I haven’t done a post on PND for a while, and in fact, I haven’t really been talking about it very much either in any social media channel… why? Well mainly because I have found the last few weeks pretty draining and I couldn’t face talking or writing about it.
My body has given me a lot of signs recently that it needs a bit of attention from horrendous headaches, to reacting badly to my anti-depressants and finally eczema coming up around my eyes which has been very sore and has made me feel quite low and self conscious. Our holiday to France has come at a really good time; and with a few days of sun and good food under my belt I wanted to write about my experience of living with PND.
PND is really hard to explain to someone who has never experienced it, or has never had depression before – some days you can get out of bed and you can cope with the day, and other days it just doesn’t happen for you. So here are some of the things that I face with my PND on a day to day basis (please note that these are all personal to me, and not to everyone coping with PND):
- I have quite an obsessive need to have a schedule for my workouts in the week. It makes me feel unbelievably anxious if I either miss a workout or I have to try and fit in other things as well as my 3 resistance workouts.
- My anti-depressants and me are not friends at the moment. They make me feel so nauseous and, if I don’t take them at exactly the same time every day, I get vertigo, excruciating headaches and the worst…. night sweats… these can leave me needing to get changed or have a wash in the middle of the night. Will be going off to the doctors at the peri-natal* (*read useless) department at St George’s hospital on my return.
- I have anxiety.. and I mean the type of anxiety where every trip out, every text I receive, or don’t receive, every phone call I get (which I don’t pick up), every phone call I need to make (but I know I won’t) and every single social engagement fills me with dread. It makes me question myself as a mother, as a friend, as a wife and it chips away at my self confidence.
- The thought of leaving Rupert for a day/two days or longer makes me feel physically sick; this is the difference with my PND to other peoples; my PND has nothing to do with Rupert and everything to do with me. However, I know that he will be ok and will have a great time with anyone that he is with as he is such a happy boy, but the anxiety (read above) that I get from thinking that someone may think that I am a bad mother for leaving him and will take him away from me is suffocating.
- I often feel lonely and sad – especially when I have failed to get out of the house, meet people for coffee or lunch or not had the courage to get to a scheduled baby group. This is, for me, one of the worst feelings. There have not been very many people that I have told that I have had PND, and those that I have often find it as embarrassing to talk about as I do. I often feel that people avoid me just as much as I avoid them as I know that I can be socially awkward at times – or is that just me thinking that? I’ll never know!
- I am exhausted – like physically and mentally exhausted. All the time, every day. I go to bed exhausted and I wake up exhausted. Sometimes I can’t even get out of bed to get Rupert straight away and when I do, it is such a struggle to lift myself up but he, like my husband, is my power supply – he gives me energy when I see him. The night sweats don’t help… it is exhausting to wake up in the night after vivid dreams and feel like your body has literally ran a marathon just keeping up with my thoughts.
But the main thing for me to think about is that this is SO much better than where I was a few months ago; I don’t cry everyday now and I can get out the house which is good. I know that I am taking steps forward, it will just take time. What helped me? My counsellor…
I was really reluctant to go and see a counsellor a while back, but I honestly think that this has been one of the best steps for me; I shopped around until I found a lady I really gelled with and she has been amazing at helping me deal with the issues that are holding me back but at a speed that doesn’t freak me out.
For anyone suffering with PND, please don’t be afraid to seek help. No one will judge you, no one will think that you are incapable and no one will look to take your baby away from you if you are depressed. There is such a stigma with PND and believe me, I still hate talking about it, but it is so important to raise awareness of it as it is so common and most importantly treatable. You are not alone, I promise you.