I mean to post, I really do, but writing that pays the bills has taken over at the moment so, even though I have many things I want to say, I am having to put them to one side for now. Thankfully, other people are not having the same trouble – and they are writing far better than I could anyway. Here are a few of the posts I have been reading recently.
Reporting Suicide: How not to kill your readers.
In the wake of the publicity surrounding the death of Robin Williams, my former colleague Mary, who is now a star at the Guardian (currently working in Australia), has written a blog post which deserves to be read.
This is a particularly powerful paragraph:
“The reason the media isn’t supposed to talk about methods used is because that knowledge can turn someone who is passively suicidal into someone with an active plan. Knowing the distances dropped, the ligatures used, the medication taken, the blades employed, all of these things can give a suicidal person the knowledge of how to actually do the deed, how to go about taking their thoughts from the realm of the hypothetical into the realm of the real.”
As well as clearly dangerous, I am also not sure of the need to actually go into details. When I worked in the newsroom we were regularly asked to read guidance from the Samaritans on reporting suicide.
Rule one: Think about the impact of the coverage on your audience.
Rule two: Exercise caution when referring to the methods and context of a suicide.
The post-partum struggle is real, folks.
Second up is a new column post by Janelle Hanchett, of Renegade Mothering, who highlights a sleep study. As a mother of four, who had a baby just a few weeks ago, I’m sure she understands this better than most. Freya turns one at the end of this month and I have yet to get more than a couple of hours of uninterrupted sleep. In fact, some nights, as a result of horrible acid reflux, she has woken up every 10 minutes. I can’t explain (luckily, if you look at the next post someone else has hit the nail on the head) what that does to a person, both physically and mentally, but it’s not good. Have a read, anyway.
Infant reflux and post natal depression.
Lastly, still on the issue of sleep (or the lack of), I read this post and thought “finally, someone has been able to put into words exactly what it feels like”. While I didn’t (and don’t) have post natal depression a lot of the symptoms as a result of the sheer exhaustion of not sleeping were (and are) the same. This paragraph was the one where I thought, this person knows.
“For me the reality was that our day to day situation wasn’t going to change quickly or easily. I was a walking zombie. I was getting increasingly frustrated with the situation and the lack of sleep was playing havoc with my capacity to perform even the most basic task. There was a possibility that I could have inadvertently hurt myself or my child I think. Bad decisions get made when you are chronically sleep deprived. You can fall asleep with a baby in a compromised position, have impaired driving skills or make mistakes with medication. Plus it does something awful to your nerves to nurse a screaming child that will not be consoled. Listening to screaming you can’t seem to do anything about, for days, nights, weeks, months and sometimes years does something horrible to your brain.”
Hopefully, I will resume posting shortly.