*** This post may be triggering if you are suffering from postpartum depression (PPD) and are sensitive to negative news events ***
A few days ago, I felt the way I hadn’t felt in a long, long time. Thanks to PMS (I still do get it even though I’m missing my uterus), I felt so down in the dumps emotionally that I almost feared I was going to relapse into depression, which I haven’t experienced since my dark days of PPD. I’ve posted about PMS before (and how it should not be confused with PMDD, or premenstrual dysphoric disorder).
I was already “blue” from my ol’ buddy PMS, so the news from last week….the deplorable words uttered by Todd Akin (holy smokes, how anyone today can utter Middle Ages crap the way he did and supposedly be an educated person acting in Congressional capacity is beyond me)–so ignorant that ACOG had to issue a statement to point out how misinformed he was and dangerously so; the Latch on NYC campaign and other similar campaigns that will only succeed in making mothers feel more guilt-ridden than ever if they can’t for whatever reason breastfeed successfully; the GOP no-exceptions stance on abortion (i.e., even in cases of rape and incest); the increasing gender gap in the political race; bullying incidents; shootings; and so on. No wonder the depression rates are so high. We are living in a society of people who lack empathy. Society is heading down a slippery slope because we are focusing less and less about each other and more and more about who is superior, wealthier, more powerful. What about education of our future generations? What about mental healthcare of our mothers suffering from perinatal mood disorders and returning troops suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and in need of help in transitioning back to their lives back home? The list goes on….boy, are our priorities all screwed up!
I seriously need to unplug. And yet I can’t. So I can only blame myself if I continue to let news and subsequent emotions drag me down. But at least I will know immediately if I get to the point of being depressed. I’ve been there before. It’s not a “mind over matter thing” as is the narrow-minded and ignorant conviction of depression naysayers–most if not all of whom have never been depressed before…..which brings to mind the narrow-minded, completely lacking in empathy, callous and narcissistic view of breastfeeding nazi’s who have the gall to come out and say things like “there’s absolutely no reason why a new mother can’t breastfeed; nope, none at all.” Depression is a serious health issue that needs professional attention.
The common denominator of these examples is a holier-than-thou, completely narcissistic/egomanical attitude of the ones holding the power (or believing they hold the power because they are just that high on themselves). The feeling that there is utter lack of control over all the events occurring around me made me look at my own personal situation and feel the same way–about work, my house, and the people in my life–and prompted me to say the following last Wednesday on Facebook:
Feeling pretty disillusioned by a lot of things lately. Work, neighbors, people you think that are your friends, what comes out of the mouths of people (govt level and general population) that are narrow-minded and sometimes even hateful. I’m tired, folks, really tired of it all…… [These] are all separate issues (one has nothing to do w/the other) that have been bugging me and making me question my relationships w/people….. Sometimes I just want to up and move but I know we should stay put for [my daughter’s] sake. She needs the kind of stability I never had while growing up….. It sucks to feel so “stuck” in a situation you want to desperately have more control over….. I’ve had moments of doubt but never this bad. I really feel like I’ve had it with everything. I need a change. A new house and ‘hood ( same town) would be a great start. I also need to unplug for a while. We’ll see…. I’ve been letting the news get me down. Seems like there is more bad news than ever before. I need to unplug for just a couple of days….but find it nearly impossible. That’s affecting my attitude in general, so as a result, my feelings about work and everything else is getting dragged down.
Fortunately, after a night’s rest with SIX hours of sleep (I had gotten between 4-5 hours of uninterrupted sleep the 3 nights prior to that), I felt a tad better….and I have no doubt that the improvement was mostly due to my PMS packing up and leaving me alone for the next month. I was able to go to work and feel like my ol’ self….thankfully. But during those 2-1/2 days, I was scared I might be depressed again. This time, I was prepared to seek cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which I admit wouldn’t hurt because I have a feeling that my proclivity to think negatively could use a serious makeover. I need to know how to redirect my negative thinking, which just might improve all aspects of my life. No more being overly defensive even with my own husband, which causes arguments. No more thinking that my family and I are not welcome in our ‘hood; hence, my desire to move but realizing we need to stick it out until my daughter goes off to college. No more feeling like I’m going to beat my head against the wall due to the thankless environment in which I’m stuck at work. No more feeling like I’m growing farther and farther apart from the friends I’ve had for years.
All these thoughts were weighing down on me, and it didn’t help that I had an awful headache for the whole 2-1/2 days that I felt blue. The sweet responses from my friends helped a lot.
Now, if only I can stay away from those dreadful articles…….there is yet another one waiting for me to read before I shut down my PC for the night. I have a feeling it’s going to be a doozy, thanks to the title of the link that showed up in my Facebook news feed a little while ago. Even if a new President were to be elected, the bad news is going to continue unabated. I may sound like a pessimist, but I’m not. I’m a realist merely pointing out how things are. It’s not pretty out there.
Bottom line…..I think we all need to learn how to care about/empathize with each other more. Empathy needs to be engrained in our youth starting from a young age. Parents and other adults in a child’s life need to model empathy. After all, children mimic their parents’ behavior. Schools need to establish empathy programs to help reduce bullying incidents. Empathy is the key to improving the state of the world we live in. Otherwise, we are going to continue to raise children to be just like all the narcissistic/egomaniacal, narrow-minded, greedy, uncaring and callous individuals I keep reading about in the news lately. Not saying all of you that are reading this blog post are going to raise children that way….just saying that unless we open our eyes and realize the difference empathy can make for us all, things are going to get uglier and uglier out there. Here’s a site worth checking out: Start Empathy.