Postpartum Depression & The Casserole Famine {Katherine Stone}

 

depression blogger series

Today’s post is the first in a series from bloggers around the web on depression.

Katherine Stone is the founder of Postpartum Progress Inc. , a national nonprofit focused on raising awareness of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders and providing support to the women who have them. She is also the creator and publisher of Postpartum Progress  the world’s leading blog on postpartum depression. The New York Times has listed her blog among its “must read” blogs for parents. In 2012, Katherine was named one of the fiercest women in America as part of More magazine’s annual Fierce List. She also was listed among the most influential mom bloggers in 2011 and 2012 by Babble, and has been selected as a Health Hero by WebMD.  

* * * *

It kind of sucks to have the “no casserole disease.”

Get in a car accident and everyone brings over a casserole. Survive a heart attack, break your leg, come down with pneumonia? Casserole. Tuna casserole. Baked ziti. Chicken divan. That green bean casserole with the crunchy onions on the top.

Depression is the kind of illness that doesn’t portend people bringing potluck. I guess people don’t think mental illness is something you rally around.

I wonder how I would have felt if neighbors and friends had known what was wrong and come together to help me. Brought me food and flowers or funny DVDs. Sent cards. Stopped by. Mowed the lawn and done the dishes.

I imagine part of me would have been annoyed, truth be told, because I wanted to crawl into the deepest, darkest hole and hide. I didn’t want people to see me with unbrushed hair and unbrushed teeth, and welts under my eyes. I didn’t want to attempt to explain postpartum depression when I myself didn’t understand it. I certainly didn’t want to cry or rage or sit emotionless before them, which would have been likely scenarios. I might have told them to go away and not have answered any phone calls. After all, what pregnant or new mother wants people to know she is miserable about something that is supposed to be joyous?

Given my anxiety, I probably couldn’t have even eaten a casserole anyway.

Then again, I might have felt loved. Wanted. I might have believed that what I was going through was an illness like any other, and that I was a good person who deserved the support of others. I might have been buoyed by the fact that they weren’t giving up on me, and thus led to believe I shouldn’t give up on myself.

A casserole, or some other such acknowledgement of depression as an illness, is a way of saying I see you. I see you and even if I don’t understand what you are going through or why, even if it makes no sense to me whatsoever, I will accept that this is an illness and that if you could avoid feeling this way you would in a hot second. I will try to understand that depression has nothing to do with intelligence or rationality or how much love you should already know you have. I will try to give you some support, even if it feels like nothing in the scheme of things. I will sit with you. I will feed you crunchy onions.

Perhaps some day depression will no longer be the “no casserole disease.” Maybe you’ll be the reason why.

* * * *

One of the ways I feel the most helpless as a friend, and fellow woman walking this earth, is when I don’t know the hows or why of how to help.  While I’ve been fortunate to never have struggled with depression, it also means that navigating the waters of support murky and confusing.  Do I pretend I don’t know?  Do I just smile and act like nothing is wrong?  Do I risk offending and bringing a casserole that might remain uneaten?  I love that Katherine gave us that kick in the pants to say ‘to hell with worrying about offense…and vote Love’.  

Over the course of the next two weeks, you’ll hear from women all around Blog Land, coming from different walks and different versions of depression.  My hope is that the series serves as support for those of you who battle with depression, and/or that it encourages you to be a better friend who understands even just a sliver of what they are going through.

And as with all of my series, we will be fundraising for a related charity.

In this case, it will be for Katherine’s incredible organization: Postpartum Progress.

We are fiercely proud to be the world’s most widely-read blog dedicated to these illnesses, with more than 1.1 million pageviews annually.  PostpartumProgress.com is recommended to new moms by the New York Times, Health.com, Parenting.com, Psych Central, Scholastic Parent & Child, Fit Pregnancy and many of the top clinicians specializing in postpartum depression and other perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, including the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Women’s Mental Health. 

I’m in.  Are you?

Raise your hand and support an organization that brings virtual casseroles to millions of women annually by donating HERE.

$5.

I dare you.  Double dog.

Those mamas.  They need love.  Let’s show them.

We’ve built wells.  We’ve found babies homes.  We’ve rallied for so many others.  Let’s do it again, friends.

Go.

I cannot wait to see.

 

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jeannett
I'm a mom to four. A wife to one. I believe in story. I love telling you about mine and would love to hear yours. There's really no sense in wasting our suffering and not sharing in each other's joy. We're all in this together...even if it doesn't always feel like it.
jeannett
jeannett

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Comments

  1. 1

    yes yes yes! thank you for raising awareness!!! as a fellow sufferer, i truly appreciate it.
    Karri´s last blog post ..10 basic table manners for kids

    • 2

      Ditto that. I remember when I told friends (who are therapists/counselors/social workers/nurses) what I was going through, they just looked at me. And then left. Later, they said they didn’t realize it was ‘that bad’ because I had such a flat affect.
      I hope we all remember to do better.
      Caryl

  2. 3

    As a counselor, I could not love this series more. Mental illness still carries such shameful stigma in our society, as though it’s something one can choose or control and yet statistics show that mental illness is far from rare. I’ve had clients tell me they wish their illness was something visible so that others could see and understand. Most people wouldn’t think twice about seeing a doctor or taking medication for high blood pressure, and yet there is reservation about receiving help for mental hurts. Thanks for shining light and showing support!

  3. 4

    Thank you for this series and building awareness! Katherine, I love this post. Not only do we not get casseroles when we hide away in shame, but we also don’t get casseroles when we finally find the courage to speak up and share our suffering. At least I didn’t. I want a damn casserole! Let’s keep fighting together, it’s so important.
    Becky´s last blog post ..Why I love Frozen

  4. 5

    Thanks for this very interesting post which highlights some of the issues people who suffer from depression have to deal with. I wrote a piece on my blog about this very topic.
    http://ultralightdxing.blogspot.com.au/p/depression.html
    Paul´s last blog post ..Blog Promotional Items