The Founder of Speak Away the Stigma shares her story

Author Kendra Bell  host the podcast “Calming Sense” where she discusses mental health related topics.  Kendra reached out to find out more about Speak Away the Stigma and what led Christina Lattimore to become a Mental Health Advocate.  Check out Calming Sense and find out more about Christina, how mental illness has impacted her family and the future plans for Speak Away the Stigma.  img_0234

Kendra’s book, Battle Scars of the Mind: Do You Have What It Takes to Overcome the Enemy’s Temptations? is available on Amazon.  “Using biblical narratives and personal stories of others overcoming atrocities, Kendra brings a much needed, fresh insight to the important issues we face in our society. Using compassion and empathy, she shows you how to:
•Challenge negative thoughts
•Embrace healing
•Avoid temptation using biblical principles
•Overcome rejection
•Receive the gift of forgiveness, grace, and mercy
•Live a life of redemption”

**The November event PTSD & Her has been pushed back, however there will be a different awareness event in October or November!  Sign up to get our updates so you’ll be the first to know about our next event**

 


15 Questions for Your Consideration

“People talk about physical fitness, but mental health is equally important. I see people suffering, and their families feel a sense of shame about it, which doesn’t help. One needs support and understanding…”  Deepika Padukone

 Whenever there is a story about someone with a mental health condition in the news there are a wide range of comments and questions.  No matter if the person was killed, injured themselves or someone else, or if they are just displaying odd behavior, one question that will be found in the comments section:  “Where is the family?”.  While it is  a simple question, the answer can get complicated.

Most recently videos of Maia Campbell have surfaced, and there was a call for LL Cool J to help her (Her mother Bebe Moore Campbell passed away in 2006).  While it is easy to @ someone or retweet the call for help, Mr. Todd Smith, or anyone else, may find if difficult to extended the helping hand she truly needs.

I say this not to discourage anyone from helping someone with a mental health condition, but to help people understand that getting help for an adult isn’t easy.  I don’t want this post to discourage anyone with a mental health condition from opening up to their loved ones, many people that have been diagnosed are living great lives.

The point of this post is to help people understand that helping can get complicated and a support system is necessary (as with any other illness).  Without awareness and proper funding those that struggle with a mental illness will continue have trouble getting help and those that want to help their loved ones will have trouble finding and accessing the resources.

In minority households getting help for a loved one can be difficult because of money, time, awareness and the stigma associated with mental illness in our communities.

Here is a list of questions (and things to remember) I would like people to think about if your your adult daughter, sister, cousin, best friend, mother, wife or child’s mother had a mental health breakdown and was diagnosed with a serious mental illness?  (This could result in the loss of income, a home, or extended hospital stays)  

  1. Would you be embarrassed OR empathetic for your loved one?

In my opinion you can be both.

  1. Who would you turn to in order to get her the help she needs?

Maybe the better question how do you get them to agree to help because you cannot force an adult to go to the doctor.

  1. Would you let her stay in your home?

Remember she could lose her home because of the inability to hold down a job

  1. Would you try to get her admitted for inpatient treatment?

Remember, she is an adult  and she has rights.

  1. Would you have the ability to help pay her medical bills?

Hospitals aren’t free…..

  1. Would you have the ability to help pay for her medication?

Neither is medication…….

  1. Would you have the ability to help pay for basic necessities?

They will need food, clothes, underwear, toiletries…..

  1. Would you have the time to help her get public assistance?

Public assistance may be available but there is an application process.

  1. Would you make the time and effort to ensure she takes her medicine every day?

Again this is an adult and just like most of us when we start to feel better, we stop taking medicine.

  1. How would you get access to speak to her doctor, because doctor patient privileges…..

Yes, this still exist if your loved one has been diagnosed with an illness.

  1. How would you respond when your love one complains about the side effects of the medication?

A few side effects of  medications can include headaches, nausea, tremors, skin rash, fever.

  1. Would you have the money to help pay for an attorney?

It may be to get a Power of Attorney or Guardianship or Custody of children

  1. Would you be be worried about opening up to your friends and neighbors? What do you think they would say?

Many people feel shame when it comes to a loved one’s diagnosis.

  1. Who would you turn to for support for yourself?

Self-care must be a priority if you are helping care for someone else, maybe even get a therapist.

  1. How would you explain the illness to children in the family?

Yes, they deserve an honest explanation.

Read the list of questions again, but replace mental health breakdown with Epilepsy, Cancer, or Rheumatoid Arthritis.   Are the questions easier to answer?  Are your answers the same?


3 Signs It’s Time To See a Therapist

The energy of the mind is the essence of life~Aristotle

     Someone asked me last night, “So how did you know you needed to go see a therapist?”  To be honest, I couldn’t tell him the exact moment I said, “Let me find a therapist”.  I remember I did have a close friend that I discussed the topic with, but I don’t know if she suggested it or I mentioned it first.  The important thing is that I knew it was time to get help…. but what was it about THAT moment?  My answer, I was tired of feeling how I had been feeling and I wanted to get back to being myself.  Despite appearing to be content with my life at the time, I wasn’t happy.  I was actually very sad, over eating, taking EVERYTHING personal, crying often, and either not sleeping  or sleeping my days away.  That is not the life I wanted for myself.

     After I finished a lengthy phone conversation with my friend, the questions stayed in my mind.  “So how did you know you needed to go see a therapist?  “When should I find a therapist?”  In the end, I gave an honest answer, but it didn’t stop me from thinking about how I could better answer the question if I were asked by someone else. After much thinking, I composed a list of my top three suggestions.  DISCLAIMER: I am not a mental health professional, a doctor, nurse, life coach (though some people may disagree)-This is just giving my opinion. 

1. After the death of a loved one

     I would encourage people who have lost a child, a parent, a sibling, a best friend or a spouse to talk to someone, about their feelings.  If the person you lost was extremely close to you, or if there are feelings of guilt or extreme sadness, I would suggest grief counseling.  Everyone deals with death in different ways, you need to make sure you are coping with it in a healthy way.  Many times we have feelings of guilt, thinking about what we could have done to prevent it, or we often think about things we wish we would’ve said or done before they left us.  Talking through those feelings with a professional can make the difference between letting their death consume you and letting their life inspire you.

2.If you are a ‘bag lady or bag man’.

     Did you have an unstable childhood? Have you had several failed relationships?  Do you have anger issues?  Do you blame your failures in life on other people?  If so you should consider seeing a therapist.  Many times the feelings from a bad situation stay with us, and we don’t realize it.  An absent parent can often lead to abandonment issues and a lack of self-love.  Staying in a bad relationship can destroy your self-worth, and make you question everyone’s intentions, preventing you from developing healthy relationships.  Many people think they are justified in feeling how they do.  They believe it is normal because they have lived through these bad situations.  At some point, we have to place those ‘bags’ on the ground and walk away.  Carrying around those constant negative feelings, leave no room for love and happiness in your life, and everyone deserves to be  happy and loved.

3.When things are changing (or you want them to)

     This statement may be too broad, but it is the best phrase, to express the point.  Change is inevitable, however it can be difficult to initiate when we want to make specific changes.  When we want to change but for whatever reason we cannot, it is important to know what is preventing you from moving forward, and a therapist can help you figure that out.  Many people want to change their job, their relationship, their lifestyle, or even their religious beliefs but find that it is difficult. Other people want to get rid of anger issues, trust issues, abandonment issues, body image issues, feelings of guilt, and feelings of insecurity.  So many people stay in their current state because they don’t know what lies on the other side of change. There is an element of fear of the unknown, that is expected. Often we settle in our unhappiness because… that’s part of life, right??  It doesn’t have to be. If you want to change, you can, but not always on your own.

 A therapist does help those who have been diagnosed with a mental illness, and those who may have a mental illness but have not been diagnosed.  A therapist can help you deal with the stress of change in a healthy way.  They can help you look at life with a different perspective, but you must be open to it.  It is such a great feeling to sit and talk to a professional whose job is to just listen and help.  Success in therapy requires you be totally honest with yourself and your therapist.  This person doesn’t know your family or friends; this person does not judge you so you can speak freely.   While finding the right therapist may not be easy, once you have found him or her, you will know it.  So if you are considering getting a therapist, take the first step and look for therapist in your area, set an appointment and keep it! Don’t get discouraged if after a couple of visits the first therapist isn’t the right fit, there are plenty to choose from!  


Dads & Depression: The Recap

“…in some ways, depression made me a better soldier.” ~ Dad & Depression attendee

On  Saturday, June 24, 2017, Speak Away the Stigma held it’s first event, Dads & Depression.  It was held at the Cumberland County Public Library, downtown Fayetteville, NC.  Three mental health professionals were invited to speak and educate the attendees on how depression looks differently in men vs. women, coping skills for men, and how Dad’s depression affects children.  Not only were the speakers informative, they engaged the audience, made them laugh, and integrated real-life scenarios into the conversations to ensure they were relatable to the audience.

Richale R. Reed was the first speaker and after a brief statement about how mental illness had impacted her own family at an early age, she turned her attention to the men in the audience.  “Depression doesn’t look a whole lot different in men”, she stated before she asked the men to share what Depression had been like for them.  Three men stood up and shared a piece of their story, and that was unexpected.  Anger, isolation, and a FullSizeRenderchange in sleep patterns were some words used. In this town full of soldiers and military pride it was thought-provoking when a Veteran admitted, “…in some ways depression made me a better soldier“.  He went on to discuss how when he was no longer a soldier he almost felt he had no purpose.  Richale then discussed how stress can lead to depression, why awareness and your words matter, and why deciding how you want to deal with depression is an important decision that should be made with the help of a therapist.

Travis Andrews was the second speaker.  He too agreed that stress can lead to depression, stating that “...no one was born saying I’m going to be depressed or I am choosing this.”  Travis discussed depression and the single dad as well as coping skills, and he educated the attendees on how family relationships, dysfunction in the home, and adjusting to changes increases stress levels.  Travis asked the audience to define “a man“, and touched on how trying to live within society’s definition does more harm than FullSizeRender_1good.  He also pointed out when men have issues they will often turn to men around them for advice, which he likened to “getting back surgery for a broken arm.”   Why not enlist the help of a professional stranger Travis asked, explaining your most troubling and difficult times should be discussed with someone who won’t judge you, who is bound by confidentiality and whose only interest is helping you resolve your issues.  Also, physical activity was one of the top ways Travis suggested Dad’s cope with stress, stating that simply going for a walk does wonders for the brain.

Joanna Nunez was the final speaker.  Her topic, how Dads depression affects the children, was of particular interest to many in the audience.  Anger, isolation and sleep patterns came up again and Joanna stated that it is common for adults to carry the pain of Dad being angry all of the time or the feelings of being ignored when Dad isolates FullSizeRender_2himself from the family.  She gave a reminder that children not only hear what you say but they also emulate your behavior, so it is important to “…not just discuss behavior but feelings as well.”  Joanna and a dad from the audience role played different reactions children have to “Dad’s voice” and she discussed how “..a child’s reaction tells a lot about the about the parent”.  One piece of information Joanna presented that was a shock to many people is that the effects of Dad’s depression on children were not studied until 2011, studies prior to that centered around only the Mom.  While the studies with dads may be new, the fact that children can be predisposed to mental illness if mom or dad has a diagnosis is well documented.  Joanna suggested that Dads take the time to remember what is fun for them and do those activities.

So what do you do if there is a man in your life that may need some help?  Richale, Travis, and Joanna all agreed that focusing on dad’s behavior is the best way to suggest help.  Statements like “You are angry so see a therapist”, are not likely to be successful.  Instead, bring attention to constant yelling or the change in sleeping patterns,  ask what could be causing the behaviors, and suggest talking to a someone may be a good idea.   Dads are often a child’s first friend and the first person they look up to.  If you are a dad or know a dad that may be depressed reach out to them and to see if they need to talk.  Six million men are affected by depression every year so if you are one of them, rest assured you are not alone.

Psychology Today, your health care provider or even your primary care doctor are some places you can find a therapist in your area. Follow @SpeakAwaytheStigma on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to find out about our next event!


“Everyone can be part of the solution, if we know what to look for…” Q&A with Joanna Nunez for Dads & Depression Event

On June 24 Speak Away the Stigma is hosting Mental Health Conversations: Dads & Depression.  Mental Health Professional Joanna Nunez will be one of the speakers.  Read more about why Joanna knew from an early age she wanted to be in the Mental Health Field.  Find out why she believes that sharing stories can eliminate the stigma, and why Depression impacts more that just the person with the diagnosis.  The event will be held in Fayetteville, NC at the Cumberland County Headquarters Library Downtown from 2-4pm.


Joanna Nunez MSW, LCAS, LCSW, CCTP
Hometown/Current City:  Fayetteville
Education:  UNC-Charlotte, East Carolina University (graduate)
Name of Practice: Square One Counseling PLLC
Q:  Why did you choose a career in Mental Health?
A:  From about the 8th grade on I was fascinated by the nature vs nurture debate. How could two people from the same household experience the same event and have different outcomes? I was hooked from that point on.
Q:  What makes you a great Mental Health Professional?
A:  I am extremely non judgmental, to the point where I don’t think I’m shockable anymore. I won’t judge your past, your lifestyle or decisions you’ve made. I’m just here to help.
Q:  Why do you believe there is a stigma surrounding mental illness and mental health?
A:  I think many people don’t fully understand that there is a spectrum of levels of care- and that most people have received outpatient therapy in some form or another in their life.  Unfortunately, we tend to glamorize and seek out the negative, so people associate mental illness and the help that comes with mental illness in the extremes they see on the news- 1 out of 4 people suffers from a mental illness, but they aren’t all going to be on the news involved in a mass shooting, or as a serial rapist, or a police standoff, thank goodness. We need to put more focus on what is the norm, not the extreme.
Q:  Do you think it is possible to eliminate that stigma?  If so, how?
A:  I think if more people shared their stories, even a anonymously, that would help. I’ve had so many clients get relief when they realize there is a name and treatment for their disorder and they are not alone.
Q:  In your opinion what is the biggest obstacle when it comes to men getting care for their mental health?
A:  I think in many cultures, men are told to be strong, and part of asking for any kind of help is seen as weak. In Fayetteville, so many people are connected to the military and there can be clearances involved. So many people think that going to therapy will make them lose their job or their clearance.
Q:  What is a common myth people have about going to therapy?
A:  Other than the aforementioned immediate loss of job and clearance, so many people think therapy is “just talking” and that there’s no way that it can help help them. It’s so much more than talking.
Q: It is estimated that Depression affects 6 million men per year, how would you say that impacts communities or families?
A:  In communities its loss of productivity, loss of resources, loss of creativity. In families, its the loss of a parent from time to time, putting all the parenting responsibilities on one parent. Its children walking on eggshells and wondering what kind of mood the depressed parent is going to be in today.
I choose to Speak Away the Stigma of Depression because…….everyone can be part of the solution, if we know what to look for and how to help.

Dads & Depression Event speaker, Travis Andrews, LPC believes in “Challenging men to reduce levels of ego, pride and identifying the importance of mental health.”

On June 24 Speak Away the Stigma is hosting Mental Health Conversations: Dads & Depression.  Licensed Professional Counselor Travis Andrews will be one of the speakers.  Read more about why Travis feels there is a stigma surrounding Mental Illness, the obstacles that prevent men from seeking help and how Depression impact the entire family.  The event will be held in Fayetteville, NC at the Cumberland County Headquarters Library Downtown from 2-4pm.

Travis Andrews, LPC

Hometown/Current City:  Wilmington, NC

Education: NC A&T State University; Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling

Name of Practice: Andrews Counseling & Consulting (He is mobile and he will come to you!) FullSizeRender (3)

 

 

Q:  Why did you choose a career in Mental Health?

A:  I chose this profession because I believe in helping people and that everyone can reach their goals by identifying and addressing current issues, adopting new habits and developing an effective action plan.  I have the experience and the passion for helping you put the plan in place for the life you want.

Q:  What makes you a great Mental Health Professional?

A:  I have a passion for helping people improve their emotional well-being by providing solution-focused counseling services.  I am committed to helping people identify the root cause of their challenges and working with them to develop attainable and sustainable strategies to resolve those issues.

I am a Licensed Professional Counselor who has provided individual, group and family therapy to children and adults in the North Carolina, South Carolina, and Military Installations in North Carolina and Japan for nearly 10 years. 

Q:  Why do you believe there is a stigma surrounding mental illness and mental health?

A:  Society, in general, has stereotyped views about mental illness and how it affects people. Many people believe that people with mental ill health are violent and dangerous, when in fact they are more at risk of being attacked or harming themselves than harming other people.

Stigma and discrimination can also worsen someone’s mental health problems, and delay or impede their getting help and treatment, and their recovery. Social isolation, poor housing, unemployment, and poverty are all linked to mental ill health. So stigma and discrimination can trap people in a cycle of illness.

The situation is exacerbated by the media. Media reports often link mental illness with violence or portray people with mental health problems as dangerous, criminal, evil, or very disabled and unable to live normal, fulfilled lives.

Q:  Do you think it is possible to eliminate that stigma?  If so, how?

A:  Yes, it is possible to eliminate the stigma, the best way to challenge these stereotypes is through firsthand contact with people with experience of mental health problems.

Q:  In your opinion what is the biggest obstacle when it comes to men getting care for their mental health?

A:  The biggest obstacle, in my opinion, is challenging men to reduce levels of ego, pride, and identifying the importance of mental health.

Q:  What is a common myth people have about going to therapy?

A:  A misconception that only certain type of person or “crazy” people seek help.

Q:  It is estimated that Depression affects 6 million men per year, how would you say that impacts communities or families?

A:  Depression is not just a medical matter. It’s a family one, too. The behaviors and mood of a depressed person affect the whole family. There’s the irritability, which sets off conflicts and derails family dynamics.

I choose to Speak Away the Stigma of Depression because…….

As a man, I want to bring community awareness and psycho-education to the male population.


“Men are the backbones of our families…” Q & A w/Richale R. Reed MA, LPC, LCAS for Dads & Depression Event

On June 24 Speak Away the Stigma is hosting Mental Health Conversations: Dads & Depression.  Therapist and author Richale R. Reed will be one of the speakers.  Read more about why Richale decided on a career in the Mental Health field, what lead to the stigma around Mental Health and why she is speaking away the stigma of depression.  The event will be held in Fayetteville, NC at the Cumberland County Headquarters Library Downtown from 2:00pm-4:00pm.
Richale R Reed
Hometown: Linden New Jersey  Current city:  Raeford, NC
Education:  Masters in Professional Counseling Liberty University
Title or Name of Practice:  Richale R Reed PLLC aka CateRRRflies Lifework

 

Q:  Why did you choose a career in Mental Health?

Due to my mother’s battle with mental illness, it greatly molded my life.  I too have battled mental illness, specifically, depression in the past.

Q:  What makes you a great Mental Health Professional?

A:  I love what I get to do everyday!!

 

Q:  Why do you believe there is a stigma surrounding mental illness and mental health?

A:  Simply because we don’t talk about it…we were taught that it’s taboo!  I know I was! I  learned that there was no one there to listen as a child and it’s easy to keep that idea as an adult but I choose not to believe that.

 

Q:  Do you think it is possible to eliminate that stigma?  If so, how?

A:  Forums like the one you are creating. We need a safe place to share our hearts.

 

Q:  In your opinion what is the biggest obstacle when it comes to men getting care for their mental health?

A:  The stigma that they are weak for seeking help is a major barrier.

 

Q:  What is a common myth people have about going to therapy?

That its for “crazy” people when its for a any person who simply needs support.

 

Q:  It is estimated that Depression affects 6 million men per year, how would you say that impacts communities or families?

A:  Men are the backbones of our families so it would naturally negatively affect the family on all levels and the community.
I choose to Speak Away the Stigma of Depression because…….
I am now a part of this community and this is a way to share my support for it and my love for all people using the gifts I have been given. I want the men to represent on June 24th and let’s speak away the stigma!!!

“Mental Health Advocacy is my life’s work.” ~ Dr. Cindy T. Graham

 

Why did I choose mental health? My decision to become a psychologist began with my love for fashion design. I know, I know…the two don’t seem to go together. Well, as long as I can remember I wanted to pursue a career in the fashion industry. Since I stopped growing at 5’4” tall at 10 years old, my dream of becoming a model was ended quite early on. “If I can’t model, I can surely design.” I always had a knack for needle and thread so this made sense. Most of my doodling during my middle school years were sketches of dresses, blouses, bathing suits, skirts. At this point you are probably thinking, “Well why did you shift to psychology?” The answer is simple: Princeton University. The only thing I wanted more than going into the fashion industry was to go to Princeton University…and Princeton did not have anything remotely close to a fashion design major. Becoming a psychologist was third on my list of career choices behind being a model and a fashion designer.

CTG_Pic2_April2017

Find Dr. Graham on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat and YouTube  @cindytgrahamphd

Why did I continue on with mental health as a career? Many people choose a career as a child but then abandon that dream at some point in their process of maturity. This goal of becoming a psychologist was rooted in genuine intrigue and fascination with human behavior. I have always been interested in social studies (the study of human cultures and societies) and science (the study of the world through experimentation). Psychology is defined by Merriam-Webster as “1: the science of mind and behavior; 2a: the mental or behavioral characteristics of an individual or group; 2b: the study of mind and behavior in relation to a particular field of knowledge or activity.” In this way, psychology is the perfect blending of the studies of science and human society. Not to mention I’ve always been interested in interpersonal interactions. As a child I was always listening to adult conversations and marveling at the ways in which people told stories and reacted to those stories. I was eager to know about how people handled different situations in their lives. Also, I was the one in my friend group that everyone would talk to about the problems in their lives…and about 90 percent of the time my advice was well received. Hey, nobody’s perfect.

Why did mental health advocacy become my passion? My parents immigrated to the United States from Haiti so I am a first generation American. As is the case with many Caribbean cultures the expectation in Haitian families is that children will grow up to become one of three types professionals: a lawyer, an engineer, or a medical doctor. Psychology tends to be frowned upon as a profession. I never understood why this was, but this experience in part led me to want to help others become more aware of the benefits of psychotherapy. Then in college I had my first experience working in the psychology field, as a behavioral therapist for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Our interventions led to positive changes for the children including skill acquisition, increased interaction with others, and decrease in behavior problems (like tantrums). Being a part of a team of individuals who worked with children diagnosed with ASD solidified in my mind that mental health treatment and advocacy was what I would be devoting my professional life to. Almost 20 years after my first experience working in the psychology field, it is evident there continues to be much stigma both in the United States and internationally that surrounds mental health despite the obvious positive outcomes for pursuing such services. I feel compelled to be one of those voices advocating for the benefits of mental health services.

Why didn’t you major in psychology at Princeton and then attend a fashion school for an advanced degree? Twelve-year-old me did not realize this was an option at the time. Quite frankly, I’m glad that I didn’t. Mental health advocacy is my life’s work. But yes, I do draw sketches every now and again.

If you are in need of Dr. Graham’s services, please contact her at

Waypoint Wellness Center

1190 Winterson Road, Suite 160
Linthicum, Maryland 21090

SPEAK OUT: Passion King shares her battle with Postpartum Depression

1I choose to Speak Away the Stigma associated with postpartum depression because I don’t want another woman to have to suffer in silence. I was 27 years old when I became pregnant with my son. The news brought forth feelings of joy & guilt. My joy was due to me growing up knowing I wanted to be a mother. Still, my joy was overshadowed by the guilt of feelings that I had more to accomplish before becoming a mother. I was more concerned with the plans I made for my life than embracing the plan God was unveiling.

During my pregnancy, I began to alienate myself from family and friends. I felt like they were secretly disappointed and wouldn’t understand my depression. I was irritable, cried a lot and stopped praying. I felt like I let God down and wasn’t worthy of His love since I couldn’t obey His Word. My mother was the first to notice a Screenshot_2017-04-27-15-34-22-1significant change in my behavior. I knew she was worried but I hid a lot of what I was going thru from her. She encouraged me to get out the house and enjoy my pregnancy. My son’s father had a hard time accepting my mood swings and spent a lot of time away from me. Our relationship, which I planned to last forever, became toxic. This made me feel alone and caused me to question why God was allowing me to go through this.2The birth of my son didn’t catapult things into a better direction immediately. I had to adjust to the physical changes my body went through, the freedom I gave up for my son and balancing day to day activities. I knew I needed help. A few times I worked up the courage to make appointments to see a therapist. Once I couldn’t afford the $25 copay and another time I felt like they would see me as an unfit mother. Throughout my depression, it was so important to portray being a good mom even though I didn’t always feel like one. I loved my son but felt guilty and like I wasn’t enough. I was in a dark and low point in my life. So, what changed? 3Screenshot_2017-04-27-15-36-36-1I began to get back into my routine of praying, journaling and speaking to other mothers. After speaking to so many women who were close to me I saw how common this illness is. I heard stories of so many extremities from just being sad, to being suicidal and even wanting to harm their babies.  I encourage anyone who is going through this to seek the help I was too ashamed to ask for. Your children deserve the very best version of you! 4.pngMy son is almost two years old and is the light of my life. He will be two years old in June and he is smart (he can count to ten) extremely goofy and loves Mickey Mouse. We pray together, read and do the Chuck E. Cheese dance. My experience has taught me that Gods plan is better than my own. He will always turn your pain into purpose and your test into a testimony! “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”(2 Corinthians 4:17)

Screenshot_2017-04-27-15-33-14-1-1

Find Passion on Intagram @ passion_queen

 

The facts about Postpartum Depression on this post are from the National Institute of Mental Health.  You can read more about the symptoms and treatment options here .

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SPEAK OUT: Medication-Why I hated it & What changed my mind

Thara Gould
Edinburgh, UK
Full diagnosis: Depression, anxiety, EDNOS/OSFED, and Insomnia.

Medication-Why I hated it & What changed my mind

Hey Guys,

Recently on social media, I have seen negative posts surrounding medication, and while it’s not always the solution, I believe it is an option that should be explored. During my 8 month stay in a Psychiatric Unit, I refused my medication, this was due to a variety of reasons.

Firstly, I thought I wasn’t unwell. During some people’s ill state of mind, they often don’t realise how unwell they actually are, I consistently told the nurses and doctors that I wasn’t unwell, I just simply wanted to die… I was convinced it was a personality trait rather than apart of a mental illness.

Secondly, my father had brought me up from the age of 8, and he had given off a vibe that told me taking medication was a sign of weakness. He was already disappointed in me for being hospitalised, and I didn’t want him to be further disappointed in my weakness, I.E taking medication. Not only this but I myself, saw it as a weakness and I didn’t want to have to rely on medication and have a ‘weak mind’.

Thirdly, side effects. Ew, side effects… the worst thing about starting a new medication, or coming off one (or even being on the wrong kind). They made me feel sick, dizzy and even more unmotivated. My first medication was Fluoxetine, the main side effect I got from that was pure rage, and increased suicidal ideation and tendencies (the complete opposite of what the medication is meant to be doing). This obviously didn’t encourage me to take that particular medication and put me off exploring other ones.

When I decided to be more positive towards recovery I took a step back and looked at my options. Realistically, medication was an option, and I made a decision to explore it. Therapy didn’t work for me, and the next course of action was to give meds a go. While medication didn’t work for me then, I know it works and helps so many people now, and maybe it will even help me in the future. I do not think people who are on medication are weak or have anything to be ashamed of. In a way, I wish medication had helped me because unfortunately, I am yet to find my ‘thing’.

Life is a big adventure, and I guess during my adventure I will find out what works for me. So, if you find medication helps you, and keeps you safe and happy, please do not look at the negative posts on social media and feel bad for taking any form of medication.

Love always,

-T♥

Read more about Thara, a Mental Health, Lifestyle & Beauty Blogger from Scotland, at her blog Versablogs.