Daily Archives: April 11, 2015

Postpartum Depression- Jessie Heninger

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This is a guest post written for us by Jessie Heninger. I’d like to thank Jessie for her patience in me getting this posted in the middle of this crazy writing class! I know you’ll enjoy:

 I’ve always been a healthy, happy person. Except for some dramatic years in middle school you could say I was “emotionally stable”. Not to say that there was never sadness, or anger or hurt in my life. Of course there was but I was equipped to handle it. I grew up in a loving supportive home, I was married to a wonderful man, I had a degree in psychology and was currently involved in ministry…

Then we were asked to leave our job. My parents moved across the country taking my sisters with them, and I was pregnant with our first child, a girl. Through it all I felt a calm and peace I couldn’t explain. We moved and bought our first home, I nested hardcore and then my little baby girl was born. Only, it was a boy and he was early. He had trouble nursing but I wouldn’t give in. I had already compromised on my natural birth and I wasn’t willing to give up nursing not when I knew all the health benefits.

Weeks then months into motherhood I was in pain every time I fed him. I was lonely, we were new in town plus I was shy and because my husband was a minister I wasn’t sure how to be myself at church.

Every time I nursed I cried. My Doctor and husband encouraged me to stop nursing but I wouldn’t. Our son was small and very fussy we weren’t sleeping well at night. I wasn’t happy, overjoyed, or angelic. One day sort of bled into another day and I was a wreck. I felt ashamed that I wasn’t the mother I knew I should be, the mother I had dreamed I’d be.

In truth, I didn’t realize how badly I was doing. My husband saw it and called my grandmother, somewhat frantically. She came and stayed with me and that was a turning point. I was finally able to admit that something was wrong.

Around the same time I was beginning to build stronger friendships and spring was coming. One day standing at the sink doing dishes with the sun streaming in the window my depression lifted. I felt like myself again, and went and bought some regular jeans.

It took me a long time to really understand and accept what happened to me. To even use the term postpartum depression. The more I talked about it to other women the more I found they had been through something similar. It was a relief but also a shock that so many of us had experienced depression, but I hadn’t known. Certainly the literature was out there and the hospital was clear about the warning signs of postpartum but it wasn’t real until people I loved and knew told me their stories. Stories that were similar to mine.

I decided that the shame and quiet surrounding depression following the birth of a child had to stop. And it could start with me being honest, even though I was a pastor’s wife. It’s been really amazing to see other women join me in this. To just be real about it all. I tell pregnant women, “It’s more important for a baby to have a mentally healthy mom then breast milk.” not because nursing isn’t great (it is! I had wonderful success with my second child) but because, while It wasn’t the only reason, I know that was a big part of my own struggle. I want to share my story so maybe someone else can benefit from it.

Likewise, I know there are other women who struggled with other things and maybe if we can just be real about it then a new mom might be able to avoid some of the same pitfalls. And if not avoid them completely then know that there is help and healing and certainly joy coming. There is no shame in being depressed, or angry or scared. But there is also help, and together we can build each other up. We can create a safe place for women to share in this journey together.

Jessie Heninger is the wife of a handsome family minister, mother to two imaginative little boys, and writer. She’s been published in “Hey Doll Vintage Magazine,” and “From Scratch Magazine” she’s also received a really kind rejection letter from “Relevant Magazine.” She’s silly, loves dogs, vintage things, and even sews a little. You can follow her exploits at “Confessions of a Housewife,” http://www.jessieheninger.wordpress.com

Mind Room

Laura P. Schulman, MD, MA:

One of the most touching and thought provoking poems I have read and meditated in a long time. Please leave comments on Sheldon’s original post, thanks.

Originally posted on Sheldon Kleeman:

It isn’t easy living

in a one

room house

Where all your eyes

are upon

my walls

Keeping all

my toes

in check

What terrible

twist of fate

To have this

clock of eyes

Instead of there

being these

hands of time

But still in all

there mite

be some

Who want

to come

and see

where ………

A mind that

seldom moves

I’ve collected

to much

thought

instead of

rooms to live

So if you come

be sure

not to step

There isn’t

room to spare

or even

a spot

For all has

been taken over

with my

over sized

crowded

Mind

View original


Why I Quit

After my big breakdown in May 2006, I discovered I could not longer write with the facility I once had.  I tried cutting back on my assignments and doing fewer stories, but I couldn’t write as well as I had before.  And the deadlines were stressing me out..  I knew that if I wanted to be well, I needed to cut back on the stress in my life.

My difficulties were highlighted by the last assignment I resolved to do.  I had been asked to write a series of profiles on Mississippi’s community colleges–all fifteen of them.  It was going to be a nicely-paying assignment, but I discovered that doing it was like trying to roll a huge stone up a hill.  I couldn’t think clearly enough to make them as good as I wanted them to be.  I wound up following a strict outline for each one that was restrictive but comforting in that it limited the scope of the articles to what I was able to do at the time.

I started each article with a short history of the school, followed by what the school was known for today.  Then I wrote a bit about whatever was new at the school, whether it was a building, a degree program, or an administrative team.  Then I included a short interview with a student of the school, then wrote a conclusion.  Most of the information came from the public relations office of the schools, and I simply rewrote it in my own words.  I was too tired and sick to give the effort to do very original work.  The stories were accepted, and I got my last paycheck as a freelancer in July 2006.

Turned out I got out of the business just in time–the newspaper industry started a stunning downturn as more and more people turned to the internet for news.  The recession hit and cut newspaper advertising by a huge amount, and many of the outlets I wrote for changed hands in a consolidation of ownership.  Most stopped using freelancers altogether.  And the same trends continue today, with reduced staffs at most newspapers and magazines working harder than ever to produce content.  Many outlets that still use freelancers often ask that they work for free in return for “exposure”.  I am proud to say that I never worked for free, but it’s a reality many beginning freelancers face.

I hope this short series has encouraged and educated some of you on what freelancing is all about and how you can go about getting started.  Good luck and God bless your efforts.


a-z challenge: j

One letter, one broad concept, three words. J is for jester, joker and jongleur and I claim all three, although I conform only slightly to them (I am also not Batman’s nemesis). My biggest departure from the dictionary definitions is that I don’t do it in public, or for money.

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I have a sense if humour that’s fairly British, but not entirely. It ranges from fuckwitted to intelligent and I blame all of my (too many) bad puns on my dog. I can improvise rhymes and lyrics at the drop of a hat. I’m an introvert, I can only be successfully social when I’m revved right up; I use humour as a smokescreen I throw on like a cloak (whoa double simile there) and afterwards I’m exhausted and ideally need solitude for rather a long time , to recharge and recover. The jester is deathly scared of almost everything and so out it comes, bells jingling, happy to look foolish as long as the laughter is not unkind. And it dances and capers as fast as it possibly can and talks and talks and talks and jokes and puns and pulls funny faces and sucks up all if the spotlights and limelights. Later, possibly after impulsiveness has dragged it all over the freaking place, the life and soul walks quietly home, indulging in those clichéd tears of clowns. I love and loathe the jester and all its jolly japes.

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Being funny can get you liked and loved and laid. I do not add words like dry, sarcastic, gallows etc to my sense of humour. It just is what it is until it isn’t, and on the occasions when I’ve lost it, I feel desolate. Humour has been a damn fine and defensive crutch for me forever. It has caused people to call me crazy, odd, eccentric, mad, insane all if my life and I loved that – until I was psychotic, sick, sore, depressed, too revved. Then those labels just hurt like fuck and didn’t stop. Now I own the label bipolar and people assume it’s yet another way of saying she’s off her fucking trolley. The type of manic depressive celebs and artists that make the most sense to me are comedians, because when they do a show while manic, all I see is agony. Watch somebody go through the emotional motions of a small child – calm, happy, confident, revved, overwrought, tantrum, tears – that’s me, when mania or mixed episodes are around. You know when a kid gets to that inconsolable stage, where you cannot reach them at all? The one usually resolved either by go to your room or hop into bed and I’ll tell you a story? That. Not a choice and not fun either.

Thank goodness for the jester, the ability to make others laugh, to comfort or distract them, to raise spirits and make magic. Fuck the jester and the illusions and the loneliness. Balloons in two flavours, helium and lead.

Another word for jester is fool, and fools are always fools, but not always foolish.

Images used:
Cirque du Soleil
Tarot
Norman Rockwell

Today’s Vocabulary Word: Misophonia

For a change of pace, I thought I’d try something a little bit educational today.

I recently learned a new word: misophonia. Its literal meaning is “hatred of sound”, which is an issue for those of us with sensitivities to certain types of noise. They may include sounds like the thudding from a passing car whose stereo is cranked up, startling sounds such as screams from children, and crowd noise.

While misophonia is not uncommon among the general population, it’s rampant in people with bipolar disorder. I’ve been this way my entire life. What child doesn’t like birthday parties? Me, that’s who. Popping balloons and loud games were torture for me. As an adult, I also become quickly overwhelmed by ringing telephones and other routine office noises, which makes it difficult to focus at work. And repetitive sounds, like barking dogs, can make me crazy if they go on for too long.

Needless to say, living in a world where noise is a constant companion can be hellish. I’ve had to learn to go into a quiet room and turn on a fan to block out sound; the other thing I do is put in my noise-canceling earbuds and listen to calming music on my iPod. Either is preferable to flying into a homicidal rage, and it doesn’t take very long to get my emotions under enough control to return to the festivities. I also avoid places and situations where I don’t have the ability to manipulate the environment, such as loud concerts and large gatherings.

Some of it I’ve learned to live with, and some of it I’ll never be able to tolerate if I live to be a hundred years old. But while misophonia does limit me somewhat, I take comfort in knowing I’m not alone in this. I don’t know what the statistics say about the number of people who have it, but I think it’s safe to say there are a lot. Our world is too loud and too intense; let’s bring down the volume a little, shall we?