Shout Out About Doulas in The Good Doctor….Can We Now Get One for PPD???

A brief post from me today, as it’s almost the end of April and I promised (for Amber) I would post at least once monthly for a year starting last October. Of course, I always start off saying it will be brief, but by the time I’m through, it’s not the short post I thought I was going to write, lol! Once I get my thoughts going, I could go on and on!

I’ve watched The Good Doctor since ep 1, and have absolutely LOVED the show for the way it’s written, cast, and directed. I was thrilled when doulas got a shout-out in a recent episode! I saw this on my Facebook feed a few days ago from a post by Raising Flowers Birth Services in Utah, which gave me the idea to blog about this. I bet more than half the people who watched the ep were like, hmmmm, what are doulas? I’ve mentioned them a bunch of times in my blog, but did blog about doulas specifically here.

I just wish they would do a show on postpartum mood disorders, as we desperately need a primetime TV show brave enough to get the message out that postpartum mood disorders are experienced by mothers (1 out of 7 in this country), and yet how all too often cases are missed, misdiagnosed, mistreated and have potentially fatal consequences for the mother and/or baby. I wish I could get a hold of Daniel Dae Kim on this (I did message him on Facebook yesterday but don’t expect a response), since he is a producer of the show, to see if he can work with Postpartum Support International. I don’t recall a primetime TV show ever having had postpartum mood disorders a focus of an episode. There might have been a shout-out or two or three these past years, but either I missed them or they were not substantive enough for me to recall.

Over the past few years, depression has been getting more attention, since Chicago Med and New Amsterdam have a mental healthcare practitioner on staff and they do have almost weekly examples of someone needing help from them. It’s a tremendous step in the right direction, and I am forever grateful. But…..WE NEED A POSTPARTUM MOOD DISORDER EPISODE!

Please, please, please, producers/directors of Chicago Med, New Amsterdam, Good Doctor….doesn’t matter which show. Please consider the importance of getting the message out because mothers around the country (and world, actually) are suffering and the public needs awareness about it because of the popular belief that, once people hear after a child is born that “mother and baby are doing well,” then all must be hunky dory and let’s all just focus on the baby. But…the baby will not thrive well UNLESS THE NEW MOTHER IS TRULY OKAY. And too many mothers suffer needlessly and painfully when they develop a postpartum mood disorder from out of the blue. Too many mothers feel shame because they don’t want others to know they can’t feel the joy that they “should” be feeling after the birth of their babies. The experience causes unnecessary feelings of despair and hopelessness, as what happened to me back in 2005. I got slammed with PPD from out of the blue. One day I was fine, the next day I wasn’t sleeping or eating, lost all my pregnancy weight and more in a few days, had anxiety attacks morning and night, and I thought I was not going to make it.

I would provide sample links to re-highlight why postpartum mood disorders like postpartum depression (PPD), postpartum anxiety, postpartum obsessive compulsive disorder, and postpartum psychosis are missed, misdiagnosed, mistreated and have potentially fatal consequences for the mother and/or baby, but I would be providing almost every link to every blog post I’ve ever written since 2009. And that’s an awful lot.

Hats off to Chicago Med

I just watched my 3rd episode of “Chicago Med”….yet another brilliant TV show created by Dick Wolf of “Law & Order” fame. My only regret was not discovering this show sooner! This show has a thoughtfully-written script and characters realistically portrayed by a great cast in a way that–much like “House” in its first season–draws you into each episode.  Oliver Platt plays the Chief of Psychiatry at Chicago Med, and I think he’s doing an awesome job!  The best part about “Chicago Med,” IMO,  is the fact that it’s the only show, as far I’m aware, that affords a weekly story line delving into the realm of mental health.  Yes, MENTAL HEALTH.  There are multiple story lines happening concurrently with the cast, but from I’ve seen from the 3 episodes I’ve watched, the focus of each week’s episode is primarily about a situation involving mental health.  Not just an occasional acknowledgment here and there during a whole television season that yes, there are health issues that aren’t entirely medical in nature (think Dr. House and his addiction to vicodin for his “pain”) but a FULL story line each and every week dedicated to at least one person struggling with a mental health issue.

Finally, prime time television is taking a serious stab at shedding light on mental health!  For that, I am grateful.  You know why? Because we need to talk more about mental health conditions.


Depression…..PTSD…….Suicide……Obsessive Compulsive Disorder…..Bipolar Disorder….Self Harm….Eating Disorders…..Postpartum Depression…..Sociopathy……Borderline Personality Disorder…..Schizophrenia……etc.


 

Every single person out there knows someone who has experienced one or more of these mental health issues.  You wouldn’t know that, though, because the tendency is for people to hide these things thanks to misconceptions spawned by the very little that we do know about them.

Thank you, “Chicago Med,” for shining a light on mental health.  I look forward to future episodes, and hope that more and more people will start watching the show.  My hope is that “Chicago Med” will prompt other show producers/directors to create more shows like this, realizing the need to make mental health a part of our daily discourse and encourage discussions and curiosity about these conditions and create a mentality that “Hey, a mental health condition deserves to be diagnosed and treated the same way as, say, diabetes or a heart condition.”

Keeping mental health conditions swept under a rug and a mystery from the public creates a taboo mentality that mental health conditions don’t deserve to be treated and you should just “snap out of it” or stop imagining that you even have any kind of condition in the first place.  Part of the problem is that mental health conditions are, as quoted in the episode tonight, “invisible.” In tonight’s episode, Dr. Ethan Choi (played by Brian Tee) continues to battle the effects of his PTSD from serving in the military.  His girlfriend Vicki makes a reference to mental health conditions as being difficult to diagnose/treat because they don’t necessarily exhibit any physical symptoms and/or there doesn’t appear to be a medical explanation for those symptoms.  Modern medicine and technologies are making headway–albeit slowly- in assisting doctors and psychiatrists to confirm and/or make diagnoses via brain scans.  The patient under Dr. Choi’s care in tonight’s episode appeared to also be a victim of PTSD from being in combat, but it was through Dr. Choi’s keen observations that they ultimately determined the patient had excessive scar tissues near his heart that caused the sound of his heart beating to echo loudly in the poor guy’s head.  So, he wasn’t imagining things and he most certainly wasn’t suffering from PTSD like he was insisting from the beginning!  And of course, no one believed him!  This is where I applaud the writers for writing a script that shows that, even though someone may appear to be suffering from a mental health condition, you can’t assume that there isn’t a physical or medical explanation for what the person is experiencing until you take the time to determine the root cause for a patient’s experience.  Just like depression has a scientific explanation, like a hormonal and/or neurotransmitter imbalance, there is a biological explanation behind every mental health disorder. And it’s the task of research scientists to figure that all out, and I pray they hurry the heck up because we are losing too many people each year to mental illnesses!

I end this blog post with a call for “Chicago Med” to include an episode or two on postpartum depression. We desperately need an episode that informs the public of the difference between postpartum depression and other postpartum conditions like postpartum OCD, postpartum psychosis and postpartum bipolar.  Please, please, please, Dick Wolf and team of writers: please reach out to Postpartum Support International today and collaborate together on a series of episodes on postpartum mood disorders.

If you look at the statistics, how can people NOT produce more shows on a topic that touches so many lives?