: Nikki’s Story and the Climb Out of the Darkness

This week, Nikki shares her journey through postpartum depression and anxiety. She is the mother of two little boys and lives in the Atlanta, Georgia area.

Nikki experienced anxiety after the birth of her first child, but she had a history of anxiety. She assume the postpartum anxiety was within the range of normal new mom feelings. It was not until her second child was 10 months old that she realized something had to change.

For Nikki, the anxiety came first and as it worsened, it caused depression. She felt like she couldn’t go anywhere or leave the house. She felt like she was constantly on the verge of something horrific happening. (Oh my goodness, I can relate!) As Nikki got more and more isolated and lonely, the depression worsened.

Nikki 1

Nikki sometimes had panic attacks but her anxiety was mostly in her head. She felt irritable and experienced rage over things that did not matter. She also had insomnia but did not know it at the time.

Nikki did not have time for self-care. She felt like she had to do everything herself. She is so glad she eventually asked for and got help. In January 2017, she called her gynecologist. They wanted to prescribe medication but asked her to see a therapist first. This was scary and Nikki was afraid the authorities were going to take her kids away. (Again, I can totally relate.)

Nikki saw her therapist twice a month and Zoloft quickly helped her stabilize. She had a relapse during the stress of the holidays, went back to therapy and had her medications adjusted. Now she is feeling great.

Through her recovery, Nikki learned she doesn’t have to feel good all the time. I love that idea. Motherhood is beautiful but it’s also tough. We should not have to enjoy every single moment. We are allowed to have crappy days.

Last year, Nikki participated in the Climb Out of the Darkness. It was a very symbolic experience, struggling up the mountain. Her team climbed Stone Mountain and I can tell you from personal experience that hike is no joke.

Nikki 2

This year, Nikki is leading Team Dacula and instead of a hike, they’ll be doing a lovely walk on pavement. The symbolism of a hike is great, but sometimes, we just need a walk to bring people together and honor the struggle to overcome maternal mood disorders. 

As part of her recovery, Nikki’s therapist asked her to make mom friends. Easier said than done! Her local friends were not struggling, so she started Maternal Mental Health Support. This is a group on Facebook that anyone can join (I’m a member!) and they also meet in Atlanta for Mom’s Night Out and playgroups. Bravo, Nikki!

Nikki has learned the importance of self-care. When we become moms, it’s easy to lose track of who we are. Nikki suggests trying to remember what your hobbies were before you had a baby and then adjust your expectations. Nikki loves scrapbooking. Now that she is in the trenches of motherhood with two little boys, she tries to spend a little time being creative everyday, stealing quick moments to make cards. She loves having something visual to show that she accomplished something.

Sharing her story has helped Nikki recover from postpartum anxiety and depression, but she cautions moms to share with safe people. Don’t share your story with a judgmental mom who thinks everything is the baby blues. She doesn’t need to know your journey. At least, not until you are 110% recovered. (And maybe not even then.)

Nikki mentioned the PSI Warmline, a great resource for moms struggling with maternal mood disorders. The number is 1-800-944-4PPD and a person with information about local resources will call you back.

Thank you, Nikki, for sharing your adventures!

To support Nikki’s climb, you can donate right HERE.

To join Team Dacula, head right HERE.

A Farewell to Sugar

For the past five and a half years, I have been either pregnant or on Zoloft. I am in the midst of my second menstrual cycle since taking my last dose of anti-depressants. The PMS is horrifying.

It’s Day 28 of my current cycle, and my period is set to arrive at any time. I have finally emerged from a bout of PMS that made me want to tear off my skin. I was just irritated with everything and felt easily overwhelmed. I lost my patience and struggled to stay present with my children. I even had to sleep in the guest room because just the idea of sharing a bed with my sweet husband made me cringe. I knew that if he so much as breathed (as he is wont to do), I would jump out of my skin.

My adventures with postpartum depression ended so recently, but my hormonal adventures are clearly far from over. I am reading a great book, What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Premenopause, and it has given me a ton of ideas. I’ll be writing a lot more about premenopause and hormones but for now, I am giving up sugar. The book has confirmed what I always knew: it destroys me.

I decided to compose a letter to Sugar to officially end our relationship. I got this idea from The Creative Penn, an amazing podcast and website for all of you aspiring writers out there.

Here’s the letter I just wrote:

Dear Sugar,

It’s over.

It’s not me. It’s you. It is most definitely you.

You are a temptress. I can’t just have you a little in my life. It’s all or nothing. And so, it’s nothing.

IT’S OVER.

You seduce with me with sweet nothings. You manipulate me by shredding my self-esteem. And then what do you give me? NOTHING BUT AGONY AND REMORSE.

Our relationship has been long, complicated, tortuous and abusive – yes, abusive. You are an addiction. You are a drug. Just one little taste, and I’m lost, slipping down the slope, from a bite of blueberry muffin into the lust of a gallon of ice cream.

It’s over, Sugar, it’s over.

Except I know, from past experience, that it’s not. Or, it’s over, except there is going to be some emotional heart ache in the coming weeks and months. Getting you out of my life is going to be hard work.

It’s going to be worth it.

I am sick of the PMS. Sick of the extra pounds. Sick of blindly eating food that makes me hate myself. Sick of binging until my stomach hurts. You turn me into something that is less than human. You keep me from my authentic self.

I think I am going to be writing you a lot of letters in the coming months.

I am ready to accept responsibility for our relationship. You will keep coming around, knocking at my door, tempting me with cake and ice cream and all manner of confection. I will be tempted, sorely tempted, to steal just a nibble, but I know the nibble is just the gateway to binge after binge after horrifying binge.

Let me be clear: it’s over.

You can knock, shriek, pound, holler, do whatever you want. I am not going to answer the door. I am not giving you an inch back into my life.

I am stronger without you. I am happier without you. And I am so much healthier.

I would say “good luck” and “best wishes,” but we both know that is not true. So let me end this letter with a more appropriate valediction.

Go fuck yourself,

Courtney

Episode 55: Vivianne’s Continued Adventures With Bipolar Disorder

This week, Vivianne is back on the show to tell us more about her postpartum adventures with bipolar spectrum disorder. But first: if you haven’t already, check out episodes 45 and 45.5 to hear the first part of her story in greater detail. (Also, mea culpa. I just realized those show notes never made it online. You know what? That’s life. I’m a mom and I can only do so much. Sometimes show notes slip through the cracks!)

Vivianne’s story started when she was a teenager. She was highly sensitive, quiet, and introverted and had an eating disorder. But she also did well at school, went to college and got married.

In July 2014, after the birth of her daughter, she felt depressed and suicidal. This continued until Fall 2015 when it felt like a switch flipped. Suddenly, after months and months of questioning her decision to have a child, Vivianne was ready for another baby.

Two or three months after her son was born, Vivianne started to feel depressed and suicidal. She also experienced expansive moods. An expansive mood is when a person quickly moves through an entire range of emotions.

In early 2017, Vivianne started a very low dose of Zoloft. This worked until April 2017 when the depression returned. Her doctor increased her dose of Zoloft. Four days after starting 75 mg of Zoloft each day, Vivianne experienced hypomania. Hypomania is “mania light.” Vivianne felt extremely happy, talked quickly, and had lots of plans.

When we last spoke during episode 45, Vivianne’s doctors were still working on her diagnosis. During Summer 2017, the bipolar diagnosis floated to the top. That is her diagnosis to the present day.

Vivianne started taking Lamictal. The therapeutic dose (e.g. effective dose) is between 100-200 mg but Vivianne had to start lower than that and ramp up to the larger dose. During the ramping up period, she had a mixed episode. During the mixed episode, Vivianne experienced both severe depression and agitation and hyper-activity at the same time. This meant she was mopey and slow but getting hit by negative thoughts at a very fast pace. She became obsessed with a suicide plan. Fortunately, she had a prescription for Atavan to treat anxiety. She took a dose and slept for a few hours. After sleeping, she felt better.

The mixed episode showed Vivianne and her family just how high the stakes were. They realized sleep deprivation was a major trigger for her. Vivianne asked her husband to help with her sleep hygiene. It took her husband a little time to realize how important this was.

In Summer 2017, while all this was happening, Vivianne moved from D.C. to Nashville. For many moms, this would aggravate a maternal mood disorder. The move, however, was great for Vivianne. She know has a shorter commute and bigger house, two things that help her mental health.

Since September 2017, Vivianne has been taking 200 mg of Lamictal (aka Lamotrigine). Medication and therapy have helped her enormously. She has developed more insights about herself and can recognize when she is feeling more sensitive. On those days, she takes charge by doing something like taking a nap or going to the gym to burn off excess agitation.

Vivianne has been reading The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide: What You and Your Family Need To Know by David J. Miklowitz. It discusses the different medications used to treat bipolar disorder. For example, lithium is still the gold standard but it works best to prevent mania. Lamictal has worked great for Vivianne. She has not experienced any side effect. Lamictal, however, does not work for everyone.

The Bipolar Disorder Guide has advice beyond medications. For example, it recommends establishing a routine. Persons with bipolar disorder are sensitive to things like sunlight but this is life. Chaos happens. If you have kids like Vivianne, then you are probably living with humans who have their own needs and agendas. Vivianne likes to have routines that are flexible. Meals and bedtime happen at generally the same time.

Vivianne had lots of excellent advice during this episode.

  1. In the beginning, your medication might not be working at its full force. Its important to control all the variables that you can while your medicine gets up to speed.
  2. Keeping a mood journal can help you understand your triggers. You can give it to your psychiatrist so they have all the information possible to treat your illness.
  3. It’s easy to over-identify with your disorder. Don’t become the disorder.
  4. Family-based therapy can be wonderful tool for coming to grips with a bipolar diagnosis.
  5. It’s important to talk to people with your experience but it’s also important to talk about your experience with the people most important to you.
  6. ASK FOR HELP.
  7. Have a hobby.

Vivianne is afraid of going back to the way she used to feel. Her psychiatrist good her that she is strong enough. It’s okay to feel emotions. She just need to be aware when her emotions leave the normal range. 

Another book Vivianne recently started reading is Quiet: The Power of An Introvert in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. When she was a teenager, Vivianne assumed she was an extrovert because she enjoyed the performing arts like acting and dancing. Now she realizes she is an introvert and needs time alone to recharge. Vivianne has learned to embrace her introversion so that she can take care of her well-being rather than worrying about societal expectations. (Vivianne got me so excited about this book that I ordered a copy a few minutes after our interview was done.)

The bipolar disorder diagnosis has helped Vivianne really hone in on who she is and what makes her comfortable in her skin. Looking back at her life and talking to people who knew her as a child, she thinks things for more intense for her when she was about sixteen years old.

Don’t you think Vivianne should have her own podcast? Except I know she is busy so let’s just have her on this show as often as she likes!

Vivianne, it was wonderful having you back on the show. For those of you who listened to the audio, you know there was a bit of an adventure with gardeners in the background. Thank you, Vivianne, for being so gracious during that nonsense. And thank you for being so candid and open about your postpartum adventures.

Back episodes are slowly migrating to Patreon.com/PPDadventures. Support the show for just $2/month and you will have access to all the adventures. Once I have enough supporters for the show, I am going to get some professional transcripts for each interview. I think it’s important to have these stories available in as many ways as possible for moms who are suffering and think they are alone.

Remember: YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

Episode 54: The Conclusion of My Personal Adventures With Postpartum Depression

Hello! This is my first episode of 2018 and I’m so excited to report that my personal adventures with postpartum depression are OVER. I am not done with postpartum depression. There is still a lot of awareness to raise and stories to tell. I don’t know if I’ll ever be done with postpartum depression as an advocate. But I myself am no longer a patient being treated for postpartum depression and that feels soooooo gooooood.

I took my last dose of Zoloft shortly before Christmas. I have felt great since then. Weaning off Zoloft was quite the journey. I talked about it during several podcast episodes, including Episodes 31, 37, 46, and 52. I started at a daily dose of 150 mg of Zoloft. Weaning from 150 to 75 mg sucked. But once I hit the 75 mg mark, it was easy peasy. Going from 25 mg to 0 was no big deal.

A couple weeks ago, I had my first “normal” period. The last time I had a normal period would have been in June 2012. In early July 2012, I got pregnant with Pippa. She was born March 2013 and my period made its triumphant return in July 2013 when I was about 3.5 months postpartum. I actually assumed that all my symptoms for postpartum depression were just a wicked case of PMS. (Spoiler alert: Nope.)

I started Zoloft in late July 2013 before I got my next period. So since June 2012, I have either been pregnant or on Zoloft. (That first postpartum period in July 2013 doesn’t count because the first postpartum months are WEIRD.)

My periods have been super ridiculously intense since I had Pippa. Like there are not enough tampons in the world to manage the hemorrhaging that happened. Every cycle, I lost at least one pair of undies. Gross? Yes. But should I feel ashamed of that fact and pretend it didn’t happen? Hell no!

To celebrate, I made myself a little something for Instagram:

I kicked PPD in the ass!

Oh hey, if you want to follow me on Instagram, I’m @Courtney.Novak.

I talked a lot about The Mom Center during this episode. I swear, Graeme is not paying me to promote her work. I just love what she is doing and think her work will help and inspire a lot of you. Check out the Mom Center right here or learn more about Graeme’s work at her personal website right here. Graeme shared her personal story and talked about self-care on Episode 35. If you haven’t listened to that episode yet, what are you doing here? Go, listen, Graeme is amazing!

In other news, I am so excited to be leading Team Los Angeles for the 2018 Climb Out of the Darkness on June 23, 2018. If you live in the area, I would just swoon with joy if you joined the L.A. climb! You can register for a climb here or register for Team L.A. specifically right here.  So far, I am the only climber on the team, but that’s okay. I know someone out there wants to join me!

Want to learn more about the Climb? Check out Episode 39 for my interview with Emily Newtown about the 2017 Climb. You can also read about it right here on the Postpartum Support International website.

Whew. My fingers are exhausted! Do I talk to much? Never! You can never talk too much about postpartum depression! I was reminded of this fact when a friend sent me a link to this Facebook post. This is what happens when doctors don’t understand maternal mood disorders. And you know what? That’s UNACCEPTABLE. Maternal mood disorders are common, more common than gestational diabetes, and any doctor who treats women should at least have a basic knowledge of symptoms, treatments and when to hit the panic button.

The End of An Era

I have been off Zoloft for about six weeks now and feeling great. Today, I touched base with my psychiatrist. After our usual talk about my life and mental health, the psychiatrist asked if I wanted to schedule a followup appointment or if I was ready to bravely go forward to conquer the world and call her if I ever needed a booster session.

(Those were not her exact words. I’m paraphrasing.)

I said that I was ready to conquer the world!

(Not my exact words either.)

We shook hands, I promised to get her a copy of my book when it’s published, and then I left.

Stepping into the hallway, I felt as if I was having a cinematic moment. Like I was about to fall to my knees and weep with joy. I did it! I did it! I kicked postpartum depression in the ass, did everything I needed to do to protect my mental health, and lived to tell the tale. And now, I am such a mental health boss, I’ve got this.

But instead of getting dramatic and weeping on the floor, I called Nathan to share the exciting news. He said we needed to get a cake to celebrate. Marrying that man was one of the best decisions I ever made. He gets it! He gets just how freaking important this milestone is to me.

We’ll probably just get takeout dinner tonight because we just had cake for my birthday, but still, I like the sentiment.

Folks, my mental health is all on me. I don’t need a psychiatrist to tell me that I’m doing well. I am so excited to be in charge!

Quick Update

  1. I have several podcast interviews scheduled over the next few weeks. Hooray for postpartum stories! Two are the continued adventures of former guests. Two are new stories from new guests. I am excited for all of them.
  2. Revisions are coming along on my book, and I hired a book cover designer two days ago. Yesterday I sent her the current version of my manuscript. I think we are going to work well together. She is working to finish the cover by the end of March so folks, it’s happening. My book will be published early April.
  3. I’m at Olympic Day Spa as I write this, a woman’s only spa in Los Angeles. I have already sweated extensively in the steam room and soaked in the mugworts tub (doesn’t that sound like a Harry Potter potion?) Coming up: more time in the tubs, a scrub and then the Nirvana massage. But I felt the call the write for a bit and enjoy a cup of coffee, so that’s why I’m checking in.
  4. I have lots more to share, but it’s time to get back to the spa experience!