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Brookhaven Retreat Blog
Tuesday, 16 August 2011 01:09

Bryce Dallas Howard Waited Too Long to Get Help with Post Partum Depression

Planning and looking forward to having your baby is a wonderful and exciting event. The life change that having a baby can bring often means having to think through all the adjusting and juggling it is going to take. The realization, however, is often very different from the expectation. Post Partum is particularly difficult when you have your new baby and you feel nothing at all. In some cases, you just want to be away from your baby. Some cannot cope with the crying or the sheer presence of the new baby. Some call it baby blues and some know they are depressed but feel they must somehow pull out of it on their own. Some women feel so desperate; it's almost a sensation of just having to run.

You can see how this terrible depression that some women experience after childbirth can debilitate the bonding process and all but destroy the self-worth of a new mother. Getting help for something that is almost a right of passage, ‘becoming a mother,' seems for the woman suffering with post partum depression an almost degrading request. The guilt that surrounds the difficulty being experienced in transitioning into motherhood is usually what stops a woman from reaching out for help.

Listening to Bryce Dallas Howard, who recently had a leading role in the movie 'The Help' and is expecting her second child, expressing openly that she waited too long to get help for her post partum depression with her first child should strengthen all women. The actress stated “feeling nothing for your child” was her experience. Having received successful treatment has allowed her to move forward with her career and enlarge her family. I applaud her for being willing to share such sensitive information with other women. This example may help other women who are not in the public eye to think about getting help rather than trying to exist through this very frightening experience. Post Partum is a type of depression that is unique to women and may be chemical. As Bryce Dallas Howard said, she waited too long. Knowing what she knows now, she would get help if this happens with her second child. Seeking help with her post partum depression was the key to resolution.

Published in Brookhaven Blog
Thursday, 11 August 2011 07:38

Riots, Returns, and Reinvention

Seeing the explosion of riots in London shows you how quickly things can change. Many of the traumas I have heard about from the women I work with have come about from nothing they did at all. They were simply 'there' at the time. The trouble is, being just 'there' may develop feelings and memories which may make a person want to shut down. The body is amazing in the ways it deals with trauma and many women make a good recovery. Others just simply disassociate. Many women do not even know they disassociate, they just lose time and memory. For some, it is a trauma coping mechanism but it presents many difficulties when the children remember things for which mum has no recollection. As the children return back to school, lots of women know they will move into the hardest season of the year for them; the holiday season. Women frequently do another reinvention of themselves, often forcibly trying to be all that everybody needs them to be. We know the 'sad ' (Season Adjusted Depression) months are coming and each year the bouts of depression become slowly longer. For those that have disassociative episodes mixed in, they feel less and less in control of their lives. Your own household may be as much of a riot as those experienced on the streets of London.

Women come to Brookhaven Retreat for personal recreation as they know they cannot go any further forward with their lives. If you are losing memories of time and feel as if you are having a disconnection to your day-to-day life, please have it investigated as it may be a clinical condition that needs very specific attention. Ignoring things does not make them go away; it allows them to become worse.

To learn more about coping with S.A.D. you can read our “Holiday Survival Guide” or call us at 877-817-3422 to see how we can help you.

Published in Brookhaven Blog
Friday, 05 August 2011 14:37

Depression, Women and the Bloodbath on Wall Street

I believe if a woman cannot be financially organized, then neither can she be emotionally organized. It shouldn't be surprising that when somebody feels they have been financially organized, to watch all this effort get wiped out is pretty devastating. Anything that batters a woman's self-belief system can send self-esteem through a tailspin and lead to serious bouts of depression and anxiety. The interesting thing about this is very often it sends women out on a spending episode, sometimes of manic proportions. It is quite common for women who experience various kinds of loss, including long term relationships, jobs, status, and self-identity to try to recover their self-identity through purchasing, shopping, and spending for comfort.

The loss of self-identity and self-worth can be as instant as a hurricane and equally devastating. Divorce for many women feels like a living death. In 2008 when we had the last stock market meltdown, many fragile relationships disintegrated in the turmoil of those times. The pressure that is created from financial change can be overwhelming. Depression and anxiety engulf some women to the point of immobilization, yet with no organic visualization it is dismissed as if it were as simple as a sneeze. Many women experience fear, anxiety, and feelings of hopelessness which leave them feeling devoid of self and detached. The impulse shopping comfort blanket will prove to be barren, disappointing, and for some a poisonous challis. A woman's self-esteem has to be about who she is, not what she has. Not knowing who you are is the greatest loss of all. It can make you feel ugly, but remember each ugly duckling has a beautiful swan inside. If you feel emotionally trapped, it might be time to find your true swan.

Published in Brookhaven Blog
Wednesday, 03 August 2011 16:52

Debt, Priorities, and a Priceless Life

As I work to help restore the lives of women suffering from depression, fear, and anxiety; I have noticed a pattern: a constant drive to buy.  A belief that the answer to everything can ultimately be purchased. I believe this need to purchase helps drive an individual’s willingness to accept debt in pursuit of self-definition. I have found, however, the very opposite to be true. A person is usually defined by what they choose to give up rather than what they choose to acquire. When a person’s body comes under an organic attack threatening life itself, a shift in priorities happens. Let's take a man many of us greatly admire, Apple's Steve Jobs. Two years ago, the founder of Apple disappeared from the business scene. There were stories, rumors, speculation, and fear. We all finally came to know the truth. Steve needed a liver transplant and a donor organ became available in Tennessee. He came to Tennessee, received the transplant, recovered, and extended his life. He did what he needed to do to stay well. Life is priceless.

I have found women; who are equally as vulnerable and are at high risk of premature death due to trauma, personality disorders, and distorted thinking; sometimes seem unable to comprehend that their illness can be just as deadly as his might have been. Steve had to step back and take care of his life threat. None of us can really imagine how he felt about all he had to go through to stay alive. With physical illness comes fear, depression, and moments of self-doubt. These mental health issues deserve equal attention. What I admire about Steve Jobs is that he did not give up on life. Nothing could replace his drive to get the services he needed. Yes, we all missed him for a while but we got him back. As women, we must give ourselves permission to take time out and look after our health. No one else can or will do it for us.

Published in Brookhaven Blog
Wednesday, 03 August 2011 06:21

Emotional Torment for the Family of Amy Winehouse

Since the loss of Amy Winehouse ten days ago, I have thought about the anguish, conflict, despair and pure pain her family will have to endure over the months and years to come. I know the feelings well having lost my own daughter, Julia, 13 years ago this week. No loss compares to that of your own child. You are never over it. You slowly and gradually learn to cope.

Although Amy Winehouse’s cause of death is presently unknown, years of drug and alcohol abuse surely contributed to her untimely and tragic death. There are so many young women who experience depression, sadness, fear and anxiety. There are those who become emotionally frozen and those that become devoid of any feeling at all. Full of self judgment yet seeking approval . Hating and loving at the same time. Anguished, yet fighting, retreating, yet pushing, searching for truth, yet living in lies. Betraying all beliefs in the game of emotional incest. Who can get inside the thinking of somebody living in an emotional helter skelter? Circling round and down but never understanding emotional safety. The warring that exists within such a woman sometimes leaves her only able to shut down. Seeking help for depression, anxiety, and addiction has its own set of obstacles and barriers. It is almost impossible for some parents to know how to actually reach their own adult child, however when you lose a child, the breaking of your own life, as you have known it, begins. For Amy's parents, privacy will be unavailable and the questions will continue throughout their lifetime.

People are obsessed with the artistically and musically talented. How did it start, when did it start, why did it start, how could have it been different will be the hollow questions. The answers went with Amy and the second guessing for everybody else remains. Those of us that have experienced the depths of existing non existence know how terribly agonizing this will be for the family. My hope is they will feel able to find emotional consolidation and their own identities will not be forever so entwined with Amy's death but will be able to find a belief acceptance system that allows them to move forward.

Published in Brookhaven Blog