PPD and TV do not mix

Okay, let me jump in here and explain why I didn’t even watch the show and have little to say on the subject:

I must confess I have a high degree of skepticism when it comes to the intersection of the medical community and the media. It makes me nervous, quite frankly , when I hear that an entertainment medium is attempting to portray the illness we all know to be shrouded with misinterpretations and symptomatic nuances. Even within the medical community there remains much debate about what postpartum depression is and when is it really something else?

So I get suspicious about any such endeavor and tend to react by ignoring it. Perhaps that’s not the most proactive or politically correct response, but I prefer to stay in the trenches and focus on how best I can help women feel better and help other clinicians do the same…

Serendipitously, when I glanced at the TV the other night while sorting socks and trying to remember if I had fed the dogs already or was that last night, I happened to catch the image of the mother on this episode of Private Practice (a show I have never seen), when she walked out with the acupuncture needles sticking out of her head. When someone made a reference to her baby, I realized what show it was and that we had been encouraged to watch it, particularly for the PSA to follow. But I couldn’t make it passed this 2 second image along with dialogue that felt like the shriek of nails across a chalkboard — I grabbed the remote control and muttered something to myself like, this is ridiculous.

So I didn’t watch it. And I’m particularly thrilled that I missed the part of the “clueless, self-absorbed nut case [therapist] who failed to advocate for her client” as asserted by my friend and colleague Susan Stone. Yikes.

I am not, however, surprised.

I, perhaps unfortunately, expect nothing else, so not only am I not disappointed, I must admit I promptly return with renewed focus to my work of staying face-to-face with these mothers and making sure they know they have found the right place to feel better and get help. I will leave the larger social and political challenges to those of you are are far better at that than I am.

Over the years, I have been interviewed by scores of ratings-hungry media types who make us believe they genuinely care about the larger issue when in fact, they are brilliant at teasing out the one sentence among hundreds that they can splash across the headline or the television screen for dramatic impact and for nothing else. I suspect that won’t be changing anytime soon.

I think I’ll stick to what I know and what I do.

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