Post Natal Depression: Taking The Next Step
As a parent, sometimes it’s hard to know what to do when something doesn’t feel right within yourself. When you’re angry all the time, or upset all the time, or sad all the time, or numb all the time – or even all of the above.
Whatever it is, you know within yourself that you’re not you anymore, and that something isn’t right.
Let me firstly say: it’s going to be ok.
Acknowledging that something isn’t right is actually the first official step. The next step, is talking to someone about it.
That can sometimes be the hardest: verbalising it. Admitting it out loud that you actually need help. Putting yourself out there for judgement and criticism.
For me it was no problem at all, because I’m used to speaking. Also, before I got pregnant I knew there was a chance I could get post natal depression because of my past anxiety, and also the family history of depression.
So when things started looking pear shaped, I said to both my husband AND my doctor “I think there’s something wrong here”.
Now I’m no health professional, and definitely no psychiatrist, psychologist or psychotherapist; but if you feel like something isn’t right within yourself (no matter what it is), then you need to talk to someone about it; you need to speak up.
My recommendation will always be to talk to your doctor (your GP). They will know you the best, and hopefully you have formed a relationship with them over the years and can talk to them openly.
Simply saying “I think there’s something not quite right with me”, or “I don’t feel like myself anymore” should be enough for your GP to understand and take over the conversation.
The Ministry of Health has funding available for free sessions with psychologists, the amount you get will vary depending on the area you live in, and what kinds of services are available, but will usually range between 4-6 sessions, sometimes more.
If you’ve noticed any of the following, then it might be worth speaking to your GP:
- feeling tired all the time
- getting too much sleep or not enough
- feeling worthless and helpless
- thinking about death a lot
- having no energy and feelings of low self-esteem
- loss of appetite or overeating
- sadness or emotional ‘numbness’
- loss of pleasure in everyday activities
- irritability or anxiety
- poor concentration
- feeling guilty, or crying for no apparent reason
- getting uncontrollably angry all the time
It doesn’t matter if you are the Mother OR the Father – post natal depression can affect either of you.
Also please remember, just because you talk to your doctor doesn’t mean you HAVE to take medication. If you are opposed to taking meds, that’s perfectly fine and you just need to communicate this with them.
If for any reason you don’t feel comfortable talking to your GP – don’t be discouraged! There are plenty of other people out there who are just waiting to help you out. Check out my Support For Parents page.
It is really important to understand that YOU, the parent, are IMPORTANT. Mothers. Fathers. BOTH of you are imperative in the parenting journey, and looking after yourself first really should take priority.
If you wish to PM me for any reason, please do so through my Happy Mum Happy Child Facebook page. I apologise if it takes me a while to respond – as I always say to people, I need to make sure I have a clear head when I reply, and it’s not always easy as I am a parent first and get distracted by my kids haha ????
Here are some more links if you need to get help, of any kind, ASAP:
- Lifeline (open 24/7) – 0800 543 354
- Depression Helpline (open 24/7) – 0800 111 757
- Healthline (open 24/7) – 0800 611 116
- Samaritans (open 24/7) – 0800 726 666
- Suicide Crisis Helpline (open 24/7) – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO). This is a service for people who may be thinking about suicide, or those who are concerned about family or friends.
- Youthline (open 24/7) – 0800 376 633. You can also text 234 for free between 8am and midnight, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- 0800 WHATSUP children’s helpline – phone 0800 9428 787 between 1pm and 10pm on weekdays and from 3pm to 10pm on weekends. Online chat is available from 7pm to 10pm every day at www.whatsup.co.nz.
- Kidsline (open 24/7) – 0800 543 754. This service is for children aged 5 to 18. Those who ring between 4pm and 9pm on weekdays will speak to a Kidsline buddy. These are specially trained teenage telephone counsellors.
- Your local Rural Support Trust – 0800 787 254 (0800 RURAL HELP)
- Alcohol Drug Helpline (open 24/7) – 0800 787 797. You can also text 8691 for free.
- For further information, contact the Mental Health Foundation’s free Resource and Information Service (09 623 4812).