5 September 2017

Post Natal Depression doesn't care.....

Its unforgiving, its sneaky, and at its worst, it can be life threatening.

It makes you think things you never thought you could. Things that are hard to say out loud because they are so off the wall, you wonder if you even thought them, or just imagined it.

PND is not as easy to identify as you might think. What is 'normal' behaviour for someone who has given birth (traumatic) has a surge of hormones racing around their body, and hasn't slept for longer than 2 hours at a time?? It is highly likely you are going to be feeling slightly over emotional.

Everyone is different. A lot of the media attention around PND focuses on extreme cases, where people have harmed themselves, and/or their babies. This isn't always the case. I thought that because I hadn't had these dark thoughts, then I couldn't have PND. I was wrong. 

When my second baby was about 3 months old, things started to go a bit wrong. I found myself being unable to sleep. Literally lying awake for hours when the whole house was asleep.

Insomnia is frustrating, upsetting, and isolating.

During those hours spent awake in the small hours of the morning, I have never felt more alone. It was a vicious circle. Nights spent awake led to tiredness, which led to anxieties about being tired, which led to not being able to sleep because I was so worried about not sleeping. 

During my awake periods in the small hours, I checked on the children..... A LOT. I worried about things that weren't there, I would check, get back in bed, then a thought would enter my head, and I would check again, minutes later. I had little OCD rituals that I HAD to do, otherwise (in my head) I wouldn't be able sleep. Checking doors were locked, that I hadn't left the gas on etc. 

I was constantly tired, and frustrated..... at myself. If the baby was keeping me awake it would have been better, but he was sleeping, so I only had myself to blame. 

I would start the day wishing it was already over. Listening to my husband playing with Eva and making her laugh was hard, I felt like a rubbish mum, I wanted to be happy, but I just wasn't. The amount of times I fantasised about leaving and checking into a hotel by myself. In my head, all I wanted was to sleep, but my anxieties made this impossible, and there was no option of rest during the day. I felt trapped. I felt that if I was to leave, my problem would be solved.

I couldn't have been more wrong.

I (eventually) went to the doctors. It wasn't an easy thing to do, and I had to go on my own because my Husband had the kids. I didn't even really know what to say. Having a male doctor didn't really help me feel at ease either, which I know sounds incredibly sexist, but that's how I felt. Anyway, through tears I explained as well as I could what was going on and he prescribed a low dose anti depressant.

I didn't start taking them straight away though, which I regret. I convinced myself I wasn't depressed, despite being more miserable than I had ever been in my life. Looking back I was so stupid. It was almost like I felt I wasn't worthy of the 'depression' title. I felt a bit like a fraud. I had two healthy children, a loving Husband, a very supportive family, no money worries..... why would I be depressed?!

Unfortunately that's the point..... depression (Post Natal or otherwise) doesn't care. You can have everything you ever wanted, and still have depression to boot.

Eventually I started taking them. They helped me so much, I cant imagine where I would be if I hadn't. They took the edge off my anxieties, enabled me to sleep properly, and the rest just fell into place. After a few months I was feeling like me again.

I was lucky. I am so grateful to my husband for making me go to the doctors in the first place. 
I am no expert, and everyone is different, but my advice to anyone is to be honest.

Its ok, to not be ok.

Admitting you are struggling is no reflection on you as a person, or as a mother. You are not the first, and you certainly won't be the last. 

Looking after yourself is as high a priority as looking after your baby. In fact its probably higher. Talk and keep talking. Educate your partner. Don't shut yourself away, however tempting it might be. Above all be truthful, find someone you trust enough to tell them exactly how you are feeling. Don't think 'it will get better' because the chances are, it wont.

It saddens me so much that people can be robbed of what should be a wonderful experience, because of PND.

Don't let it be you.

Written by Laura @mum_bore

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