Posts Tagged ‘post natal depression’

Post Natal Anxiety: Time to Talk

I posted recently about finally stepping into the GP’s office and walking away with a label around my neck. Post Natal Depression. It hasn’t sat well. It’s off centre, like a pendant too heavy on a delicate chain. Swinging, useless, lopsided and ugly. The wrong label. A little bit off. I couldn’t really explain it, but my heart was saying no. And then I remembered that I’d been there before. In the early days after my son was born, and they told me I had PND and I argued, and they told me over and over again that I was wrong. Back then I stuck to my guns, and those around me who knew me best agreed. Not depression, something else. Something far too complicated to deal with maybe. And so this time, too, the label doesn’t quite fit, and I’m not the only one to believe it.

With my first Think Positive counselling session behind me, I am more assured and more confident that I have not lost all sight of myself. I don’t know why a professional opinion on the state of my mental health means more than my own, but it does. We’re in agreement: post natal depression doesn’t sit right because it’s not right. I’m not depressed. I’m not.

post natal anxiety 1Post Natal Anxiety is my label now, and its of no great surprise at all. And so I am learning to talk about the things that make me anxious, and the reasons why they do. The hope is that I learn to deal with them in a different way, and re-learn how to think positively and with a clearer, more rational response.

I am at the beginning.
I cannot see the end of this tunnel.

No light, not yet. (more…)

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My Journey Has Only Just Begun

I didn't complain~ #birthtrauma :ghostwritermummy.co.uk

I’ve fallen down before, many times. And each time I’ve risen again. Maybe not quite dusted myself off, but risen none the less. Maybe on shaky legs and tentative toes, but risen none the less. Maybe slowly, but surely none the less. And as I sit here tonight, thinking over the way today has gone, I’m starting to realise that this has been here all along. It’s no surprise, not really. It’s been lurking for months, years even. It’s been waiting for me to notice it. It’s been peeping around door frames and hiding under beds, waiting. Holding its breath, biding it’s time. Waiting, just waiting, for me to accept its prescience. And now that I have? I must get up.

I must go on. I am a mother and I must go on.

But first, a rest if I may.

I was feeling so cross with myself! I was sure, so sure, that my journey was almost complete. I didn’t know it was only just beginning. That my decisions had been holding me aback, preventing me from travelling further. Instead, I’ve been going around and around and around in circles. Chasing my tail like a faithful dog, so determined to show the world how strong I am and how far I’ve come. In reality though, I’m no different from every other mum who sits with her head in her hands as she admits, at last, that she’s a little bit broken.

Post natal anxiety.

Depression.

Exhaustion.

All of those things are ME. Me, the mum who decided three weeks was long enough to take for maternity leave, before getting back to the business of proving how strong and how capable she is. Me, who refused to seek help, insisting instead that writing was her therapy and she’ll sort her own way out of it all thank you very much. Me, who truly truly believed that she was actually ok.

It seems two pregnancies in a short space of time following a traumatic birth actually is enough to tip you over. A stressful pregnancy is enough. Months and months and months of broken and disturbed sleep. A child with health issues. A busy house. All the stuff that comes with being mum.

I want to be me, too. But I don’t know who that is right now. All I know is that my journey really is only just beginning.

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Why do they call it the baby blues?

Why do they call it the baby blues when the world is full of nothing but grey? When the colour blue makes me think of calm. Of warm oceans and clear skies and lightness of heart?

Why do they call it the baby blues when the world is not calm or warm or light? When my sun doesn’t shine and the reality of just getting up and getting out of bed and *gasp* talking to people is the hardest thing in the world. Why do they give it such an easy sounding name?

Baby blues.

Cute. Happy. Peaceful. Calm. Inviting.

Where is the blue when the anger rises inside of me like a volcano rushing forth to destroy all thoughts of a sane nature? Where is the blue when the flashbacks engulf me and the darkness descends over my soul? Where is the blue when the searing white hot pain of reality hits home and I remember… I remember.

Why, oh WHY do they call it the baby blues? Like the baby has any say in this at all. As he lies in his cot with dream in his eyes and sleep covering his tiny body like a blanket. As he learns to smile, to laugh, to speak and to walk. Like he has any say at all in the mess that surrounded him, any colour but blue. Any colour.

And we live our lives in a half empty jar. We never quite manage to finish anything to an acceptable standard and we never quite manage to get to the end. We eat dinner that sticks in our mouths and clings to our throats. We move through rooms that are half done and lives that are half lived. And we go on.

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Fighting for the right to live without labels

It seems we all want to label things. It helps to categorise thoughts, feelings and actions. It helps people feel organised, orderly and complete. It helps outsiders know what to expect. It helps to form judgements and opinions, sometimes before the whole picture is revealed. Labels and pigeon holes make a person see another person in a certain way and it breeds misconceptions that can hurt, damage or confuse. I know, I’ve bought into stigmas in the past.

What do we really think about mental illness? In particular, what do we really think about depression? Its a condition that has affected people close to me but something that I’m not sure I will ever really understand or feel comfortable talking about in terms of ME.
I totally rejected my GP’s diagnosis of PND when my son was eight months old and I stand by that belief today. I didn’t want to be labelled that way, for many reasons. Firstly, I didn’t feel that it was true. I went to my doctor asking for help in dealing with my feelings after my son’s birth and I was dismissed. I was told that I couldn’t control my womb and so therefore feeling upset about the birth was ridiculous. If he’d read my notes, he’d have known that my womb had nothing to do with what went wrong. Instead, he wanted me to take some tablets and put myself into a box with a nice rounded diagnosis.
I don’t want PND. I don’t want it for many reasons and I might admit to those reasons one day. I don’t want any diagnosis but I do want to work though my feelings without tablets. I’m worried that I perhaps view depression as something to be ashamed of; my GP certainly made me feel ashamed tht day. Is that why I felt the need to fight his diagnosis? Why I asked those close to me whether they thought that I was depressed? Why I obsessed about whether or not I was depressed and why I wanted so badly not to be? It still bothers me now that the letters P. N. D are anywhere near my medical records.

If I accept the diagnosis, I accept that there is a chemical in-balance in my brain which I cannot control. That, I understand. If I accept the diagnosis, I am labelling myself and leaving myself open to judgement and criticism. If I accept the diagnosis, I am forcing people to se me differently and to make different decisions about my future.

For the record, my GP no longer believes that I am suffering from PND, or that I ever was. I’ve been given another label that helps me to allocate blame elsewhere, away from me a bit. The question still remains, though- why does depression cary such weighty pre-conceptions and stigma? Why did my GP make feel ashamed: is this his problem, or mine?

His, I hope. I know that depression is nothing to be ashamed of and I hate that I felt that way but I guess that had more to do with my feelings of failure after his birth than any real misconceptions about depression itself. In the meantime, I continue to exist with only a few labels and I hope I ca keep it that way.

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