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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Postpartum Depression - Pros of Prozac

I was contacted by author Beca Mark regarding a book she wrote about her experience with depression. It's only 100 pages long, with the purpose that someone struggling through the fog of depression (of any kind, really) could commit to reading and finishing it without feeling overwhelmed. She sent me a PDF of the book so I could check it out, and I spent time off and on reading it throughout that day.

Pros of Prozac: A Faith-based Memoir of Overcoming the Stigma turned out to the be perfect read for me this week. As I've been sharing these posts on depression/postpartum, I've felt underwhelmed by the support. I'm making the mistake of comparing it to the infertility series, and that's my own fault. The two subjects are very different, and the reactions are going to be as well. I had just hoped for more of a discussion as with the infertility series but, instead, the PPD/PPP posts mostly seemed to go out into the world without making any ripples.

Mark's book addresses just that topic- the stigma. The hesitance people have to acknowledge, let alone talk about, depression.

Mark shares her own journey, and how after her son was born she sunk deeper into a depression she hadn't known she'd been dealing with for years prior. It took her over a year to admit there was a problem to seek help. Initially, her midwife shamed her. She felt no support as she tried to incorporate anti-depressants as part of her treatment. I received similar reactions from friends when I mentioned I was going to start taking medication again (long before Aspen was born) and it was startling. But when Prozac was introduced into Mark's life, she felt like a new person. Like someone who could properly regulate her thoughts and emotions without feeling helpless. That is exactly how I felt when I had been on my anti-depressants for a few weeks.

Why can we not readily accept and support anti-depressants as valuable treatment? Why can we not readily accept and support women who are not in a constant state of bliss after having a baby?

Mark writes about how her family chose not to talk about the mental illness that was prevalent in other family members. It wasn't until she started talking freely about her own experience that she discovered four of her six sisters also lived with depression and anxiety. It was there all along, but no one wanted to talk about it. I wish that wasn't the case for so many people.

I enjoyed being able to read about Mark's experience. I always feel buoyed up knowing I'm not alone, even though I wish no one had to experience anxiety or PPD or PPP or any other illness that makes them feel like a crazy person.

I'm grateful Beca reached out to me and shared her book with me. I'm grateful there are more people out there who are advocating for discussions on depression and treating it properly (which varies based on the individual, of course). As we emailed back and forth, Beca invited me to check out the Facebook page for her LDS/Mormon Postpartum Support group. There is also a private, closed group that anyone is welcome to join.

2 comments:

  1. I really appreciated this series even if it didn't get much of a discussion going. I am surprised by the fact that mental illness is still looked down on by many, as if it is a sign of weakness. In fact, some of the strongest people I know are mentally I'll people because they have to fight so hard emotionally each and every day just to survive. I am similar to the author you mentioned in this post, I had always had depression, it just didn't really manifest itself until after Anabelle was born. I had it a little in high school, but I always thought it was more situational than physiological. I am so glad i finally got on medication and went to a councilor. I felt like a whole new person and handled life so much better. I wish there was more "awareness" about mental illness, especially depression. I am pretty sure we all know about cancer and diabetes, but there is so much that a lot of people don't know about mental illness, at least the truth, and not the stigmas associated with it. This series is so important to get the word out. Thank you and know that you always have my support, even if I don't live in your neighborhood.

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  2. I was out of town during this whole series, and I've been slacking on blogging lately, so I'm late to the party!! I have no problems whatsoever admitting I've been on antidepressants for eight years now. I think it was the smartest thing I could have done, and I'm so happy I took the first step to getting that help that I needed. I've done research on how the medications I'm taking affect your fetus, your birth, breastfeeding, etc... and I feel completely confident that it's the right thing for me to be staying on them throughout my pregnancies and nursing. And I don't think I'm harming my babies. I definitely got some judgement about that, but I knew what the research has found and I knew I was making the right choice for ME. Anyways, thanks for bringing more awareness to the situation, it's very interesting on multiple levels, and I'm sure its helping more people than you know.

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