Wednesday, August 18, 2010

How Not To Say "I Was Wrong"

Nope, I don't see any compassion here.
I tried really hard today to educate Ms. Pat Brown.

It is clear that she does not understand the difference between situational depression and clinical depression.  It is clear that she has never suffered from clinical depression herself, nor has she any first hand experience with clinical depression in a loved one.  It is further clear from her own website that she has no medical or psychiatric training whatsoever. 

I have interacted with this woman in e-mail all day.  I have urged her to educate herself, and she has repeatedly stated that in her opinion, there is no such thing as chemically-based depression, postpartum or otherwise.  Nevermind that basically everyone in the medical field agrees that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance.  Pat Brown thinks that if you've had a baby and you're depressed, it's all your own fault.

It is clear from my 12 hours of dealing with her that she profoundly lacks empathy and compassion.  This just proves it (you have to click through - it's appalling, and I can't figure out how to post it here).  She even bragged about that lovely little Facebook status update on Twitter!

You have to be a pretty sick, twisted bitch to bully pregnant women and new mothers - especially new mothers who are suffering from PPD.  You have to have a heart made of ice to think that it's ok to trivialize the struggles of this vulnerable population, to discourage them from seeking help, to blame the victim.  As I said in my initial letter to her - women suffering from PPD judge themselves enough, we don't need the judgment of people like her.  She's just kicking women when they're down.  That's reprehensible.  Who does that? 

I'm pretty sure that Cruella de Brown kicks kittens and skins puppies in her spare time.  She probably also stops by the hospital to pinch all the newborns until they cry, too.

She's a professional bullshitter.  That is all.  She is not a doctor.  She is not a psychiatrist.  She is not an expert.  The jury is still out on whether or not she is even human.  Certainly I have never met a human being who lacked compassion so profoundly (but I live in the midwest, where people are generally nice and make sense).  She goes on Nancy Grace and other shows like that and speculates - with no regard at all for the facts of any case that she's talking about.  Why should we listen to her opinion when it comes to PPD?  Answer:  We shouldn't.  And AOL News should be ashamed of themselves for listening to her in the first place.

Maybe she DOES have a mental illness.  However, just like the mothers who harm their children, her mental illness does NOT excuse her behavior.

Here are the facts - postpartum depression is a debilitating mood disorder which has several possible causes.  Some of those causes are hormonal (estrogen, progesterone, thyroid, oxytocin, and a host of other chemicals at work in the brain and body during and after pregnancy can cause disruption).  Some of the causes are situational (sleep deprivation, lack of support, etc.)... (train of thought derailment...  please stand by)

You know, I took a class in college that talked about personality and how it develops, and we talked about all the different theories - nature, nurture, evolutionary, biological, etc. and each day in class, the professor would repeat that this or that factor was "necessary, but not sufficient," meaning that it played a part in the story, but it wasn't the whole story.  That phrase stuck with me.  Whenever anyone has a black and white opinion about something, especially something as complicated as personality or disease or disorder, I always hear that prof's voice in my head, saying, "It is necessary, but it is not sufficient....."

Anyway, back to the facts...  PPD IS treatable.  The most effective treatment regimen combines therapy and medication.  Many depression meds (including Zoloft, which saved me) are approved for use while breastfeeding, so don't let nursing stop you from seeking help if you need it.  Depression isn't just "sadness." (Mine manifested itself in the form of anger, frustration, crippling anxiety, intrusive thoughts about harm coming to the baby {or doing the baby harm}, and a deep desire to get as far away from my family as possible before I "screwed them up."  I knew, in some deep part of my brain that was still "me" that it didn't make any sense, but I couldn't stop myself from having those feelings and thoughts - even though I wanted so desperately to be happy and normal.)

If you even think for a moment that you might be experiencing something abnormal, please talk to your doctor right away.  There are lots of shades of gray with PPD.  You might have a mild case that can be "cured" with a little extra sleep and support, or maybe improvements in diet and exercise.  You might need medication and therapy.  You might need even more intervention.  Some women, like Heather Armstrong of, are hospitalized, temporarily, until things are under control.

Please don't listen to the Pat Browns of the world who would shame you and blame you for feeling the way you do.  Pat Brown does NOT know what she's talking about.  Listen to all of us who have been there, and who have come out on the other side of it.  It is not your fault.  It is not your fault.  It is not your fault. 


Yo said...

Well said Amy! I agree wholeheartedly with you and could go on and on about my struggles seeing as how I just had a baby 4 months ago but that is for another time. In a private email perhaps? Anyway, please don't let this obvious assine woman get you upset. We want a happy healthy mommy right now! :-)

Erika said...

Just when I thought I was nauseated completely by her take on PPD, it got worse when I read that awful Facebook stuff, and those nitwits who agreed so wholeheartedly with her. She really just doesn't give a damn - That's about all there is to it. And unfortunately, I'm not sure there's a cure for that.

Anna said...

I've never heard of this woman before (lucky me - if that isn't a good reason to move to Australia then I don't know what is!)

When I look at her picture all I can hear in my head is "She's a MAN, baby!" (from the movie Austin Powers). Perhaps that would go some way to explaining her complete lack of understanding for women struggling to cope with a baby as well as other issues?? But then that would be insulting men then I yeah, not quite sure if she is actually human or just the most insensitive and bitter bitch I've heard in a long time.

Well, I'm not one to actually personally attack someone I don't give a crap about so she must have annoyed me. Must be something to do with having been depressed for 2 years due to a CHEMICAL IMBALANCE. My cause was the lovely 'harmless' anti-histamine Zyrtec. The onset was gradual but the change on withdrawal was immediate (within 24hrs), it was a complete personality change overnight.

The thought of having to cope with my baby as well as all the shit I used to cope with whilst depressed is just plain scary. My heart goes out to mothers struggling to get through each day and I encourage them to reach out for support and assistance.

Jen said...

Damn cops. Can't tell em anything. But thanks Amy for your voice...