Whatever Wednesday: Welcome to hell, courtesy of Facebook


Last night, I curled up in bed with a bilingual copy of Pablo Neruda. Snuggled under a wool blanket, two quilts, propped up with several comfy pillows, I read until I passed out. (Which took all of 5 minutes but I digress.) Point is, I fell asleep happy. Comfortable. Safe. A sense of order and bliss surrounding me.

This morning?

Ripped away from me in mere milliseconds after typing in http://www.facebook.com.

Oh.MAH.GAWD.

There’s some scrolling status update thing in the corner ABOVE the already annoying sidebar chat list.

And there’s no choice in what you see on your News Update now. It auto-updates. With what it THINKS you want to see the most.

Don’t get me started on the lists. Because really. Automatically added to lists via location or who FB thinks my closest friends are? Wow. Although this one hit me a few days ago, I’m still working my head around it.

I immediately set off to the Twitter. For help. For support. For… OW. Mah head. I may be blind. I may… there… but… wha?

Tech Crunch offered a solution. Change your language to English (UK) in your Account Settings. Didn’t work for me. It’s like I tripped overnight and fell into some massive rabbit hole which then landed me in one of Dante’s circles of Hell which then flew me via Oceanic Flight 815 over to the island with the boys from Lord of the Flies. GET ME THE EFF OUTTA HERE. PLEASE.

Ever seen Nothing to Lose with Martin Lawrence and Tim Robbins? No? The clip below sums up perfectly how I feel about the changes at FB this morning.

“You’re driving on the sidewalk … people got to walk there!”

“I’m blind! I cant.SEE.SHIT!”

Thanks Zuckerburg. Thanks for the massive ass migraine. You’ll be getting a bill.

Only human


Dear lovely readers and #PPDChat members:

 

It’s been a heck of a week. I’m tired. Drained. Worn the heck out.

I’m always preaching to you about self-care. About filling your own tanks and making sure you put yourself first.

This week, I sucked at that a little.

So I’m taking the weekend off.

I’m uninstalling Twitter from my phone.

I’m turning off my email alerts except for a super secret email address only released to a few chosen people.

I won’t be on Facebook either.

I need to just be.

To soak in the jacuzzi.

Watch the clouds.

Swing on a playground.

Watch the Blue Heron hunt for fish in the lake behind the house.

Sink into a hot bubble bath.

Also? Chocolate. Maybe.

Know that I’m okay. That I’m taking care of me which is precisely what I want each and every one of you to do this weekend.

Take care of you.

I’ll see y’all on Monday at chat.

We’ll be talking about Triggers and how to cope.

What better way to get ready than to practice all weekend?

Love all of you so much.

All my heart,

lauren

Whatever Wednesday: I am not my @klout score


If you’re at all active in the Social Media realm, you are familiar with Klout. You either have it or you don’t. You either joke about it or you take it very seriously. Klout defines some. It confuses others. It depresses many more because try as they might, they just can’t get their Klout score any higher.

In the interest of full disclosure, my Klout score is 62. It’s been that way for months now. Not terribly bad for someone who has a niche blog and mostly socializes on Twitter. Thing is, my Klout score means nothing to me.

The people over at Klout lay out how they determine your score on their Understanding the Influence Metric page. From their page: ” The Klout score is highly correlated to clicks, comments and retweets.” They then go on to describe how they test, retest, use machines, etc, to determine your Klout score.

My Klout will never be determined by a machine.

I will never be defined by my Klout.

Ever.

When I started blogging over four years ago, it was for a very selfish yet not so selfish reason. Unexpectedly pregnant with our third child, I needed to reframe my pregnancy after two very serious episodes of Postpartum OCD, depression, and a case of PTSD from our second daughter’s NICU stay. After ferociously reading “What am I Thinking: Having a Baby after Postpartum Depression” by Karen Kleiman in which she suggested reframing your pregnancy in a positive light, I decided to start blogging. I was already active in Postpartum Advocacy and had been for a few months by then. Blogging seemed  a natural evolution for my advocacy. So I went to WordPress, snagged a blog, and began to write.

I knew nothing about social media when I started blogging. Twitter was brand new then and FaceBook wasn’t yet on my radar. I blogged away. I found it helped with the tough days. Knowing I would be able to sit down at the end of it or whenever I needed to and just pour my heart out made the hard things easier. My mind began to rework the hard things into funny things. Karen’s idea took hold. My pregnancy began to be positive despite the initial depression which, quite frankly, made me wish at my first few appointments that they wouldn’t find the baby’s heartbeat and I could go on without being pregnant. For the first three months of my pregnancy I was delusional in thinking that the pregnancy was not real and was instead, just a dream. I did not begin to fall in love with the idea of this unexpected pregnancy until nearly five months along.

Eventually I joined Twitter. I do not remember what I talked about in the early days. I do know that @MommyGeekology was one of the first friends I really made there. (We STILL have yet to meet in person – we SO need to remedy that!) From there, my friends on Twitter grew. I shared my blog posts, found other parents to whom I could relate, and was absolutely not shy about discussing the hard stuff with anyone.

A year ago I really embraced the power of Twitter. I started #PPDChat on the third anniversary of my blog. I had no high hopes for attendance nor did I have any expectations for how things would go once chat started. Would I be talking to myself? Would others want to talk about the hard stuff with me? Who would show up? Would I lose followers for talking about nothing but Postpartum Mood Disorders twice a day once a week? Taking a deep breath, I dove in to the first chat.

Our first chat was small and cozy but the sharing blew me away. The evening chat was slightly bigger. I’ve tracked the numbers with TweetReach after each chat. But again, for me, it’s just a way of keeping record. The world likes tangible. I’m not a fan of the tangible. I measure chats by how many people I’ve reached. By how many people asked me questions. Or how many people took a deep breath and said “Hi. I’m hurting. Can you help me?”

My online presence is not about the numbers. It never has been and it never will be about the numbers.

My online presence is about the love and comfort others feel when they talk to me. About the way people mention me to people they know are or might be struggling with a Postpartum Mood Disorder. It’s about the heart. My heart as well as the growth and change in the hearts of those who talk to me. Watching people heal and grow stronger is an amazing thing. Knowing that you’re a part of it is even more amazing. It’s humbling.

One year after #PPDChat started, we’re still going strong. In fact, to speak to just how much I don’t pay attention to the numbers – I started a closed FB group for the #PPDChat ladies this past week. It’s a safe place where they can express themselves in more than 140 characters outside of chat. (Note here: you MUST be an active member of #PPDChat to join.) In less than two days, there were 50 members. There are now 61. I’m astounded. I had no idea so many were chatting. I truly love each and every one of the moms and dads who come to me for help. I care deeply for them. You can’t put a number on love. You can’t put a number on heart. You can’t put a number on networking that level of compassion.

Yes, I understand why so many put the emphasis on Klout and why it’s necessary. It’s a tangible measurement of your reach. According to Klout, my true reach is 1k. In my heart though, I know it’s so much more – it’s limitless… and it’s only limitless because of those who have reached out to me, found solace, and then shared me as a resource with others.

I am humbled and grateful for all who have sought me for solace and compassion as you navigate the very dark place filled with Postpartum Mood & Anxiety Disorders. I can only pray I’m allowed to continue to be a shining light in that dark place for years and years to come…. outlasting even Klout.

Coping with tragedy while struggling with mental illness


Last night, all bleary eyed, I read a Breaking News Update from Huffington Post about Japan. A 7.9 earthquake had struck. I prayed and stumbled to bed.

I awoke to news of an even higher richter scale quake splashed all over the Internet. It was on my Facebook Page, at Twitter, and everywhere else. There was no escaping the tragedy which had occurred overnight. I felt my own anxieties ramping up a bit and then I worried for my #PPDChat Mamas.

If you need support, please don’t hesitate to find me on Twitter – I’m @unxpctdblessing. You can also email me at mypostpartumvoice (@) gmail (dot) com. If you feel yourself really adrift in anxiety and stress, do not hesitate to call your healthcare provider or therapist.

News and current events can strike fear and confusion in the heart of even the most normal of people. For those of us struggling with mental illness, those feelings are magnified. I stopped watching the news when I realized it was causing my anxiety to increase 100 fold or more.

Increased anxiety is not good for anyone, let alone someone with an anxiety or depression disorder.

While it is important to stay informed, it’s also important to take care of one’s self in the face of the ever increasing instant news society in which we live. One of the biggest things you can do for yourself is to turn off the evening or morning news. When was the last time you heard good news there any way? Read online. Sure, you may see some headlines that might trigger you but you don’t have to click on them. Go elsewhere. Or visit Happy News.

Your friends may post links to triggering news stories at Facebook or on Twitter. Again, ignore them. You can hide the post on Facebook. Twitter moves so fast that any news post may be lost before you even have a chance to click. If you struggle with the urge to click on news stories, then you may want to go find an online game to play – Tetris specifically has been proven to be helpful for those who struggle with PTSD. It distracts the brain and forces it to focus on solving a puzzle.

The APA also has a great page on how to manage during a disaster. While you may not have been directly affected, some of us have very vivid imaginations and have seen video of what happened in Japan. Sometimes this can affect someone almost as much as having been there, especially if they are already struggling with a mental illness. Go read the APA sheet. I strongly urge you to seek help if today has been overwhelming for you. Don’t suffer alone.

 

 

 

Postpartum Voice of the Week: The Comparison Game – Facebook you suck


Comparisons. Judgments. Look at her, she’s all put together and flawless. Nails perfect. Lipstick matches her shirt/dress. She’s got the latest stroller, designer clothes for her baby, not a hair out of place , everything looks fine. Family photos, family vacations. Not a single smudge of flour in her kitchen anywhere in her pictures. On Facebook.

LOOKS fine.

When people post photos, they tend to post the best, the brightest, the cleanest. They post photos which portray the life they are “supposed” to have. Now, some people may post pictures of their real lives. They may be honest with their portrayal of their lives. But for those of us who feel less than perfect, photos which appear even remotely perfect cut us to the bone.

They bring judgment into our head. Misconceptions. Lies. The cycle begins. We get lost in what should be instead of what IS in our own lives.

With the advent of social media, we get a closer peek into the lives of people we know (and even people we don’t) every day. Social media has gained a new foothold into loading us down with Mama Guilt.

Today’s Postpartum Voice from Carrying Me Through, shares a very powerful post about how these photos and ideals shared and portrayed (through Facebook specifically) have affected her as a Mom struggling with a Postpartum Mood Disorder.

Please go read it. You won’t regret it at all…. in fact, it may cause you to think in a new way about the effect of Social Media.