10 Things I Have Learnt While Having Post-Natal Depression
It’s ugly, the lowest I have ever felt. Never have I felt more of a burden to everyone that I have to rely on them to help me look after the children I created, that I chose to have.
1. You will feel like you’ve failed as a mother. There is no getting away from it. The guilt is all consuming. All day you play the comparison and blame game, if everyone else can cope why can’t you? There must be something wrong with me, I am a bad mother. Everyday, these thoughts play in your head. They take over and trap you, they trick you.
2. The stigma of having post-natal depression is real and very much alive today. The walk to the doctors will be heavy and loaded with anxiety that you will suddenly have your child taken off you, and you fear the judgement of others. You need help more than anything, but it is the last thing you feel like you can ask for. It is the hardest thing to ask for from anyone.
3. You are not just ‘depressed’, you are angry, resentful, guilty. You will shout, yell and soon become someone you do not even recognise. You will be volatile, you have thrown something at the wall in a rage and have seen the shocked look on your toddler’s face. The scared look from your partner that leaves you wanting to run away and never come back. You will scare them, you will scare yourself, but this isn’t the real you.
4. Anxiety is PND’s best friend, and things that you have been doing for years will suddenly become too much. You will wake at night worrying about things that most would not even bat an eyelid at.
5. PND is not just mental symptoms, it manifests into physical ones too. Appetite, sleep patterns and general well being are all thrown off kilter. It comes in and takes over everything like a parasite.
6. Time is no consolation, the older the baby gets, the worse you feel that you are still battling this. They are not a new born anymore, 5 months in surely you should have got a handle on this? That you should have moved on? The everyday list of guilt increases as each month passes.
7. There is nothing wrong with having to take medication. It could help the fog is lift, to make you feel as though you are getting slowly on the right track. It may not work, you may need to try others, go on other doses and it will feel like a setback but it is a step in the right direction, hopefully.
8. All you want to do is distance yourself, to remove yourself from the situation but at the same time you will lock yourself away. You will feel as though only you can do this, no one can help, to see you like this. You will be your own worst enemy until you are at the point to accept help knowingly it is the right thing.
9. Numbness. Numbness when you look at your sleeping baby and feel nothing. Numbness at the dark thoughts you have had that shock you and you dare not speak about to anyone. Knowing when you look at a photo of yourself you have the same fake numb smile throughout.
10. You need to celebrate the small victories, no matter how small if you have feel you have achieved something then you have. You must recognise this, and lots of small victories will eventually lead to the victory of kicking PND’s arse.
Written By Vicki - Confessions Of An ICU Mum