Keep The Government Out Of My Head!

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Not long after
I heard about Mary Winkler, the preacher's
wife in Tennessee
who killed her husband, then took off in the
minivan with their progeny, I asked my husband, "Where's the
post-partum depression?" I could almost smell it. I could tell
that even though the Winkler's youngest child was no longer a newborn,
somebody was going to suggest post-partum depression as the cause
of the murder.

Recently, while
quickly flipping through People in my dentist's office, I
had one of those hating-that-I'm-right moments. One of the speculators
in the article about why Winkler killed her husband brought up post-partum
depression, or PPD for those with a propensity for abbreviated mental
states.

Why we women
allow people to subject us to such silly stuff is beyond me. Blaming
post-partum depression for killing someone and other horrid behaviors
is supposed to, I'm guessing here, elevate women to some fragile
social status. But why? What will we accomplish when women who have
children can so easily be diagnosed with mental problems? Why aren't
women rebelling against such labeling and subsequent drugging?

I'm not saying
that no woman ever cries at a sad news story more quickly after
childbirth than she would have before becoming pregnant. And I'm
not saying that extra hormones don't contribute to some funky behaviors
from time to time, but this post-partum depression mania that's
sweeping the nation; it's enough to make a mom like me, well, depressed.

Most women
are strong. Men are strong too, but in a different kind of way.
And yes, I do realize that my belief that there are differences
between men and women obliterates my run for the presidency
of Harvard
. But I think that media propaganda and the government
schools are sapping our strength as women, strength that helps us
to conceive, birth, and breastfeed our young.

Advertisements
continually tell us how we're lacking — we're not smart enough,
thin enough, or whatever else enough. The government schools raise
us and/or our friends and in these halls of supposed education,
where we learn all kinds of things: we're pitted against each other
for such silly supposed honors as homecoming queen or cheerleader
and the schools themselves take us away from our families and our
homes, where we really need to learn life's important lessons.

Women are conditioned,
subtly, to believe that we are not strong. We take tests in magazines
that tell us how sexy or how worthy of a boyfriend or husband or
how mentally healthy we are. We read articles by the supposed experts
that tell us how to be more this or that, or less this or that.

We follow celebrities,
especially when they tell us how we should think. One reason for
the recent post-partum depression epidemic, of course, is mental
health spokesperson Brooke Shields
. Brooke, really, should know
better than to prostitute herself to the mental health industry.
And Oprah, if I may use the psychological parlance, should know
better than to enable her.

Although I
didn't have a problem with Brooke's nudity in Blue Lagoon,
I have
a real problem
with her promoting post-partum depression and
so easily taking the medications that made everything bright and
cheery again, supposedly. The old-fashioned kind of prostitution,
sans government intervention, harms few people. With the newfangled
Brooke Shields-mental-health-prostitution, many new moms read her
book and say, "That's me!" And then the moms jump on the
post-partum depression bandwagon themselves, along with the little
pills that supposedly cure the depression.

By the way,
breastfeeding your newborn helps your hormones to return to normal,
but how many times do you read this fact when you hear about post-partum
depression? Instead of promoting this natural hormone regulator,
Brooke was paid by the formula industry to promote bottlefeeding.

Being around
family and friends also helps hormones to return to normal, but
how many times do people reach for a prescription instead of the
hand of a family member or of a friend? A blood test for thyroid
often reveals a physical problem that can affect one's mental state,
but how many times are moms placed on pills, with nary a blood test
in sight?

I used to be
a staunch believer in the mental health industry, but now I have
my doubts. At one point, I even wanted to be a social worker. After
all, social workers had been a part of my life from before I was
born, convincing my mother that she wasn't good enough to keep me.
Later on, when I just couldn't figure out what was wrong with me,
I had eleven years of talk therapy with a social worker.

And yet, I
had not one bit of medicine until after the talk therapy ended,
while I was in graduate school. Some of you may know that the pressures
of graduate studies, and in many cases, undergraduate studies, can
send any sane person to a psychiatrist. Besides, as with many of
my female friends, I really wanted to be a mom. But I was busy in
graduate school, trying to make the ever-important A and trying
hard not to listen to my body, which was telling me, in many ways,
to have a baby.

This kind of
conflict, which I imagine happens as much with women in the military
as with women in graduate school, causes confusion. A good deal
of confusion is best dealt with by a good deal of deep hard thinking,
something not normally done in the superficial culture of most graduate
schools, places where grades seem more important than life itself.
And so, fearing deep hard thinking, I found myself face to face
one day with a psychiatrist.

She asked me
some questions and soon I had a prescription for something. There
was no medical exam, no blood test. There was not much of anything
except a sophisticated form of a Cosmopolitan or Self
magazine evaluation. And then there was the prescription.

I was sure
that the pills would help. That's what the psychiatrist told me.
After I found myself waking up every night at 2 a.m., bitter in
ways I'd not been before, I wasn't so sure about their help. I wrote
a poem that later received honorable mention in some contest, but
other than that accolade, not much good came out of my first round
of legal psychiatric drugs. Never mind. The psychiatrist changed
my medicine and suddenly, I was on another kind of drug. It was
a milder, gentler drug, and I stayed on it for a year, believing
that it was helping my sanity.

Now, I'm not
so sure. Perhaps the talk therapy and year of pills helped, but
it's amazing how much finishing graduate school, finding a wonderful
husband, finding my natural parents, and having a baby helped my
mental attitude, with nary a therapist or pill in sight!
While many will call me insane for questioning the validity of the
mental health industry and of post-partum depression itself, I find
that my skepticism of this industry, especially in light of the
present executive branch's focus on the New
Freedom Mental Health Initiative
, is quite healthy. Even if
you haven't heard of this Orwellian
term
, you'll soon feel its tentacles. Unless you work to stop
it and its funding, it will soon be coming to your state.

Recently, legislators
in Illinois passed a mental health bill, in the same spirit that
our U.S. Congress Critters passed the so-called Patriot Acts: In
hindsight, many Illinois legislators claimed that they had no idea
what they'd voted for. Their ignorance led to a law in which, despite
numerous protests in Illinois and outcries from groups opposing
mandatory screening, all
pregnant women and all children will be screened
for "mental
health," whatever that vague definition means.

In Illinois,
no child or childbearing woman will be left behind. If what happened
in Illinois doesn't scare you, and it should, take
a look at what's happening in New Jersey
.

What I find
especially interesting about the celebratory atmosphere regarding
this latest draconian measure, which promises to screen every mom
who's just given birth in New Jersey, is that there is no mention,
nothing at all, about its connection to the larger picture, to the
government's plan to screen everyone. Yes, everyone.

Leviathan has
a willing accomplice in a New Jersey state senator's wife, Mary
Jo Codey, herself a supposed victim, although less glamorous than
Brooke, of this supposed post-partum depression. Codey claims that
at one point she wanted to place her infant in a microwave.

While I must
admit that even in my most frustrating times as a mom, my fertile
imagination has never pondered such a thought, the good senator's
wife received praise for her confession. Those of us who
are lesser minions to Leviathan would have probably received a visit
from our nearest child protective services social worker if we'd
confessed a similar thought. One writer received a visit from a
social worker after stating that
her house was messy
.

Needless to
say, my plans have changed about becoming a social worker. And I'm
not planning to enter talk therapy or take any little pills soon.
I am thankful for that choice. I am beginning more and more to doubt
the mental health industry's effectiveness, and even its necessity.
Nonetheless, Leviathan plans to reach its slimy fins around our
minds and souls by legislating mental health.

When the government
has the power to deem our thoughts and feelings acceptable or unacceptable,
we’re crazy if we think that the mental health industry may be making
us think we're sick when we're not. We’re crazy if we think that
women are strong enough that we can survive childbirth and the first
few months of a new baby's life without being medicated for some
supposed mental illness. We’re sane if we want to make women into
victims.

As trumped
up illnesses such as post-partum depression continue to make women
feel as though we're victims, we will spend our time talking in
support groups instead of fighting for our dwindling freedoms. Instead
of educating our children ourselves and keeping them away from the
government schools, we will believe that we are too dumb and too
mentally fragile to teach them. Instead of fulfilling our God-given
abilities as nurturers of our children, we will hire people to perform
that awesome responsibility for us.

When the government's
mental health minions diagnose us as depressed or incompetent or
whatever, we will accept our fate and do the bidding of Leviathan.
After all, we're willing victims. If someone tells us we're sick,
we'll swallow the prescribed pills. As with most heavily-Leviathan-induced
people, the senator's wife seems to be doing good. As all women
are screened for this supposed illness and as Leviathan places many
of these women on questionable
anti-depressants
, the senator wife's seemingly gleeful attitude
may soon reflect the soma-induced state of women in New Jersey.

From People
magazine's pre-trial indictment of Mary Winkler's mental state to
Mary Jo Codey, who whined her supposed depression into a new law,
the path has been paved for the nation's women to be diagnosed,
for another level of government to creep into our minds and bodies.

 

 
photo
by John Thomas

 
 

"Today,
we're changing the rules,” Codey's husband said as the New Jersey
bill was signed into law, following this prophetic statement with
the ominous “Today, every mother can get the help she deserves;”
it's important to add something that he didn't say: whether she
wants it or not. Women “facing the fear and uncertainty of post-partum
depression will have someone looking out for them.” Codey said.
Unfortunately, it will be that giant monster, Leviathan — dressed
in the clothing of a very tender and loving sheep.

May
2, 2006

Tricia
Shore [send her mail],
a North Carolina State University graduate, is happy with her momly
life. Currently residing in Los Angeles, Tricia misses the sweet
tea, grits, and barbeque of the South. You can read more of her
thoughts and comment on her article here.

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