Gaiam Yoga Mat Giveaway

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The holidays are here and we know it’s not always the brightest and most fun time of year for everyone, especially those mamas who are struggling through PPD and other related illnesses. We want you to know we’re always thinking of you, our loyal Warrior Moms (and those that support Warrior Moms too.) You are truly amazing and we are so touched by not only your courage and strength as you fight one of the hardest battles imaginable, but also by how supportive you’ve been to Postpartum Progress and all the work we do to help moms.

Starting today until Christmas Eve we will be giving away great items to a few lucky winners. We hope you’ll get in on the fun!

Do you practice yoga or have you been wanting to try? Today one lucky winner will win Gaiam’s Citron SundCitronSundial_Matial yoga mat.

With its chic intricate pattern printed in lemon yellow on a light heather gray Gaiam’s Citron Sundial Yoga Mat provides a stable, non-slip surface for your practice. This durable lasting mat ensures the safety and comfort you need to enhance proper alignment and maintain poses.

According to an article by Harvard Medical School yoga has the potential to tame the stress response and improve mood and functioning. Amen to that!

To enter to win, answer the following question below by submitting a comment in the comments section. (Be sure to include your email address and full name so we can contact you if you win!)

What’s one thing you do to manage your stress around the holidays?

Good luck!

You must be 18 years or older to participate. To enter, just leave your comment below by 11:59pm Eastern time on Monday, 12/15/14. One winner will be chosen randomly on Tuesday, 12/16/14, and will be notified soon after. 

 

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Bye-Bye, SSRI

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I’m not on my SSRI anymore. It happened accidentally-I would get so scatterbrained with work and taking care of the twins plus the preschooler that I would totally forget for a day, then take it the next day and swear I wouldn’t do it again. That happened over and over for months. Then one day became three. Three became a week. Then one day I realized that it had been two weeks since I had taken one and it was an opportunity for a hard choice.

I had been considering getting off of it-this time around it was more of a precaution to ward off PPD/A since I was the poster child. I had talked at length with my husband and toyed around with the idea with my doctor. We decided to go for it, though I knew I had a hard road of withdrawals ahead and I would need to work extra hard to put what I had learned in therapy into practice.

After a few more days of feeling off but otherwise ok, I turned into a cranky grizzly bear. I cried constantly and my emotions were roller coaster to say the least. I had headaches and I was exhausted, but I pushed through.

A week later my coworker commented on how I looked like weight was off of my shoulders and I was much more level-headed than the week prior. She could actually tell that I had gotten over my withdrawal symptoms and I seemed happier. That was really nice to hear, because I’m always worried about how my emotions present themselves.

Two months off and I’m feeling pretty good. I still have my moments. I’ve always been a crier– after not being able to have a good cry when I needed the emotional release for nearly four years, the tears are welcome. No one has pulled me aside to tell me they think I need to get back on them, so for now I’ll take that as a positive sign too.

I’m relearning to operate in a stressful world without the thing that has helped me get through a lot of hard stuff. Sometimes I wonder if my emotions and reactions are a result of my history, or if they’re just normal feelings related to raising a strong-willed preschooler and infant twins. Or is it that I’ve changed so much as a person in the last four years that I don’t know quite what to expect of myself? It’s probably a little bit of everything. Raising kids is HARD. It’s emotionally and physically draining-I’ve had to grow up and make changes I never dreamed of. It’s confusing, and ugly and beautiful and the best thing I’ve ever done all rolled into one. 1972253_10101347043226636_9202139299031372242_n

When I’m having a rough go, chatting with other moms to find out that they’re all going through the same things helps me feel normal and gives me the boost I need to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Medicated or not, surrounding myself with real, honest moms was [is] a huge part of my recovery success and one of the best things I could’ve done.

I know that there’s a chance I may need to take medication again in the future. I needed it once before kids and I needed it for nearly four years after. I’m ok with what the future holds in that department-either way, I know that I’m always going to be trying to be the best me I can be for my three children and my husband. That won’t ever change.

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Adult Time-Outs: Lessons From Postpartum Rage

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As part of my recovery from PPD, I learned through lots of expensive therapy that I also experienced what’s called postpartum rage. What could be a simple annoyance to a regular person could send me flying off the handle. My rage manifested itself in yelling, lots and lots of yelling. Occasionally there were slammed doors and a desire to hit wIMG_1612alls-nearly all of it was directed toward my husband, but upon my return to work (pre-diagnosis) I reacted poorly to stressors and would find myself crying in my office, angry that I hadn’t been able to contain my frustrations or explain myself without becoming a blubbering idiot. My emotions during that time cost me a lot of professional respect that I’m still trying to gain back.

The birth of my twin girls brought a whole new set of stressors, but I didn’t experience the PPD/A to the extent I did with my son because I was prepared and so was my doctor.

Now that my son is older and he can read and understand my tone and body language, I have to work extra hard to contain my urges to express my gigantic frustrated feelings with loud words, slammed cabinet doors, or throwing a toy outside on the porch, aka “toy time out” when he accidentally-on-purpose tries to hit his sisters or nearly breaks the TV with said toy seven times. He’s my mini-me: a big-hearted fixer who wants to make and keep everyone happy, but he has just enough mischief behind those big blue eyes and smart-alec in his mouth to push every single one of my buttons. We butt heads a lot because we are so alike. Lately, I’m finding that he’s picking up on my yelling and it breaks my heart that he’s learned that from me. As a result, I’m trying to be extra aware of my triggers and follow through. Sometimes I walk away, but walking away isn’t always possible with the ten-month-old mobile twins in the mix. Sometimes I try to distract or deflect our attention from the stressor, even if that means TV, candy, or something I might find more annoying or would normally deny. Going outside always seems to help us both. Still, there are plenty of times when I lose my composure and I yell. When that happens, I try my best to walk away for just a minute to pull myself together, and then I explain my “big feelings” and talk about why I yelled. I also apologize and remind him that I always, always love him, even if I get mad or frustrated. We attempt special one-on-one time when we can, and I do my best to use positive reinforcement.

I need time-outs from more than just my son. The other night my husband tried to express his frustration with my addiction to screen time. I understood his underlying point, but his delivery frustrated me and I worked myself into anger (this happens a lot with us-he’s a man of few words and I expect lengthy discussions and explanations.) As I lay in bed trying to go to sleep, I felt the heat burning a hole in my tongue, and in order to resist saying things that were unnecessary and downright mean, I put myself in time out by exiting the room and laying on the couch in the dark. Twenty minutes later, he found me asleep and when I awoke, apologetic. He didn’t deserve my outburst.

I try to think of myself as s toddler when I’m frustrated. What are the roots of my rage? It’s usually the big three: fatigue, hunger, or feeling like I’m tapped out. If I can stop myself just before the yelling starts, or even in the midst of it, I address these things first. Snacks, snuggles with my three kiddos, sneaking off to take a rare Saturday afternoon nap, and trying to use my words to explain why I acted out and ask what we can do together to fix it all help. Communication is key with my husband. Venting to friends and patient coworkers helps me survive when I’m at the office.

I’m far from being the perfect parent, but I know that I still fall into the realm of normal. My son is not old enough to understand this, but I remember my mom saying “I love you, I will always love you, but I do not like you very much right now.” We all have those moments. All of us—and that’s okay.

Some of us just have to work a little bit harder to make sure they’re fewer and farther between.

 

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Should New ICD-10 Code Reference Puerperal Psychosis?

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Doctors At The General AssemblyA recent blog post at Supercoder exclaims there will be a new code for Postpartum Depression in the ICD-10. What’s the ICD? The ICD ” is the standard diagnostic tool for epidemiology, health management and clinical purposes, according to WHO. This includes the analysis of the general health situation of population groups.” In simple terms, the ICD is where codes for diagnoses and treatment are found and then used by doctors for your charts and for insurance purposes. Of course, it is also used for research and tracking purposes as well (epidemiology).

One would think this is good news as it changes the convolutions from the ICD-9 and simplifies it into one code. But in my personal opinion, this is not a good step for anyone. Why not?

Because, according to the blog post at Supercoder, this new code will reflect a diagnosis of Postpartum Depression as Puerperal Psychosis. What’s the ONE thing we always, always, always cry from the rooftops?

Yup.

POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION IS NOT PSYCHOSIS.

And yet, in the new version of the diagnostic bible for medical professionals, postpartum depression will indeed, become psychosis.

Why the change?

According to Medicaid’s page regarding the switch from ICD-9 to ICD-10, “The ICD-10 code set is much better at describing the current practice of medicine, and has the flexibility to adapt as medicine changes.”

In my humble, non-professional, survivor opinion, this is not a move forward. Instead, this is a step back. We have fought so very hard to differentiate postpartum depression from psychosis. For women, it is an important distinction to make when seeking help. With media sensationalism, the cases the public hears about are rooted in psychosis but often referred to as postpartum depression. This is makes the need to differentiate between psychosis and depression urgent. Women and their loved ones need to be reassured that not all cases of Perinatal Mood Disorders are psychosis. In fact, Psychosis is extremely rare and doesn’t always end in death despite carrying the highest risk for both infanticide and suicide.

In reading the code information page at the ICD-10 website, postpartum depression is mentioned and explained in detail. It’s done quite well, actually. However, the fact remains that the leading words are “puerperal psychosis.”

According to Wikipedia, the definition of “Puerperal Psychosis” is “a term that covers a group of mental illnesses with the sudden onset of psychotic symptoms following childbirth. A typical example is for a woman to become irritable, have extreme mood swings and hallucinations, and possibly need psychiatric hospitalization.” While this does indeed describe Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders, emphasis must be placed upon the fact that psychotic symptoms are not part of all of those diagnoses found under the Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorder umbrella. Only one – Psychosis, involves psychotic symptoms.

I did not struggle with Psychosis but rather with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I experienced a near-psychotic break as a result of a negative reaction to medication but it resolved once my medication changed. (This is why it is so important to communicate with your physician about any changes in behavior while on any psychiatric medicine).

While I appreciate the effort to simplify the coding for Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders, the road this starts us down does not seem to clarify much of anything for women, for doctors, or for the media. The results of this change may prove to be a further hindrance to treatment and increase sensationalism with rare cases ending in infanticide and suicide. Imagine a young mother in a room with an untrained physician being informed that she’s just scored positive on the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale and with this diagnosis of Puerperal Psychosis, she’ll need medication, etc. One would hope physicians would be better but there’s always the what if…the what if that I hear all too much from mothers who have experienced the untrained doctors. Perhaps this is what frightens me most.

I would love to hear the opinion of others regarding this change to the coding for Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders. Do you think it’s a step in the right direction? Or do you see it as a hindrance to treatment and outreach? Codes are so rarely discussed publicly so perhaps it won’t matter in the grand scheme and I’m over-reacting. But in a world where labels matter (and they do, in the Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorder world), this, in my personal opinion, only ends in a huge leap backward.

Chime in below with thoughts and questions.

(photo credit: “Doctors At General Assembly”, Waldo Jaquith @flickr)

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