Postpartum Depression: Raising Awareness

Postpartum Depression: Raising Awareness

You Don't Need Experience To Bring Awareness
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Women’s Wellness is a useful class. It teaches women's health, from depression and physical health, to the female reproductive system. I learned a lot. Near the beginning of the semester, we had to pick a book, and later, present a project on a specific subject of a topic we were to discuss. My partner had dropped the class, but my professor was gracious enough to let me do it on my own. With Free reign, I decided on the topic of Depression, specifically Postpartum Depression (PPD). I picked it because I had seen reports of mothers having Postpartum, and in a specific case, it was mentioned that a woman’s husband did not believe in her feelings, so she ignored it until it eventually escalated into the murder of her children. That woman didn’t have a chance.

But, this is definitely not a regular case.

In my presentation, I wanted to focus on preventative measures, maybe so PPD wouldn't escalate to this degree. My goal is to make it personal for people, so they can understand that Postpartum is real and any woman is susceptible. I’ll give a little background on Postpartum Depression. It is a medical depression, that is usually misdiagnosed. It is different from the common “baby blues” and Postpartum Adjustment Disorder. Postpartum Adjustment Disorder is characterized by deep disappointment, but isn’t debilitating and usually caused by stressors like C-sections (Kleiman); the mother can still go through the motions of the day. Baby blues is even less severe, but can be confused with PPD. It causes feelings of inadequacy, crying, frustration and sadness.

Typical Postpartum symptoms include: crying, sadness, concentration, losing interest in hobbies, insomnia, no energy, change in diet, and hopelessness.

The feelings involved shouldn’t be discredited

Being an English major, there was one way, in the allotted time, I felt I could convey my message fully. I found a poem written by a woman who had experienced PPD; I cut and pasted a few stanzas and used it as a hand out.

“The Hole” by Caitlyn Blake is a representation of what women can feel due to PPD.

I ended up selecting a book on Postpartum called, “This Isn’t What I Expected: Overcoming Postpartum Depression (second edition),” written by Valerie Raskin, M.D and Karen Kleiman, M.S.W. It gave a lot of information as a guide for those that have been diagnosed. I used the book for most of my information. It is interactive, comforting, and even has a section for spouses. I will say that the terms wife and husband are used, but there is a disclaimer so not to deter same sex couples, which I think is pretty neat.

The ultimate message is that women do not have to hide. Postpartum Depression is normal. There are support groups, books (like the one I used), and other professional help. If you are going through this, you aren’t crazy, and you don’t have to “be strong”. One out of five women go through postpartum depression (Kleiman). It can happen to anyone.

If you haven’t experienced PPD, then I hope this article has given you some insight and motivation to raise awareness and help others. If you have, I hope you know that there are options.

You aren't alone.

Cover Image Credit: Pintrest

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I Drank Lemon Water For A Week And Here's What Happened

It has already changed my life.

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There are so many health crazes out there now, it's hard to tell what actually works and what doesn't; or more importantly what is healthy and what is making your body worse. I read about simply drinking lemon water and I figured that didn't sound gross or bad for me so I figured I would give it a try. I've been drinking it consistently for a week and a half and I already notice some results.

I've never been a fan of lemon in my water, I always refuse it at restaurants. You definitely have to find your sweet spot in lemon to water ratio, in what tastes good to you. I personally cut the lemon into quarters and use on quarter per day. I put the lemon quarter in the bottle and then continuously fill with water throughout the day. I still get the yummy lemon flavor all day because I do not squeeze the lemon. It took about a bottle or two to get used to the lemon flavor, and now I just crave it.

Lemon water is supposed to speed up your metabolism. Obviously, a week is not long enough to tell if this is fact or fiction but I have noticed a change in appetite. I feel like I do not get hungry as often as I did before. I saw this effect within 24-48 hours of starting the experiment. This seems opposite to a fast metabolism but we'll see.

I definitely feel more hydrated with lemon water. I drink a lot of water anyways, about 80 oz a day but for some reason with the lemon, it makes me feel better. I don't feel as sluggish, I'm not getting hot as easily, and my skin feels amazing. I am slightly skeptical though because the lemon almost makes my tongue dry requiring me to drink more water, so I have upped my intake by about 20oz. I'm unsure if the hydration is due to the extra water, the lemon, or both!

My face is clearing up and feels so much softer too, in only a week! I have not gotten a new pimple since I have started my lemon water kick, may be coincidence but I'm not going to argue with it.

I also feel skinnier as I feel like I'm not holding as much water weight. I only exercise lightly, for the most part, walking around a mile or two a day so we can eliminate exercise factor to the slender feeling.

I have a messy stomach. Everything upsets it, and even though lemons are very acidic, they have not affected me in a negative way at all. It almost seems like the lemon water is helping me digest the difficult foods that my stomach doesn't like. I'm nowhere near a doctor so don't trust my word but it seems to be working for me.

From the effects I've felt so far, it also seems like lemon water may be a great hangover cure! I haven't tried it but I don't see why it wouldn't work. I can't say a negative thing about drinking lemon water so far expect you have to buy the lemons! If you try this for yourself though just make sure you are using an enamel saving mouthwash or toothpaste since lemons aren't so great for your teeth.

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First-Semester Blues Is Very Much A Thing, Trust Me

The truth about first semester feelings no one really talks about.

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I love college don't get me wrong. The first month of college has already beat my high school experience by a long shot.

Last week, I got the chance to return home for a while during my fall break. Of course, I took advantage of the opportunity and spent some time back at my old stomping grounds in my high school yearbook class. I got to talk to students about how yearbook shaped me, led me to my career, and helped me build one of my favorite lifelong friendships. I caught up with some old pals and had long conversations with my yearbook advisor.

During one of my conversations with my yearbook advisor, one question she asked me helped me to finally admit something.

"What is one thing that surprised you about college?"

How emotionally challenging it is for me to go back every time I come home. How sad and lonely I feel walking back up to my room after being surrounded by so much love for a short time. How much I wish I could just go home some days and never come back.

I have so much going for me at ASU. I joined a sorority and I'm radio DJing. I even want to join another club next semester.

I got myself as involved as I possibly could, but I still don't understand why I'm so unhappy.

According to an article in Seventeen Magazine,

"Last year UCLA's Higher Education Research Institute (which has studied the lives of incoming college students every year for the last 50 years in its American Freshman report) found that the 150,000 freshmen they surveyed rated their emotional health as lower than any class since 1985. When asked to rate their emotional health compared to their peers, only about 51-percent said theirs was 'in the highest 10 percent' of people or even 'above average.'"

Life truly does move fast. It feels as if just yesterday I was entering my senior year of high school. Now, I'm in college fighting to make a name for myself all over again.

It's hard and every single college freshman will tell you that. No one will admit it right away, but transitioning into college life actually isn't easy and it doesn't happen right away. It's October and I'm still not fully settled yet. It's emotionally draining.

While it may still be a challenge now, someday things will get better. No matter how sad I get and no matter how hard life may seem, I will keep chugging along. The light at the end of the tunnel will show up sometime.

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