The Mix

Our Brookie's growing up!

Remember when Tom Cruise said that Brooke Shields should have treated her postpartum depression with vitamins instead of Paxil? She's fighting back in a <i>New York Times</i> op-ed.
Finally, a touch of sunshine in this otherwise unredeemably bad day.

Remember how Tom Cruise said he didn't believe in psychiatry (because Scientology, his uber-authentic "religion," doesn't condone it)? And he lambasted Brooke Shields for speaking out about taking anti-depressants to combat her postpartum depression? And he insulted her talent and implied that her acting career was over, for no good reason except that somehow he assumed mud-slinging & personal attacks would help bolster his oh-so-credible argument?

Welp, she's fighting back. Shields wrote an op-ed in today's New York Times calling Tom out on just how little he knows about depression, psychiatry, and baby-making.

Some of Brooke's finer moments:
I was hoping it wouldn't come to this, but after Tom Cruise's interview with Matt Lauer on the NBC show "Today" last week, I feel compelled to speak not just for myself but also for the hundreds of thousands of women who have suffered from postpartum depression. While Mr. Cruise says that Mr. Lauer and I do not "understand the history of psychiatry," I'm going to take a wild guess and say that Mr. Cruise has never suffered from postpartum depression.

Postpartum depression is caused by the hormonal shifts that occur after childbirth. During pregnancy, a woman's level of estrogen and progesterone greatly increases; then, in the first 24 hours after childbirth, the amount of these hormones rapidly drops to normal, nonpregnant levels. This change in hormone levels can lead to reactions that range from restlessness and irritability to feelings of sadness and hopelessness.

I never thought I would have postpartum depression...[My]baby was a stranger to me. I didn't feel at all joyful...At my lowest points, I thought of swallowing a bottle of pills or jumping out the window of my apartment.

Experts estimate that one in 10 women suffer, usually in silence, with this treatable disease...comments like those made by Tom Cruise are a disservice to mothers everywhere. To suggest that I was wrong to take drugs to deal with my depression, and that instead I should have taken vitamins and exercised, shows an utter lack of understanding about postpartum depression and childbirth in general.

So, there you have it. It's not the history of psychiatry, but it is my history, personal and real.
Take that, Tom. Go choke on your thetans and stop speaking for mothers and the mentally ill.
Laura Barcella is an Associate Editor at AlterNet.
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