My Post Natal Depression Story: The Friend Who Won’t Leave
Everyone who has depression, has a story to tell. I hope mine’s not too boring but I want to tell it because it’s not a common story; but it is a common symptom.
Even though I really wanted to have children, I struggled massively during the first year. Coming to terms with what parenting meant to me, with the fact that I am now responsible for this small human being, and sleep deprivation; all took it’s toll on me.
I was diagnosed with Post Natal Depression when my daughter was 6 months old. Although, I probably had it for 5 months prior to the diagnosis.
I have always had anxiety issues, so it didn’t come as a surprise that I had PND; but I was still ashamed of it.
I didn’t tell a lot of people until at least a year afterwards; and even then I was embarrassed. I’m not like that anymore, because I just don’t give a sh*t.
People need to realise they’re not a failure for having depression. It’s out of their control, and it’s really not as simple as “dealing with it”. It’s a chemical imbalance in your brain – not really something you can “snap out of”.
I still have it. To this day. I tried weaning myself off the medication, and then I got pregnant with my second child. The doctor and I talked in-depth about my options and we thought it was best I stay on medication.
Best decision I ever made.
They weren’t the usual crying-in-a-ball-on-the-floor – although that did happen several times.
My symptoms are anger. Terrible terrible anger.
I never hurt my children, but I imagined horrible horrible things about myself.
I screamed into pillows to try and release the anger. I used to clench my jaw almost to what felt like breaking point. I even punched a few walls. My fridge took a wee beating once too … there’s still a mark to this day.
Some of you know me, most don’t, but I am not an angry person; or a violent one. So when this anger started coming out, I knew it wasn’t right.
Anger is apparently a common symptom, but we don’t talk about it so we bloody well never know. Google it – google the symptoms and signs of depression and it’s in there.
WHAT I DID:
First, I had to admit to myself that something wasn’t right. It was when I was curled up on the floor crying my eyes out after getting seriously angry at a silly situation. Although I had other moments where I knew stuff wasn’t right, THIS was the moment I decided to get help.
After talking to Phil I went straight to my GP and had a huge cry to him. He asked me a bunch of questions, and was actually bloody amazing. I ended up on medication (Citalopram), and had counselling sessions. I also took part in a Mindfulness Course through ProCare.
As I said above, when I got pregnant with my Ronan (our second child), my doctor and I talked in depth about where I was at mentally. We talked about staying on medication and after research, and more talking, I decided to stay on my meds.
I am still on medication to this day, and I think I am now classed as having Depression. Because my children are older, it’s not Post-Natal.
If you are ever unsure, please speak to someone professional. “Professionals” include your GP, the Plunket nurse, or even your midwife. You can find a great list of those who can help right here.
Please – if you speak to your friends and they say “oh that sounds like the baby blues” and you are still not sure, SPEAK TO A PROFESSIONAL. If you talk to your GP, they have a special test they can give you to gauge where you are on the scale of things.
Seriously, going and seeing a doctor about how you’re feeling is not the worst thing in the world. All they’re going to say is “actually I think you are ok”, and if you still don’t feel ok, seek a second opinion!
Your health is the MOST important. The most important for the baby; the most important for your relationship; the MOST important for YOU!
To read the next post in this series, and to find out ways to get more help, please click here: Post Natal Depression: Taking The Next Step
Do you have post natal depression? If you feel like sharing, let me know your symptoms.