Sarah Short Circuit

Heal, Nourish, Nurture

Tag: Psychosis (page 1 of 5)

Focus Group for Mother Baby Unit in NSW

Are you experienced a hospital visit as part of your treatment of perinatal mental illness in NSW? I am reaching out to see if you would like to be a part of the focus group for the following project. This is a very exciting paid opportunity to be part of the focus group planning the first public psychiatric Mother-Baby Unit (MBU) in NSW. At this time this opportunity is available to women who experienced hospitalisation as part of their treatment in NSW.

The first meeting will be held this month (August) which depending on everyone’s availability will hopefully be face to face, the location is TBC but they’re hoping to have it at where the MBU will be located (Newtown Royal Prince Albert Hospital). If travelling for meetings will be a problem please let Tracey (program manager) know as there may Teleconferencing options available. The intention is for the focus group to be an ongoing partnership with the planning team as the MBU is developed. However there is no pressure for you to continue if time commitments do not allow.

If interested in being having your say please get in touch with Tracey as soon as possible.

Seeking mental health consumers, peer workers and carers for participation in a focus group for the planning of a public psychiatric Mother-Baby Unit (MBU) in NSW

 

What’s the purpose of the project?

We are seeking the input and advice from consumers and carers for the planning of a Psychiatric Mother-Baby Unit. Mental Health-Children and Young People, NSW Health is currently writing a planning guide for a dedicated public psychiatric Mother-Baby Unit (MBU) in NSW. An MBU is a specialist mental health facility which accommodates pregnant women or mothers with their infants in times where acute psychiatric care is required.  MBU’s provide specialist care to empower the women’s recovery and support the development of an optimal parent-infant relationship.

 

Who are we looking for: female consumers, carers or peer workers who have had a lived experience of mental ill health during the perinatal period (pregnancy and up to 2 years post birth), including a psychiatric hospital admission in NSW.

 

What does it involve: Participants would be invited to participate in a single, small focus group for up to three hours at a venue in Sydney (to be determined). Participants will be involved in a discussion and asked to comment on questions, or express their views on the discussed planning guide. There will be no expectations for participants to read lengthy documents however a survey may be administered in addition to the focus group.

 

Are the consumers/carers paid: Yes, participants would be paid a fee of $30/hr

 

Contact Details: Tracey Fay-Stammbach, Program Manager Perinatal & Infant Mental Health, MH-Children and Young People, NSW Health.  Tel 02 9859 5330 or email tracey.faystammbach@moh.health.nsw.gov.au

 

Alice’s story

“She was convinced that she was communicating with her baby and the baby could communicate with her,” Barrett said. “The baby was part of her delusions and that is where the risk arose.”

Source: Antiques expert was restrained days before death, inquest told | Society | The Guardian

Know the signs and seek help early. PANDA National Helpline 1300 729 360 panda.org.au

Jessica’s story

I have heard of the baby blues, but this is something else altogether; this feels like the baby black and blues. This feels like oblivion.

People always ask me if I knew what was happening when I had postpartum psychosis. The truth is that I was painfully aware of what was happening. Until I started taking medication, and felt numbed, completely zombified, and lost two weeks of my life, I felt everything, and was utterly powerless to stop it or stem the irrepressible torment of my illness.

 The horror of what we went through cannot be denied, but I also want to share the tremendous love, growth and power that such a journey can engender.

The tremors of the psychotic quake still resonate throughout our lives three years later.

Source: Postpartum psychosis: ‘I’m a thing possessed, an animal. I am nearly sectioned twice’ | Life and style | The Guardian

 Read more of Jessica’s story on BBC Radio and her blog Mutha Courage.

Know the signs and seek help early. PANDA National Helpline 1300 729 360 panda.org.au

The Lessons from Perfectionism

So many of the pains in our world can be traced back to one simple concept – perfectionism. The idea that everything has to be ‘perfect’ to be right. In this episode, author, TedX speaker, mental mental health advocate and mama Lisa Abramson talks about her own struggles with perfectionism, and how it led her to a psychiatric hospital… and back to herself. – Happy Mama with Amy Tayor-Kabbaz.

Become so unwell, I went from normal baby blues and mood swings, some normal adjustment, trouble coping with being a new mum, lack of sleep, the hormones, the stress of trying to breastfeed… it felt like the world was ending and I as soon as I become a mum I had failed at everything I was supposed to be doing.

I wanted to know why did this happen to me? How did I make it happen? Was it my fault? What did I do wrong? This was a challenging part of the recovery getting over that and letting go, and saying sometimes there’s things bigger than us.

The combination of the hormones, the stress of being a new mum and then not sleeping just proved to be a toxic combination for me.

[If] you find yourself facing a maternal mental health disorder it’s not your fault, you absolutely  didn’t do anything wrong, there is nothing you could have done differently to prevent it, sometimes we just react differently to the situations at hand, and surrendering to that.

Say no to things that don’t align with your values and aren’t nurturing your wellbeing, getting more protective of your time.

Getting support is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of strength and self-assurance

It’s going to work out.

Source: Ep #19 – The Lessons from Perfectionism with Lisa Abramson – Happy Mama

Amy from Happy Mama donates 5% of subscriptions to her New Moon Mama Circles to PANDA! Here is recent Happy Mama article that resonated with me – Mother the Mother.

Know the signs and seek help early. PANDA National Helpline 1300 729 360 panda.org.au

 

Babes and Picnics

Thank you Fi from Mumma Morrison for sharing my story today as part of her #RealMums Blog Series!

Earlier in the year I was so excited to be a part of May’s sold out Babes + Picnics SUTHERLAND SHIRE Mother’s Day luncheon. As a local shire mum, a mum who has experienced perinatal mental health and a PANDA Community Champion I was honored to be asked to be a guest speaker sharing my story of healing and recovery, and raising awareness of postpartum psychosis in our community.

L to R: Sarah, Fi, Karla, Julie

L to R: Sarah, Fi, Karla, Julie

It was a privilege to be given the opportunity to share my story of motherhood and postpartum psychosis, alongside Fi Mumma Morrison speaking about her journey of motherhood and postnatal anxiety and the loving Julie Clarke for sharing important information about postnatal depression, as well as proudly supporting PANDA.

I am proud to be a PANDA Community Champion with these lovely local ladies sharing our stories at the B+P Luncheon. It was a pleasure to speak with local member Melanie Gibbons MP about the experiences new mums have with perinatal mental health, and the need for more support in NSW for mums who go through severe postnatal depression, anxiety and postpartum psychosis not having access to a public Mother Baby Unit. Thank you Fi and Karla for putting together such a supportive event of connection, supporting PANDA and bringing awareness to perinatal mental health issues.

L to R: Fi, Sarah, Deborah, Melanie, baby Audrey, Ashleigh

L to R: Fi, Sarah, Deborah, Melanie, baby Audrey, Ashleigh

PANDA‘s new website is now live! As a PANDA Community Champion I am proud to have been given the opportunity recently to assist in the development of the new site around postpartum psychosis, helping to ensure the content was accessible and reflected the voices of us mums and families who have experienced postpartum psychosis. Take a look at panda.org.au/info-support/postnatal-psychosis/

Head over and read my interview with fellow PANDA Community Champion Fi at Mumma Morrison as part of her #RealMums Blog Series!

Know the signs and seek help early. PANDA National Helpline 1300 729 360 panda.org.au

 

Hannah’s story

‘I was in my own personal, living hell. But when I came out the other side I felt so misunderstood. Now, I really want to help other mums who might be going through something similar.’

‘But I didn’t know what postpartum psychosis was or even recognise my own wife, she was that bad.’

Source: Hampshire mother sectioned with postpartum psychosis | Daily Mail Online

 Know the signs and seek help early. PANDA National Helpline 1300 729 360 panda.org.au

Nina’s Story

Having had no previous mental health issues she was diagnosed with Postpartum Psychosis 8 days after Heidi’s birth and was sectioned under the mental health act. Nina agreed to be interviewed for this blog to tell her story of Postpartum Psychosis illness and recovery, and to raise awareness.

I was tired and in pain. I was feeling overwhelmed, vulnerable and wrecked. I was looking at the other new Mums they looked so happy, they had their little angels whereas I felt on edge, permanently. I was so upset but nobody asked me how I was feeling or coping.

The postnatal Midwife was less able to detect how ill I was because she didn’t know me.

I listened to music and made myself go out of the house. My memory was still poor though, I couldn’t remember what I had done the previous day so I started to take photographs.

If my mental health had been discussed more in general and if I had been told of the warning signs of postpartum psychosis in the antenatal or early postnatal period we may have been able to notice the signs earlier.

Source: Postpartum Psychosis -Nina’s Story – Birthing Mamas Blog

Know the signs and seek help early. PANDA National Helpline 1300 729 360 panda.org.au

Amanda’s Story

For my fourth episode I sat down with my friend Amanda Taylor to discuss her journey through postpartum psychosis, depression and anxiety. Amanda shares her vulnerable story with such bravery and authenticity. Her goal in sharing her story is to bring awareness to postpartum illnesses and help other moms know that they aren’t alone if they are dealing with any of these illnesses. We also talk about how you can help someone you know who might be experiencing a postpartum illness. I hope you have a better understanding of these illnesses after this episode.

Pregnant with my fourth baby…felt like another routine pregnancy, my health was great, everything was good, there no reason for anything to go off track

All seemed normal, things just got progressively with worse just mentally with me. From my perspective everything was great, I thought life as so great, I was overly joyful, everything was amazing. My husband took me to the emergency room 12 days after birth because he knew things were just not right… I left with the diagnosis of postpartum psychosis.

Dealing with all of the postpartum, I was 100% not myself

Remember thinking everything made perfect sense. It’s a bizarre state of mind, it’s not healthy, rational or real.

It was the most painful moment as the police officer escorted me and then my husband walked the opposite direction to go home and I was all by myself.

I think of hard it was but how much good was in that

I was at the lowest point in my life when I could do nothing…we can’t do any of our struggles, it may not be postpartum psychosis but whatever the struggle is, we can’t do it alone and we got to have people around us, fighting with us and for us and alongside us

Coming up on the one year anniversary and I still didn’t feel like Amanda at all, I didn’t know who I was, I didn’t feel normal…I needed more help in where I was at the time

There’s a lot of times our counsellor said this is the perfect grounds for divorce, it’s too hard for anyone to walk through so its easy to say I’m done… and my husband never took that approach, what an opportunity I get to fight for my wife and kids

Source: A Mom’s Story : Postpartum Psychosis Amanda Taylor’s Story [Ep 004]

Know the signs and seek help early. PANDA National Helpline 1300 729 360 panda.org.au

Unsure

I have been unsure how to write down my feelings of being unsure. This unsure-ness has been building within me for a while. Unsure of making a choice…

I always had thought that I would have many children, at least 2. I have always been very maternal and nurturing since I was a teenager. I have to forewarn any mums whose baby I hold that I will put them sleep, not matter the temperament of the child. Any where I go I catch the gaze of a baby and it’s like we connect with an unspoken language. I looked forward to becoming a mum myself, though terrified of the process, the snuggles at the end would be worth it.

I had no idea the journey I would go to become a mother, the overwhelm, the struggles and the postpartum psychosis. I now savour each moment with my son after the shaky start we went through.  As the first few months went by I focused on healing myself, recovering day by day. The doctors had cautioned my family that if I were to fall pregnant too soon after my psychosis that there would be a chance I may not come out of it.

As my son approached the age of 2, the questions began to start ‘When are you going to have another baby?’. I would quickly mutter ‘I had health problems so we are not sure yet’ and quickly change the story. I knew from my own research that there is up to a 50% chance of postpartum psychosis recurring in subsequent pregnancies. So I did what I did best and sought out more information.

I had heard that for mums in my situation it would be best to have a mental health care plan in place which included being able to access a Mother Baby Unit (MBU) to be able to receive the appropriate care. There is only 1 MBU in NSW and to have the best chance to access this care I knew I would need a Perinatal Psychiatrist as part of my care plan. One of the mums from my son’s play group opened up to me one day about her experience and I asked for her recommendation of a perinatal psychiatrist at St John of God Hospital, Burwood, where the MBU is based.

My husband and I went together to the first couple of appointments at St John of God, reliving our experiences of my postpartum psychosis and emphasising to the psychiatrist that were some details I do not remember and choose not discuss any further. It was the first time since being discharged from the mental health ward that I was able to talk about what I had been through, the distress, the trauma and the impact on me and my family. By the third appointment I felt comfortable to attend on my own, as I opened up more the psychiatrist thought that I was no coping and starting to write something down asking me ‘Do you want it on or off label?’ I was flabbergasted, what did that mean? The psychiatrist thought I was hypo-manic and was wanting to write Bipolar Disorder on the medication script to make the prescription cheaper. All I wanted was someone to listen to what I had been through! I quickly ended the session and have never been back. I was totally distraught, in tears to my husband on the phone and thought to myself ‘I’ve burnt that bridge’.

I strengthened my resolve and began to work more on myself, starting with Awaken the Change Within 2014 retreat only a month after my distressing appointment with the psychiatrist. Focusing on self-development was almost like a distraction, not having to make that choice, that it is ok to wait as I am working on healing myself more. I discovered a passion for wellness as learnt about self-care, essential oils, nutrition and food. The choice was always lingering in the back of my mind.

The Marcé Society Conference 2016 was the first time I met other women who had experience postpartum psychosis like I had, who truly knew the turmoil I was going through in making my choice. Brenda spoke with me about discovering my ‘maternal number’, that perhaps my maternal number is 1 and that is ok. Connecting with other mums who had gone on to have another child or two, and being apart of an online group of other pp mums sharing conversations of weighing up whether or not to risk having another child, it was reassuring to feeI I was not alone in my making my choice.

I drew a line in the sand to make a choice by February 2017 and be at peace with this choice. As February drew closer, my health started to take a dive with headaches. Seeing my Chiro, he indicated that the headaches had an emotional element, ‘was there something I was unsure about?’.

Why February? The choice was not just about emotions and feelings, it also came down to finances. February was went my son started 3 days of preschool and we need to update (and stretch) the budget. Our family was fortunate that we had top hospital cover when I experienced postpartum psychosis, and this cover was my only chance of gaining access to the MBU provided I am voluntarily admitted. We kept our top hospital cover as this was the only level of cover that included psychiatric hospital care. Mental health has a major impact on one’s income due to reduced capacity to work, higher unemployment rates and less savings. Money for us was tight even though I was back working part-time, our savings is virtually non-existent. Fortunately at the time I read Barefoot Investor whose advice around health care cover was to drop Extras and keep Hospital cover. We were had just changed our cover to lower hospital cover with extras and were still in the cooling off period. With a quick phone call I put back in place my safety net of top hospital cover with no extras, so if any thing with my health changes in the future I know we will be ok!

As I was coming to a place of peace with my choice, I was chatting before a yin yoga class with my former yoga teacher Iknew from before I was married. She always seems to know when to ask the right question and I opened up to her my thoughts in making my choice. Thinking I how much my health has improved for the better, the impact on the relationship with my husband and my son, she reassured it was was a choice made with wisdom not out of selfishness. On my yoga mat tears trickled down my cheek as I surrendered, I am enough just as I am.

Today I shed some more tears even though a few months have passed. From the wardrobe I pulled out the piles and boxes of my son’s clothing that I have been hanging onto to pass onto another baby, another toddler, another child of mine. As I folded up the little jumpsuits, singlets, tshirts and shorts I knew in my heart I was passing onto another little one, another family in need who will be so grateful and appreciative of these little clothes of love. Next week local charity Dandelion Support Network is having a Donation Day on Sunday 18 June 2017. Dandelion is a volunteer run charity who accept, sort and safety check nursery items, clothing, toys and linen to pass onto families in need free of charge. Recently Dandelion put a call out for newborn clothing and boys size 2 and 3 so I knew now is the right time for me to donate as my son is now almost 5.

At the end of the day I am at peace with the choice I make that is best for me. Taking into account many factors including my health, sleep triggers, finance, my husband and more I have made my choice. First and last!

Resources

 

Your Loved One’s Life May Depend on You Watching This Film

When the Bough Breaks, a documentary film on postpartum depression tells some stories we ALL need to hear—and share.

When The Bough Breaks is available to stream NOW on Netflix as well as Itunes!

The reason I think we ALL need to sit down and watch this documentary is that we ALL need to be aware of the RISK factors for postpartum depression and psychosis, so that we can look for these in ourselves as we continue to grow our families, and in any loved ones who are new moms.

Ensure you watch this documentary when you are feeling mentally strong and better to watch with someone by your side.

Source: Your Loved One’s Life May Depend on You Watching This Film On Postpartum Depression

 Know the signs and seek help early. PANDA National Helpline 1300 729 360 panda.org.au

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