Every time there is media attention to postpartum psychosis or postpartum depression, I am approached by journalists with the same question: Does this attention help get the word out, or does it make it worse for postpartum women?
It does both.
Recently, there seems to be better, more responsible, well-researched attention placed on postpartum tragedies, in particular, naming them appropriately, as psychotic episodes, rather than postpartum depression.
Still, women with postpartum depression, are scared, nonetheless. The sensationalism and frequent misrepresentation of term only intensifies their already vulnerable selves, often, leaving them paralyzed and silent.
So again, I offer these words of guidance:
10 Reasons Why You Should NOT Suffer in Silence
While some of these may seem obvious to some of you, they bear repeating for women who find themselves currently struggling:
Why you should NOT suffer in silence
1) It prolongs your suffering. You are less likely to get the help you need if you withhold vital information, such as symptoms or concerns.
2) It reinforces your symptoms. Resistance creates persistence.
3) It highlights your isolation. Secluding yourself from those who can help you may be your preference but it is not in your best interest.
4) It intensifies your negative thoughts. The less you let others know how you feel, the more likely you are to ruminate and allow your inner critical voice spin in your head.
5) It thwarts healing. Social contact, soothing hugs, reassuring voices, eye-contact from someone you love
6) It delays treatment. You may hope that this goes away on its own, but if you wait too long, your symptoms may become harder to treat.
7) It perpetuates stigma. By retreating, you paradoxically maintain the value of not disclosing --thereby enabling healthcare providers to get away with not asking the right questions and not taking the appropriate steps.
8) It is not being true to yourself. You owe it to yourself to acknowledge what is going on and find the courage to ask for help from people you trust.
9) It establishes a bad precedent for your marriage. If you are not good at communicating how you REALLY feel, it’s time to learn now.Your marriage will prosper in the long run.
10) It heightens your mistaken belief that no one can help you and that you are alone with this battle. This is not true.
Reach out. Speak. Trust. Believe. Be your own best advocate.
Copyright 2013 Karen Kleiman, MSW, LCSW