PPD update: the power of a group

Posted by Aarti on May 23rd, 2014 . Filed under: Uncategorized .

Frankly, I was astonished at the outpouring of support and EMPATHY after my last post. I knew that I wasn’t alone, that fifteen to twenty percent of mums experience some form of post partum depression (and just so you know, “depression” is kind of a blanket term for mood disorders including anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and psychosis), beyond the initial baby blues. But, those numbers seem so, well, small. To see testimony after testimony put some flesh on those numbers and helped me realise that this is probably more prevalent than we realise, especially nowadays when the expectations and pressures put on mums are so pronounced (but that’s another blog post!).

Many of you have asked how I’m doing since I wrote that post, gosh was it really two months ago?! Holy cow!

Well, the short of it is, I’m doing much better!

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Even though I had been pretty transparent about it with my family and friends, something lifted once I proclaimed it in our modern equivalent of the public square. I can only imagine that somewhere deep down, I’d harboured some shame about having PPD, that being a new mum was a matter of being strong, of mind over matter and that surely being depressed was a sign of my weakness, my feeble-mindedness.

But here’s what is so wonderful about getting yourself into a support group (and from hearing from so many of you); my group is packed with sharp, accomplished women from all walks of life. There is nothing weak or feeble-minded about them. And they are struggling with the same thing I am. A support group offers a chance for you to look into a mirror — and a real one, not the warped one that PPD creates for you.

And that’s why I want you to know that if you are suffering, you need to go meet some other mums who are suffering too.

A group is a safe place where you can pull all those dark thoughts out of the shadows and examine in the warm light of other women in the same position as you. They will not condemn you, because to do so would be to condemn themselves. It’s a place to figure out what to do with those thoughts, in the moment and long-term through therapy, and yes, meds if you so choose. And, in my case, it’s a place to learn how to laugh at those thoughts! I have found that when I’m able to laugh at utter preposterousness of the things I’m thinking about myself, I feel stronger, I take away their power to crush me.

It’s also a place of hope. One of the toughest, recurring tapes playing in my brain has been “when is this going to be over? Will it EVER be over?”, so spending time with women who have, for the most part, toppled the beast or, to follow the analogy I used in my last post, found a beekeeper suit so that the bees’ stings no longer penetrate… well that is medicine in and of itself too.

So if you think that you’re suffering from any one of the myriad forms of PPD, please get yourself into a group. Check out postpartum.net which is where I went at the depths of my despair. Call the hotline, and ask them to help you find a group in your area. You’ll be astounded at the depth of kindness and compassion on the other end of the phone.

Finally, I wanted to thank you guys so much for being here for me. You guys are so patient, so loyal, so kind to me. You are a blessing to me. I hope to be back to my old goofy self very soon. It’s coming along, slowly. I know there will be battles, but knowing that you guys have my back is such powerful ammunition! Thank you!

 

-x-

aarti

 

 

 

 

11 Responses to PPD update: the power of a group

  1. Deby

    I’m so glad you were able to get into a group – and that you are doing better. It’s so hard to think of you doing anything besides giggling! Hope you get your giggles back 100% very soon. Hugs for all three of you!!
    <3 <3 <3

  2. Desirae

    I read your post and thought wow how brave you are. What you are going through and to be open with others is such a challenge. We all struggle with so many things and many suffer in silence. I’m glad you found a group to talk things out with.
    This week this verse has really helped me – <<

    Psalm 119:92 (NIV)
    92 If your law had not been my delight,
    I would have perished in my affliction.

    No matter what happens God is always faithful to his promises. We delight and find strength in The Lord. I will keep you in my prayers. May The Lord bless you and keep you daily and give you strength and hope in this process. Blessings to you and your family.
    Desirae

  3. Linda

    What a strong woman your are—and to be able to admit and laugh at your distress…Your adorable little one and husband are so lucky…

    I have been a fan since the Next Food Network Star shows that you won…You have so inspired me—-I so admire your spirit…

  4. Charles Harvey

    So glad you are doing better. You are an amazing person, and a hero to so many!! My daughters and I love your energy and charisma. Depression recovery is a process…hang in there!!

  5. Dulany

    What a wonderful new blog. We have all been waiting to hear this good news. The picture speaks more than a 1000 words. You deserve to get your life back on track and on to your next big project. Dulany

  6. Jaishree

    I have missed seeing you on the food network. Your recipes certainly had the Indian touch. Hope you are back soon on the food network. good luck to you.
    Your baby is beautiful! Feel well!

  7. Amanda

    Thank you so much for your honest and frank talk about depression- you described it exactly right. Through reaching out with your own honesty, you probably helped an untold amount of people going through the same thing or just a rough time in life. I’m so happy to hear that you are doing well! More smiles please!!

  8. Sharon

    Aarti,

    Just discovered you via my friends at http://www.postpartum.net.Thanks for sharing about your PPD and the help you got via a support group. I had a postpartum psychosis 35 years ago. I attended PSI’s national conference in 2013 and met many savvy, career women who had the courage to stand up and tell the stories of their own psychosis. It really changed my attitude. Knowing that you are not alone makes such a difference. Also loved the Huggy Buggy Bread Pudding video! I’m a foodie too. Being a mom only gets better with time.

  9. Erin

    Yay Aarti!!! I am so happy you are feeling better and have found a place of support. Just keep on putting one foot in front of the other and know that you are in our thoughts the whole way :)

  10. Holly

    What a beautiful family! Thank you for posting your story- it is encouraging to those who have suffered from PPD <3
    May the peace and joy from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ be with you all!

  11. Gabrielle Mader

    Hi Aarti!! I’m a World Maket Ambassador so that’s how I found you. I wanted to check you out but your last blog post on PPD is what hooked me. I also had PPD 16 years ago with my first born. It’s such a weird condition, isn’t it? I would have the scariest thoughts “pop” in my head for no reason. I’m a happy go lucky person by nature and wanting a baby so badly was what caught me off guard. I’m so glad you “came out”….it so important and you being a high profile celebrity of food can help others. I met with a MOMS club group that helped me as I bet a couple of mothers that also had suffered with PPD and that made me feel that I was not alone. I’m glad you found your group and feeling better is you’d like to email me at elli...@yahoo.com you can. Nice to meet you!

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