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Baby Blues Syndrome

Baby Blues Syndrome Vs Postpartum Depression

The days and months after giving birth can be a psychologically challenging time as well as emotional time for persons who have just had a baby. You are adjusting to a new routine with your little one and are also undergoing large hormonal changes. Baby blues is a term that is often used to describe the time frame immediately after birth in which a new mom feels sad, upset, anxious, or angry. Baby blues typically begins 2 to 3 days after childbirth (1) and happens in almost 85% of women. Baby blues should resolve on their own and without any treatment within 2 weeks of symptom onset. Women may feel depressed, anxious, or upset. Baby blues may result in anger with the new baby, anger towards a partner, as well as feeling upset with other family members. Baby blues include the following symptoms, and usually do not last past a few weeks after giving birth.It’s important to note that baby blues will come and go for a few days to a few weeks after the birth of the child as the body changes, adjustments are made, and families acclimate to the new circumstances. Baby blues often do not require treatment and the syndrome will improve on its own. If you feel that your baby blues are not resolving, this could be a sign of PPD or postpartum depression.Postpartum depression (PPD) is described as being more intense and lasting longer than those of baby blues (2). It typically begins 1-3 weeks after childbirth and can occur up to 1 year after having a baby(1). Depression, postpartum or not, is a serious illness that often requires professional help and intervention. The CDC reports that 1 in 8 women experience symptoms of postpartum depression (3). Estimates vary by state and can be as high as 1 in 5 women(2).  According to the American Psychological Association(4), “PPD can affect any woman—women with easy pregnancies or problem pregnancies, first-time mothers and mothers with one or more children, women who are married and women who are not, and regardless of income, age, race or ethnicity, culture or education.”Postpartum depression can present itself in a number of ways that are important to recognize and seek help for it. The symptoms for postpartum depression include, but aren’t limited to (2), the following:Once symptoms are recognized, it is very important to seek help quickly and encourage a person you know who is experiencing these symptoms to speak with their healthcare provider as soon as possible. For most persons, there is no one specific cause for postpartum depression. Some pregnant persons are at higher risk for PPD than others. These risk factors include(2):Postpartum depression can also occur without having any of the risk factors above. Even if you are fortunate to have a healthy pregnancy and birth, PPD can still happen to you. It is important to stay vigilant of the symptoms and communicate any struggles you are having to your doctor. Unfortunately, there is no quick cure for PPD or postpartum depression. There are many treatments, however, and you should make your doctor aware of how you are feeling as soon as possible. The most common treatments for postpartum depression are therapy and medication (5). In therapy, a mother speaks with a therapist, psychologist, or social worker to develop coping strategies to counter the way depression makes you think, feel, and act. Medication may also be used and must be prescribed by a doctor or nurse. Antidepressants may take a few weeks to start working, and you can ask your doctor about which ones can be taken safely while breastfeeding.Baby blues are common, while PPD is less common. You should expect to have baby blues as it is a syndrome that is experienced by most pregnant persons in the postpartum period. If you feel that your symptoms are severe or lasting longer than a couple weeks following the birth of your child, please let your doctor know. This could be PPD, and there are ways to treat postpartum depression that are safe and effective. If you ever have thoughts about harming yourself or your baby, you should seek medical help immediately. 
5 min read

Gaslighting In A Relationship

Yes. Gaslighting is a type of psychological abuse where the offending partner tries to convince their significant other that their thoughts and beliefs are wrong or mistaken. They want the person to feel as if they are being unreasonable and want to label their partner as being ‘crazy’ for having the feelings they are having.Gaslighting in a relationship, especially in a relationship where a man is gaslighting a woman, is one of the more common situations in which this type of emotional manipulation occurs. The following are gaslighting phrases that may be used by your partner. By using this gaslighting phrase, your abuser will make you feel as if you are not correctly remembering the facts of a scenario or situation. An example of this could be if your partner flirts with someone outside your relationship or crosses boundaries but then completely denies that they did that. Denial is a common example of gaslighting manipulation. Perpetrators may blatantly lie, and will often avoid evidence that proves them wrong (1)The person will try to make their partner feel as if any emotional reaction such as sadness, crying or anger is inappropriate. They will turn a situation around in which they are wrong to making you feel as if you are person who has done something inappropriate or reacted incorrectly. Many victims of gaslighting are women who are manipulated by men. Many gaslighting techniques are rooted in associating femininity with being irrational (2), thus making women an easier target for this type of abuse.Gaslighters will avoid taking blame for anything and will subsequently blame you for their bad behavior. This gaslighting phrase is used to make the victim feel guilty even though ultimately each person’s actions are their own choice. Another example of gaslighting is when a person tries to attack someone’s entire identity. Sometimes they may attack the identity you have in the relationship you have with them, such as girlfriend or spouse, but oftentimes they will also attack the other parts of your identity as well. Especially if they know that you have a strained relationship with your child or with your parent, the abuser may use this to keep you feeling vulnerable or to make you feel inadequate. Another example of gaslighting is when your partner waits or “forgets” to do things and intentionally makes you feel as less of a priority. They may even blatantly lie about their intent to do something and then not follow through to test you. All these actions allow them to maintain a perceived balance of power in the relationship. They want to push you to your limits and when you reach them and react, they can then call you “irrational” or “crazy” which then leads to you questioning your beliefs and thoughts.Gaslighting can happen in any relationship including, but not limited to, a relationship between a boss and their employee, a parent and their child and even between friends. The most common example of gaslighting, however, happens in romantic relationships especially those between a man and a woman. This is because many men rely on manipulating a woman’s sense of femininity and equating it to being irrational. Sadly, gaslighting in a relationship can also occur alongside verbal, emotional, and physical abuse. Unfortunately, in most relationships where gaslighting is going on, it can be challenging to recognize as well as subsequently deal with. Many of these relationships are unable to recover from this type of manipulation. Sources:
4 min read

What Is Gaslighting And What You Can Do About It

Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse where the victim starts to question their own reality. It can be often difficult to pick up because it tends to happen gradually. What starts out as small seemingly minor offenses can then become a pattern of gaslighting where the abuser wants to have control over the other person. Gaslighting can happen in romantic relationships, in the workplace, between friends, between a parent and child, and even by a public figure to his / her constituents.Gas Light was a movie made in 1944 starring Ingrid Bergman, who played Paula, and Charles Boyer, who played her husband Gregory. In the movie, Gregory manipulates Paula in order to steal from her and makes her feel “crazy.” In one particular part of the movie, Gregory intentionally makes the gaslights in the house flicker, but when Paula mentions it, he claims that it is not actually happening. The term gaslighting comes from this movie’s portrayal of psychological manipulation between the two main characters. Most situations that involve gaslighting are not as obvious or with such malicious intent. Nevertheless, gaslighting is not part of a healthy relationship, and it should be recognized and addressed.This is one of the more common forms of gaslighting, and while it can occur in any romantic relationship, it is often seen in a power dynamic between a man and a woman. Many male gaslighters manipulate an association between being feminine and being “overly sensitive” to make their female partners feel as if they are “over reacting” or “making a big deal” of something. Learn more about gaslighting in a relationship hereGaslighting at work can happen between employees as well as between managers and bosses and the persons they are in charge of. This is especially ripe to occur when you are a new employee or person at an organization, even at senior executive level positions. Something as simple as gossiping at work can be gaslighting. If you see a colleague who is continually spreading rumors or telling lies about another colleague, it should raise concern for bullying and gaslighting. If these rumors center around your ability to perform or be mentally fit for the job, you should involve human resources immediately. Here are some examples of gaslighting and how they can occur in a multitude of different relationships. You have missed a meeting or deadline at work and your boss or manager refuses to accept that they could have made a mistake about a deadline or meeting time. This happens repeatedly in more than one instance and they blame you for being incompetent. You are waiting for your boyfriend to come home and when you ask him why he is late he changes the subject and gets mad at you instead for being paranoid. People who gaslight want to divert energy from having blame placed on them and will often undermine their victim for even questioning them. One of your parents fails to show up again to an important family event. When you approach your parent about it, they tell you that you are being “overly sensitive” and “making a big deal” out of the situation. When you try to discuss it with them, they trivialize it and may even try to divert energy as above or change the subject. So, is there anything you can do about gaslighting? Because victims of gaslighting will often be uncertain about certain events, start to write things down. If needed, send yourself an email with the events that transpired and copy a good friend that you can trust. Write down the date, the time and the detailed context in which the events transpired. If there is physical abuse involved, it is very important to seek help as soon as possible. It may also be important to take pictures of any bruises you may have along with the dates and times they happened. If you think you may need these for a future legal proceeding, be sure to also send them to yourself via email and additionally to a friend that you trust. Depending on the context in which the gaslighting is occurring, you should strongly consider seeking personal and professional help. You may need to do this discreetly if you are concerned for your safety. In many cases,  victims of gaslighting become out of touch with their close friends and family. It may be a direct or indirect result of being in an unhealthy and toxic relationship. Your abuser may put ideas in your head that your close friends and family are toxic in order to divert energy from the toxic relationship you are in with your abuser. Your partner may feel that reconnecting with friends and family is a threat to your relationship, and this is a red flag that they are trying to hold control over you. Reconnecting with friends and family and being open with them about your struggles can also help to provide perspective on your situation. It will also give you a support system to lean on if you end the relationship with your abuser.In some situations, especially highly toxic, manipulative, and abusive ones, leaving the relationship safely may be your only option. It is not easy to do this and you may need to have a plan in place in order to safely leave your relationship. Having a support system, whether it is friends or family, can be very helpful as you transition out of a toxic romantic relationship, workplace gaslighting, or any other relationship. If there is physical abuse involved or you are questioning your safety, it is important to make a plan so that you can leave your relationship safely. Here are some resources on how to find help locally where you live. If you are in immediate danger, never hesitate to call 911. Being a victim to a person who gaslights you can have devastating personal consequences. Even after you recognize that someone has done this to you, you may blame yourself for being naive about the situation. It may also make you very reluctant and hesitant of future relationships that have a similar nature. For example, if you were gaslight in a workplace scenario, you may be suspicious of future bosses, and it may be difficult for you to have a “clean slate” going forward.  If you find yourself in a situation where you think you are having long lasting effects from a previous interaction with someone who manipulated you, it is important to seek help. The first part of this journey involves recognition that the behavior took place. Because victims of gaslighting may be embedded in self doubt when they leave the relationship, it can be difficult to acknowledge that certain things did actually happen in the relationship. If you have written experiences down, or recorded them for yourself, it can be helpful to revisit these so that you are reminded of the actual circumstances that occurred. If you find this too triggering to do on your own, you should strongly consider involving professional help such as a therapist. It is important to be able to trust your own instincts again, and having supportive individuals in both a personal and professional capacity can assist with this. A therapist with a background in abusive relationships can be very helpful.Let go of trying to convince the person who manipulated you that they were wrong to do so. Many persons who gaslight someone often have deep rooted issues themselves and some may even have a personality disorder like narcissistic personality disorder. Unfortunately, in many situations the abuser has a severe lack of self awareness and attempting to show them their wrong doings will only result in further gaslighting and attempts at manipulation. It is often unfair to have to leave a job because of a boss that is treating you this way, but if you are unable to resolve it through appropriate channels such as human resources, it may hinder your personal and professional growth. You may also need to let go of the perception others have of the person that mistreated you. It is not uncommon where someone who acts one way around one person is a totally different person around others. Gaslighters will often present their best selves to the world, but behind closed doors are very different. Convincing people around you that someone treated you poorly is likely to only take energy from you. Focus on healing yourself from the relationship, as well as on moving forward.Gaslighting is emotional and psychological abuse. It can have varying degrees and may not always be intentional but it is never acceptable behavior in any relationship. If you find yourself always apologizing, feeling constantly uncertain about your role somewhere, or generally unhappy in a particular relationship, start to write down the experiences you are having that you think could be contributing to this. Seeking out friends and family for support is important and if gaslighting is associated with physical abuse, you should seek help immediately from domestic abuse resources in your area. If you are able to remove yourself from a situation in which gaslighting is happening, seek out help in order to move on. While difficult, try to give future relationships a chance even though trusting others can be very challenging after such an experience. 
8 min read
Postpartum Depression Symptoms

Symptoms For Postpartum Depression

It is critical that women and pregnant persons are supported mentally, physically, and emotionally in the days and months following delivery of a baby. While a postpartum depression screener should be done by your OB GYN at your post delivery visits, it is a good idea to be aware of the symptoms of postpartum depression. Here are some of the most common symptoms of postpartum depression, also abbreviated as PPD. Women may experience symptoms beyond those listed below as well (1). Postpartum most commonly starts about 1–3 weeks after childbirth.In order to identify symptoms for postpartum depression, it is important to be vigilant yourself, but also to communicate what you are feeling with your doctor. Many pregnant persons suffer in silence or think that feeling very sad is common and something they should just endure. Postpartum depression is more severe than having baby blues. Baby blues typically resolve within 1 to 2 weeks with no treatment.The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends all postpartum persons should have contact with a maternal care provider within the first 3 weeks following delivery. For some people, it may not be sufficiently addressed during this time, and many people will need the help of a therapist or mental health professional to help them through this time. After the 3 week visit, the need for ongoing care should be assessed. If it is determined that no interim care is needed, this visit should be followed up with a comprehensive postpartum visit no later than 12 weeks after giving birth (2).Recently, the term postpartum depression is being used less and the term peripartum depression is being used more. Peripartum depression includes depression that can happen during pregnancy or after childbirth, and thus is inclusive of the postpartum time period. By using the word peripartum, the scientific community is recognizing that depression associated with having a baby may not start after delivery, but can even begin during the pregnancy itself (3).You may need treatment for postpartum depression if you are experiencing several of the symptoms listed above for longer than two weeks, if your depressive feelings are getting worse, and you are having difficulty taking care of your child or yourself. Additionally, seek medical attention immediately if you have thoughts of suicide, thoughts of harming yourself, or harming your child.Peripartum depression, which includes postpartum depression, can be managed with psychotherapy (talk therapy), medications, lifestyle changes and building a supportive environment. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, it is recommended by the American Psychiatric Association that talk therapy be started as first line treatment, but only if the symptoms of postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety are mild. If you are having more severe symptoms, then medication use may be needed. You will need to discuss with your doctor which medications are safe for use depending on your individual situation. There are studies to show that postpartum depression and peripartum depression can occur in about 1 in 7 pregnant persons, or approximately 13% to 14% of pregnancies (4). Postpartum depression is a serious illness that requires close follow up and medical attention. For moms experiencing perinatal depression, one or two follow up appointments with medical doctors may not be enough. Many patients with PPD will require frequent follow up and chronic care from a multitude of specialists ranging from mental health professionals as well as an OB GYN and a primary care doctor. The term peripartum depression is being used as well now by clinicians and the medical community to account for the fact that depression may happen during pregnancy as well and continue into the postpartum period. It is important to communicate symptoms to your healthcare provider and not suffer in silence. If you have thoughts of harming yourself or someone else, seek medical help immediately.Sources:
4 min read
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