Please Note that the following information is based on my own personal experience. I am not a professional and if you feel like you are suffering mentally then please seek professional advice.
After having my little girl, Lottie in 2016 I suffered from severe Post Natal Depression. It was so bad to the point that I prepared to take my own life. However, I am alive today and I’m actively helping to spread the word that “It’s okay not to be okay”.
I know we hear it everywhere nowadays to the point that it can be annoying but that’s the point of it! We are trying to normalise poor mental health because it is normal. Everybody suffers from poor mental health sometimes. The point I want to make today is that you don’t have to suffer.
Recognising Post Natal Depression
Honestly, I had Post Natal Depression for months without realising. It wasn’t until I spoke with the doctor that they diagnosed it as PND. So, what makes it post-natal depression?
1. I had never felt this low in my life before. By low I mean I was lethargic, I didn’t want to get out my bed. I never felt happy, I cried some days without cause. At it’s worst I didn’t feel at all I was just numb.
2. I blamed myself for everything that went wrong in my life. At that point there were a lot of deaths among my friends and family, my household appliances were breaking down, my daughter kept falling. I told myself that if I wasn’t here none of those things would’ve happened. Of course that was not true!
3. I loved my daughter BUT I resented her at the same time. She would cry sometimes and I couldn’t work out why so I would tell her to “shut up” and once I even held my hand over her mouth to get her to be quiet. I never ever harmed her but sometimes I just wished I’d never had her.
4. I questioned my existence. I wondered why I was here. The world was getting on top of me and it came to the point where I believed my family was better off with out me.
5. I seperated myself from everybody. I rarely reached out to my friends, I hardly took Lottie out.
Admitting I Needed Help
When I had Lottie, mums were still in the mindset of hiding the bad and only ever showing the good. Being a proud person myself, this didn’t help me. I would compare my life to theirs and that really brought me down. I felt ashamed that I wasn’t as good a mum as them.
Being ashamed meant I didn’t want to admit I was struggling. I got up, went out (if I had to) and painted on a smile. I will admit I thought I had “baby blues” but I never told anybody this.
By the time I realised it was more than “baby blues” I had taught myself to believe I shouldn’t be here and that I was no good to anybody. The day came when I threatened to take my life while Stuart was in the house. I broke down mentally and physically. I finally admitted to myself that I needed help.
Thankfully times have changed and most mums I know now are sharing not only the bad but the worst parts about being a mum. I now realise that what I went through the first time is exactly what most first-time mothers experience.
How To Get Help
I always say you have to WANT to get better but that and admitting you need help are one in the same.
The best advice I can give is to talk to somebody, anybody! Do not pussyfoot around the topic. As hard as it may be pick up the phone and text somebody the words “I think I’m depressed and I need help” because at least once you have sent that text, it’s out there. Somebody is going to help you now. Wether it be your mum, dad, friend, colleague. Somebody will help you.
If you don’t feel comfortable talking to somebody you know then there are plenty of organisations that can help too and I’ll leave links to those at the bottom of the page.
Speaking to Your Doctor
Whether you would like to speak to your GP or not, I seriously recommend that you do. You don’t have to go down the medicinal route, that’s your choice but a good doctor will know what is best for you in order to get better.
Opening up to your doctor can be hard, I can’t even say I know why but it was the hardest part for me. So, to conquer this I have 3 solutions:
1. Take a friend with you and ask them to tell the doctor. I did it this way and once it was said I burst into tears but I could answer every question the doctor had for me.
2. Write it down. If you don’t think you’ll physically be able to get the words out write EVERYTHING down and hand that over to the doctor.
3. Remember that the doctor has treated so many people for the same thing so they are not going to judge you.
Finding Your Feet
Whether it takes days, weeks, months or years…medicine, counselling or exercise you will do it. You will beat it and you will start to feel better again.
As first time parents we are all just finding our feet. It can be difficult but if you can recognise when you need help and ask for it, you will be unstoppable.
If you need to chat drop me a message via Instagram, Twitter or Facebook and I’ll do my best to help. Please don’t suffer in silence.
Samaritans are available online or at the end of the phone call 116 123
Mind is a UK mental health charity who also have a hotline. Find the info here.
Finally the NHS has a huge range of contacts available for various different mental health conditions click here for more information.