It’s no secret that I suffered quite severely from post natal depression after my son was born in 2006. I also suffered again, although with a much milder version, after my second daughter was born in 2012. It took me a little while to become comfortable talking about it, but few years ago I shared MY STORY . Last year for PNDA awareness week I also shared a story about post natal depression from my husbands perspective, because it’s not always just mums that suffer.
Post natal depression and anxiety takes no prisoners, and has absolutely no discrimination. It can happen to best of us, and it can strike when you least expect it. Did you know that up to 1 in 7 women and 1 in 10 men will suffer from it? It’s way more common than you might think. It’s a simple fact but one I wish I had known when I was suffering. I might not have felt as alone and ashamed for as long as I did.
It’s PNDA Awareness again this week and I want to share a more positive story. One of courage and recovery. It took me until my son was almost 10 months old before I was able to face the fact that something was wrong and seek help. Talking to my GP is up there with one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. Looking back I wish I had done it sooner, but at the time I knew very little about post natal depression and honestly thought there was no coming back from it.
Once my GP got me onto some medication I could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. I was so bad that I clung to those tablets for dear life because the difference they made was so unbelievable I was terrified I might lose them. After 3 or 4 days the dark cloud started to lift and I started to feel like me again. It was only then did I realised the true extent of my illness, and how much it had turned me into someone I hardly recognised.
Things slowly and steadily got better and better and at last I started to enjoy motherhood. I was able to wean myself off the medication after about 18 months. I felt strong and ready to face things on my own, and I did (with the help of my family). I’m in a really good place now and understand that post natal depression and anxiety is just an illness that anyone can get, like pneumonia (for example). It can strike anyone and left untreated can be deadly.
The message I really want to get across is that if you feel that something just isn’t right, it’s SO important to reach out and ask for help, because help IS OUT THERE. It doesn’t matter if your symptoms are mild or severe, they’re not your fault, and there really is light at the end of the tunnel.
If you think you might be suffering from Post Natal Depression or Anxiety then please talk to someone. Either someone you know, or call the lovely people at PANDA (Perinatal anxiety and depression Australia). They are there to listen and to help, with no judgement what so ever. The National helpline number is 1300 726 306 and you can find out more online HERE.
Take care of you.