I’ve never talked about post-natal depression on my blog, not directly anyway. But I did actually write a post a couple of years ago, a post that I never really finished. I just wasn’t sure where I was going with it and I think maybe I just needed to write a bit about it for myself.
Here is what I wrote:
“I’ve always been a worrier. However, it got a whole lot worse once I’d become a mama. Apparently this is quite normal, to worry about something awful happening to your new baby and to get horrible visions in your head of bad things happening.
Speaking to P, he doesn’t feel the same way, in that, his head isn’t taken over by what if’s, so maybe it’s a hormone thing, or maybe a maternal bond thing. (I’m not saying Dad’s don’t have a bond with their baby – of course they do, but I think it’s slightly different.)
Anyway, even though it’s normal, it started to get a bit mad for me and my worries spilled over into everything I did (and still do). I also get very overwhelmed with things, like how much needs doing to our house and how much housework there is to do. It makes me sad because I want to be able to relax with my daughter, playing and having fun and instead I’m very aware of all the mess surrounding us and the washing up that needs doing.
One day quite recently I read something that made me realise the extent to how I felt like this wasn’t completely normal and I didn’t just have to put up with this.
Sooo… I went to the doctors.”
That’s all of what I wrote over two years ago. I think I just didn’t really know what to say after that. But at the doctors that day I was diagnosed with depression. Honestly I didn’t see it as a bad thing, I think I was pleased that I could put a label on it, that this wasn’t how I necessarily had to feel forever, and something could be done about it. I didn’t have to accept that this was who I was now and just keep going.
I didn’t really change an awful lot after that. I think I hoped that with time it would get better; my hormones would get back to normal after becoming a mother, and one day I would wake up and the fog would just have lifted.
I did read quite a bit about it though. I read the ‘Black Dog’ books and gave the ‘Living With a Black Dog’ book to Paul to read so he could try and understand why I was the way I was. And I bought a couple of other books about depression that I never actually read (idiot).
I already knew going into the doctors that I didn’t want to take any medication. I didn’t like the thought that I could end up relying on something else so heavily and then having to deal with that instead. It has crossed my mind in the years since when the haze is there that maybe I could remember what feeling completely normal feels like if only for a bit, if I did take something, but I don’t really want to do that.
*I know and completely understand that taking medication is the right choice for some people. It just wasn’t right for me at the time and it isn’t now. Maybe if my depression had been worse then I would have decided that was the way to go. If you’re at a complete breaking point and there seems like you only have one way to go then you should definitely do the thing that will help you the quickest.
I am not against medication. But for me, my post-natal depression wasn’t particularly extreme, and as I was (and am) into health and wellness then I wanted to try and deal with it that way. So I started exercising more and looked into vitamins and herbs that I could take to help me naturally.
It’s never really gone away. Reading back over what I wrote in 2013, I don’t really remember it being that bad, and it certainly isn’t exactly how I feel right now. But I do remember getting and reading the books and crying because that was how I felt too and I wasn’t a crazy person, but also wondering when the hell I was going to get back to normal, and start properly feeling things again.
I generally feel ok. I go up and down in a month and still think my hormones are all over the place. It doesn’t affect me like it did then, although I don’t think I realised until I read what I had written then how bad it had been. I find it hard to say I am ‘depressed’ when it hits now as it tends to feel more like I am really low and lack motivation to do things, and it’s not all the time.
But, I do still feel like there is generally a bit of a haze there, like the edge is just taken off things and I can’t relax and enjoy things as much as I would if I felt completely ‘normal’.
I worry a lot, and I seemed to lose all of my self-confidence once I became a mum, and I just can’t seem to grab it back. Alcohol helps. I overthink everything and worry about what people think of me far too much. It really pisses me off because I don’t want to be like that. I know it doesn’t matter what other people think of me, I know that, but that doesn’t really make much of a difference.
When people are talking about depression they always say people don’t talk about it enough. But I think people do talk about it a lot more now. Not everyone does but of course not everyone wants to, whether that be bloggers or anyone with their friends and family – people may not want people to know in case they feel sorry for them or look at them differently, or they may just want to deal with it privately. It’s great to open up the conversation and make it more acceptable to talk about (as it should be obviously), but I can completely understand why people don’t want to talk about it. We’re not all bloggers who overshare :) And we don’t always want everyone to know everything about us.
I didn’t feel like talking about it on here before, but then recently for some reason I’ve wanted to be more honest, and it’s felt nice being able to share more things and just write about a part of my life when the mood takes me. Sometimes it’s weird writing about it for anyone to be able to read when I haven’t actually talked about with many of my friends and family, but that’s what writing’s like isn’t it? It also doesn’t feel (especially now) that it has such an effect on my life constantly, so it’s not like it’s something that’s always there when I’m with them. I’d rather be happy and having fun when I’m with them.