Deciding to Disclose to Extended Family


One of the questions which inevitably comes up after a diagnosis with a mental health disorder following childbirth (or any mental health diagnosis, really), is deciding what details to share with anyone outside of immediate family.

Do you tell your boss? Your parents? Your grandparents? Cousins? How much do you disclose? What do you say? Do you risk them finding out through the grapevine (and we all remember how fabulous the game of telephone goes from childhood, right?) or do we fess up ahead of time to avoid misinformation spreading? Or do you keep it within your close little immediate family circle because no one else would understand?

All of these are perfectly valid concerns and things which should be considered.

Deciding to share your diagnosis is a personal decision. It isn’t one which should be forced and no one should demand it from you. It is YOUR diagnosis, your business, not theirs.

So how do you make the decision to share your diagnosis with others?

You consider these two questions:

1) Do they absolutely need to know? The primary consideration here rests with whether or not your diagnosis will affect their every day living. If you, for instance, are responsible for caring for your aunt’s kids after school (something which should be suspended if you’ve just had a baby anyway) but your diagnosis will delay you resuming this responsibility a bit longer, then yes, you need to tell her. But if it won’t and/or you don’t think she will be supportive, it’s probably best to not worry about bringing her into your “circle of trust” as you navigate your way back to wellness.

2) Will they be supportive? Briefly touched on in the first question, but this is a very important consideration. If you know, beyond a shadow of a doubt that someone will be a valuable source of support, tell them if you are comfortable doing so. But if you’re not sure or you know they will judge you rather than support you, again, it is best to let them live outside the circle of trust. Post-diagnosis is all about getting you back to a place of wellness.

There are, of course, other more nuanced questions to consider but they range depending on the severity of your diagnosis, if hospitalization is necessary, and what the level of care you will need post diagnosis is expected to be. But the previous two questions are the two most important basic questions to consider when deciding to share your diagnosis with extended family.

Also important is to consider the support your spouse will need as you heal. This may involve informing some people you would rather not have first hand knowledge of your diagnosis. One thing you can do in this situation is to allow your spouse to inform them but also allow him to handle any and all discussions/questions, etc, with them rather than having them discuss things directly with you. Your stress level needs to be kept as low as possible until things begin to heal.

Tomorrow’s #PPDChat will focus on this issue of sharing your diagnosis with an extended family member. We’ll touch on all of the aforementioned issues including past experiences and hopefully offer some additional suggestions on how to handle this very common situation.

Join me tomorrow night at 830pm ET on Twitter with the hashtag #ppdchat to join in! Stay tuned for an official announcement here on the blog tomorrow morning!

 

Saturday Sundries: DSM 5 & Postpartum Depression Identifier


Hey y’all. I’m late, I know, I know.

Last night, I fell asleep at 10pm while watching Kevin Smith’s “Too Fat for 40.” He was hilarious. I? Tired. Woke up long enough to crawl into bed before 11pm.

Then this morning, as I woke up at 813a, the day rolled on and I didn’t blog. I hung with the kiddos as the hubs ran some errands. Then we put the kids to bed and I went shopping.

When I got home, it was time for dinner. So the kids ate. Put them to bed, hubs ran another errand, I did my 30 minutes of Wii and watched Grey’s.

Then hubs came home and we ate a yummy steak dinner while we watched The Parking Lot Movie.

After we ate, I opened my laptop to blog.

The dog decided she needed to go outside.

Of course.

So she went. With me.

Then I fixed myself some Twizzler Cherry Bites.

Then the Internet wouldn’t work on my computer.

Hubs tried to fix it.

Three router restarts, a firmware update and another router restart, here we are.

12 minutes before midnight with a HUGE question to answer.

Here goes nothing.

@WalkerKarraa asked the following question: how will Pediatricians and ObGyns diagnose ppd with no dsm specifier in dsm v. Will the icd 10 cover?

I’ve been mulling this one around in my head all week. I wish I had more time to do it justice. But I slacked and I apologize.

First off, I’m not sure what you mean by “no DSM specifier in DSM 5.” As far as I know, they are keeping the identifier as I’ve not read anything to the contrary (if there is something out there, PLEASE let me know because Dear LORD they can’t take it out of there.) As far as I know, they just aren’t extending the onset of PMAD’s to beyond 4 weeks, which, as covered here, is total complete BS.

Secondly, Pediatricians do not need to be “diagnosing” PPD. They should absolutely screen for it but then refer Mom to her own doctor for official diagnosis.

I know what the ICD 10 is, have read it, and remember thinking that it would cover it and in fact, be reason enough for the folks over at the DSM to extend the identifier onset period but… apparently there has to be a defined offset in order for the onset to be extended. I know, my head hurts too.

Just as Jane said at the conference this past year, when the DSM was last revised, they too, fought hard for PMAD’s.

We can’t give up and let our voices be silenced. We also cannot let a book define our own experiences. It is what it is – label or not. Just because a doctor chooses not to label you as Postpartum doesn’t mean that those of us who have struggled with mental illness after the birth of a child will love or accept you any less. We will still love you and support you. We will still be there for you. Always.

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Diagnosis: Strep Throat


No school until at least Wednesday for Alli.

Hopefully we’ll be able to get through the night without waking up at 3am as we’ve been doing the past two nights. It’s wearing me out!

Tomorrow is Day 2 of Chris’ on the job evaluation. Today went well as he really impresed the Management Development person.

Another big thing happens tomorrow – I will be attending a Meet & Greet for the Spring Interns at Common Ground here in Athens. Two of the interns will be working with me on the overhaul of the support group meetings for PACE. I’m hoping the new format will draw in new attendees, gain additional community support, and also form a strong base for a new nationwide support movement for families struggling with Postpartum Mood Disorders. I’ll be posting more details about the project as they arise. I’m really excited about this and feel that it is the beginning of something really awesome.

Meanwhile, the bulk of tomorrow will be spent at home, resting and hanging out with the kids as Alli recovers.