It’s been a little over 3 years since I had my little girl, and I am still suffering with Postnatal Depression. The only problem is, that now she is not a baby anymore it can’t really be called “postnatal” anymore.
Whilst I know that it is there, and it can effect me sometimes terribly, I never let it rule who I am. My postnatal depression does not define who I am.
Thousands of women (and men as well) go through some sort of post-baby emotional rollercoaster. Many go undiagnosed and untreated leading to a whole new world of mental health problems. Postnatal depression and anxiety is incredibly common, and some don’t even realise they are suffering until they have been dealing with this overwhelming state of mind for months, or even years.
Sometimes it takes a friend or family member to point it out to you. Sometimes it takes a particularly hard day to open your eyes and realise you need help.
But this is my story!
Effecting My Life
I noticed I was not feeling myself when Belle was just 6months old. I was crying a lot, and feeling constantly overwhelmed and out of my depth. I didn’t really think much of it though. A new baby, a new routine, and a massive change in life, it’s inevitable that you are going to feel overwhelmed and emotionally drained, right?
Sometimes my mood would be so low that I wouldn’t be able to function. I would have days that I wouldn’t get dressed or even care about myself for weeks. I would be absent from my mind, meaning I was interacting with my daughter but not really paying full attention to everything. It’s a scary thought.
I would obsess over whether or not I was bonding properly with Belle, I would obsess over what I could do better, and how I could do things differently. Then as I realised that what I was feeling ticked all the boxes of Anxiety and Depression a wave of relief came over me, as I realised it was time to get help.
To this day my anxiety and depression effect my daily life.
If I arrange to meet up with someone but they have to cancel I have so many questions that it can really effect me for a few days, as my mood drops drastically.
“why did they cancel?”
“don’t they like spending time with me?”
“Why does everyone do this to me?”
“Is there something wrong with me?”
These are just a few of the questions that go round my head. As you can see, these questions bounce of each other and the more they circle around my head the more I fixate on the possible answers.
I basically end up making up a story in my head about the situation which is in no way at all true.
This causes problems with my friends and my social life. Because who would want to spend time with someone who is constantly negative?! (see I’m doing it again!)
Feeling depressed and anxious 90% of the time leads you to feel ridiculously isolated and lonely, at a time when you need to be around everyone you know.
It’s tough. But when you notice you going into a drop, this is when GOOD friends are vital for survival.
A good friend will stay with you no matter the thoughts that go through your head. A good friend will constantly be there to help build you back up when you are on a down. Luckily for me I have ONE friend that I can always depend on to help me when I am down.
Reaching Out for Help
I reached out for help multiple times during the last 3 years, with my mood.
I felt let down by the health professionals who are supposed to be there for you in the first year after having a baby. I told them how I was feeling. I told them how it was effecting me. I told the health visitor everything. She put me on a watch list for a few weeks, and then removed me because she only ever saw me on a good day.
I became good at hiding my emotions in public. To friends and family I was happy, and contented with my life. The one person who truly knew me, even believed that I was fine, despite the fact that I had told him everything!
After being ignored and released by the health visitor and doctors, I spent the next year living with depression and learning how to deal with it by myself.
It wasn’t until I split with my Ex that I finally reached out for help again. Due to Covid-19 the Doctor surgeries were asking patients to not suffer alone, and come to them if we notice any signs of depression at all. So I took them up on the chance when I had an appointment for something else. This is when I finally got the help I needed.
I had gained a lot of weight (in my eyes) through comfort eating, I had moved up 2 dress sizes and didn’t feel comfortable with my new size at all. I was constantly fatigued, and was barely functioning as a human being. Finally someone was happy to try and help me.
Their first point of call was to put me on medication – why do medical professionals ALWAYS do this? – I refused as I don’t want to mask the symptoms but deal with the cause.
They took blood tests to check my hormone levels (I don’t even know what for), and they put me in contact with a therapist.
From there on in, I have been fully supported and helped throughout my journey and I am so excited to see my life improve and my relationship with Belle get even stronger as she gets the mum she deserves returning.
You are not alone!
We are all in this together!
It takes a village to raise a child, we cannot do it all alone!
Love you all!