Thursday, February 11, 2010

Dr. Phil

Let me start out by saying I'm not a big Dr. Phil fan.  I used to be...and then when I saw that he had become a spokesman for, if you know me, you know why I hate

But the other day I was watching an episode and I actually completely agreed and appreciated what he was saying.  The episode was about a couple in Michigan who had used a surrogate to have a baby (turned out to be twins) and after the babies were born, the surrogate decided to keep the babies because she learned that the biological mother had a mental disorder.

Her disorder has vaguely been diagnosed as "psychosis."  She regularly sees a psychiatrist and has been on the same meds for many years, holds a stable job, and is in general, a stable person. The surrogate knew that she was seeing a psychiatrist but never asked why.

(Of course, there is always more to the story than what they show on TV.  But this was the situation they presented.)

There was a CBS correspondant on there defending the surrogate's parents' decision.  Basically saying that someone who had psychosis could not be trusted with a child.


So did Dr. Phil.  He said that this was a dangerous approach to take.  Psychosis is so vague, so broad-spanning, and to state that those diagnosed with this were not fit to be parents was taking a huge leap backward in the advancement of public acceptance of mental illnesses.

I don't personally know anyone diagnosed with psychosis.  (Well, that I know never know, right?) But my dad, mom, brother (my only sibling) and I have all been diagnosed with depression.  My mom and I have also been diagnosed with anxiety.

I was diagnosed with it in college.  I've been on medications since I was 21.  After Oliver was born, my depression took a huge plunge.  I didn't have the typical PPD symptoms...if anything they were opposite of what mothers with PPD normally experience.  I did not want to let Oliver out of my sight.  I rarely EVER put him down.  I held him through all of his naps, we co-slept, everything.  I completely see the positive side of spending that much time with your newborn anyway, and I will probably be like that with the rest of our children.  But with Oliver, my anxiety was so bad that something would happen if I wasn't right there.  I think a lot of it had to do with the pain he experienced with his feet.  I wanted him to know that I was there for him if he was in pain.  As his mother, I knew I could offer him comfort and security that no one else could.  Jay worked 2nd shift until Oliver was 8 months old, so Oliver and I went and did everything together.  I also had terrible guilt about not breastfeeding.

Was I a worse mother because I have depression and anxiety?  Absolutely not.

When Oliver was almost 3 months old I went to my OB/GYN, Dr. Davis, whom I love and he referred me to a psychiatrist whom I still see regularly.

Dr. Holmes helped me to get on some medications that have helped change my life.  I feel more stable and relaxed.  I don't feel an enormous guilt everytime I leave Oliver.  Shoot, for MONTHS I could count in hours how much I had been away from Oliver.  I could tell you exactly each time I had left him.  Now, I'm ok to go to dinner with Amanda, or even just run to the grocery.  Before, it was like physical pain for me to leave him, no matter who it was with.

I still don't leave Oliver often, and never overnight.  He has stayed overnight at my mom's without me only when we went to Brittany's wedding last summer.  If he had been younger (he was 9 mos then) I would have definitely taken him with us, but it was an evening wedding and he would not have lasted long, lol.  But when I do leave him I know that it is ok.

I was just appalled that someone would say on national television that they believe mothers with a mental disorder should not have children.  People are so ignorant.  They do not understand mental illnesses AT ALL.  I was a psych minor in college, and we learned once that as many as 80% of the American population has a mental illness, but that many of them will go undiagnosed because people do not want to seek help. (men in particular.)

When I was pregnant I did not take any anti-depressants or anti-anxiety meds.  I also didnt have a psychiatrist at that time, just my OB.  And I functioned just fine, which some people probably don't understand.  I CAN live without meds, but it is more difficult. 

I could go on and on and on.  But I think I have done my ranting for the day. :-D

and to end on a happier note...heres a picture of Oliver, happy even though our Colts lost the Superbowl :(

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