Hi. I’m a Mum, and I have post natal depression.

With RU OK day just around the corner, I have decided it’s time to write this post. I have no idea how to start this, what to say, or whether this is a terrible idea, but I feel like it’s important I share my story, and maybe it might help someone else.

Deep breath..

I have blogged before about developing antenatal depression in my second pregnancy. At the time of that post I was feeling pretty good, but things got a lot worse during the pregnancy, and by the end I was severely depressed. I had a wonderful natural birth, and brought a gorgeous little girl home, and for a few weeks things were good. The new baby bliss was not to last though, and over the next few months my mood went up and down, and slowly it got to a crisis.

I thought I was okay. I thought it was just normal fatigue, that I was still in my pajamas each day at 3pm because I had a new baby. The truth was I was so depressed I wasn’t functioning. My toddler, Boo, would beg me in the mornings to give her breakfast, and I was so depressed I would give her a packet of sultanas, or a yoghurt. I literally could not move off the lounge room floor. This was nothing compared to the anxiety. It manifested in strange ways: screaming at Boo, excessive anger, a paralysing indecision that left me rooted to the spot wondering how I was going to look after the kids. I would open the fridge door, and see all the food but had no idea how to put it together into a meal, so I’d close the door and just cry. The weirdest thing was that I STILL did not realise how unwell I was.

The turning point came when I could not leave my house one day. I was supposed to visit a friend, but had a stream of panic attacks so intense I could not move. My phone was next to me and I called my good friend, and naturopath for help. She asked me to come to the clinic, took one look at me and took me straight to the doctor. I believe she saved my life.

The next month was hell. It was obvious I needed medication. I had been taking natural medicines this whole time, and it just wasn’t enough. The doctor prescribed some Valium and an SSRI, and I committed to try them. It did not go well. My super sensitive, breastfed baby reacted badly. I stopped taking the medications. I thought her health was more important than mine, and I was committed to breastfeeding. It took me two days to be completely dysfunctional again. It was then I realise I had to be on medication, even if it meant weaning. I felt like a failure, and was absolutely devasted.

At this stage I was recommended to see a psychiatrist who specialised in PND. This was the turning point in my journey. This wonderful doctor found me medications my baby could tolerate and that were effective. She pulled strings to get me into a brilliant psychologist. She saw me weekly, and charged me a reduced rate. Finally there was hope again. It took months to get my levels right, and to start feeling better. But, it did happen.

Am I okay now? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Today I am anxious and sad. A week ago I felt amazing. In another week, I’ll probably feel amazing again. My life is up, and down. My family suffers through my moods, and our lives can be chaotic. Slowly the down periods are getting less, and the happy periods are really good. Even when I’m down I can function now, and I am a good Mum again. Life has hope, joy and is constantly improving. I know one day soon, I will be able to answer that question with an unequivocal yes. That feels good.

Post natal depression is a serious issue. It’s sneaky, and devastating to families. It is driven by hormonal changes, and is not just about the woman worrying about daily stressors. It also has nothing to do with how happy the mother is with her new life. I adore my girls. They give meaning to my life that I have never known. They are the best thing that ever happened to me, but that did not stop me developing PND. If you think you have PND, I want you to know that you are not alone, and that there is help out there. And, there’s hope. Because one day you will look back and realise you have left the dark behind and reemerged into the light.

This RU OK day, ask your Mummy friends how they are; how they REALLY are.

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13 Comments

Filed under Mummy health and wellbeing, Post natal depression

13 responses to “Hi. I’m a Mum, and I have post natal depression.

  1. This is so beautifully & poignantly written D. I’m so happy to hear that you are on the good side of the turning point & I think you are heroic for putting this out there. I’m sure you are going to be the catalyst that makes a difference for someone who reads this (to help or to get help – both are obviously important). Love, Amber. xx

  2. Megan

    The worlds a better place because your’e in it D. Thank you

  3. Beautiful. Thank you. xo

  4. Dwan! You bloody amazing woman. Bravo for your honesty and openness in sharing your experience. This is a really beautiful post… I think it’s important to speak about PND, so women know they’re not alone… which will also perhaps encourage them to speak up / ask for help. Glad you’re on the other side of this and that you’ve found such great support. Big love xxx Kath

  5. Andrea

    WELL said D.. You are inspiring..

  6. Thank you everyone. Your support is so appreciated xx

  7. Sophia

    I am so moved by your post Dwan…I think PND needs to be spoken about much more than it is and your courage to do so is beautiful. Thank you Dwan and big hugs! From one mum to another xxx Soph

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  9. Amie Steel

    My heart broke for you as I read your post, beautiful lady. I think PND is something that can so easily take over whilst every one else is ‘giving you space to be with your new baby’. Thank you for sharing! Big hugs and love! Amie xxx

  10. Aimee

    Hi, I also had PND with my first born, I remember thinking every day “I can’t cope” and I cried every day, it was finally one day I cried for 3 hrs straight that my husband called the health nurse who sent me to the dr. As soon as I mentioned I thought I had PND they fitted me in straight away. As soon as I asked for help I felt so much better, like a weight had been lifted. The medication was necessary as well. And I felt very up and down while coming off it. The hardest part was admitting I had it and asking for help as it is embarrassing I felt like a failure. I now realise how common it is and it needs to be talked about!

  11. Beckstar

    Thank you for sharing. My heart aches at the thought of you being in such a dark place. Much love to you as you work your way back to the light xx

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