PND Awareness Week – The Girl That Lurks Inside

All week we are asking mums to share with us their experiences of depression and anxiety during and after pregnancy.

Today’s post if from Alice, who blogs at More than Toast.

She talks about how PND can be hidden and how mums go to great lengths to present a picture to the world that they are ‘just fine’, when they are struggling inside.

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alice

If you thought of a depressed person you wouldn’t think of me. You wouldn’t think of the girl who wears red lipstick, does her hair, enjoys running her own business and eating at nice restaurants. You wouldn’t think of the girl who has two well-dressed and well-behaved children, the girl who is the life and soul of the party.

That’s because you don’t see who I am when I hide away at home. You don’t see the panic attacks I have because my anxiety gets too much sometimes when I’m alone, so much that I call the police and beg them to come and deal with the non-existent threats at my house. You don’t see me on the days I can’t lever myself out of bed in the morning or drag a brush through my hair. You don’t see the obsessive way I clean when I feel like I’m losing control or the way I hide in the kitchen so my children won’t see me crying.

Luckily I haven’t seen that person in a while, either, but she’s lurking there, threatening to return. Kept away only by a green and yellow pill that I take each evening before I go to bed.

I first noticed something was wrong with me in November 2012, six months after my second child was born. There wasn’t anything I could put my finger on, but all of a sudden I thought my husband had become completely unreasonable. We were fighting and I couldn’t understand why he’d changed, why he had turned into a person I didn’t recognise anymore. It took a few weeks of tension for me to realise that actually, I didn’t recognise myself. I was the one who had become unreasonable, volatile and selfish. My husband was the same person he’d always been but he was the one struggling to know what to do with the alien his wife had become. Something had happened to me, slowly but surely.

That’s the sneaky thing about Post-Natal Depression, it sneaks up on you and warps your thoughts and feelings beyond recognition. It’s lonely and can be very scary when you look in the mirror one day and think: who am I? Where did I go?

Through a lot of talks with my husband I realised I’d become a shell of who I once was, an exhausted, sad, heavy-hearted, anxious shell. I had lost the essence of me and was in essence a gibbering and knackered wreck. I was doing no good to myself, my children, or my family.

I broke down in December and sought help from my GP on New Year’s Eve. Four months, two medications, a lot more soul searching and I’m on the mend, albeit very slowly.

I can now get up in the morning though I still find it hard to face other people. Socialising is a bit of a struggle and I cancel on my friends more than I should (sorry, girls!) but it’s getting better. My husband no longer wonders who I have become and enjoys getting smiled at rather than snarled at on his return home from work.

There are bad days, yes, but there are now good days, and I finally feel myself again. I’ve dug very deep to remember who I am, what makes me happy and I’m doing my utmost to maintain belief in myself. Because that’s important, I think, a belief to remember the verve and joy you once had because it will return. Sooner or later the cloud will lift.

It took a long time to realise that I had post-natal depression because there are no clear signs. There is no stick you can pee on, no blood test you can do. But if you have ever felt overly anxious, scared, lonely or sad I would urge you to acknowledge it yourself, and then to talk.

Talk to anyone; your health visitor, a friend, your husband, the internet.  There is so much help available for mums in our situation and it’s important not to hide your feelings away.

There are so many more people out there than you think who are feeling this way. You are not as alone as you think.

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Find out more about the new Mums Maternal Mental Health report and newborn and mumfunded by the Boots Family Trust with Tommy’s, Netmums, Royal College of Midwives and the Institute of Health Visiting.

You can find out more about and download a Well Being Plan here.

Read the most common myths and facts about PND.

Find support for PND, including local support over on Netmums

All next week we will be featuring guest blogs from mums who share their own experiences of post natal depression and how it affected their lives. We hope you will pop by each day next week to read our guest blogs.

About The Netmums Blog

The Netmums Blog brings you a behind the scenes look at Netmums, as well as some fabulous guest bloggers and an up to date look at what's new on our Parent Bloggers Network.
This entry was posted in campaign, depression, post natal depression, POst Natal Depression Awareness Week and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to PND Awareness Week – The Girl That Lurks Inside

  1. I’m so glad to see you’re coming out the other side of this Alice. It’s brave of you to speak up and I think you’re right – it often goes unrecognized, unnamed and, therefore, untreated. Posts like these help. X

  2. siobhan from Netmums says:

    Lovely brave post Alice. I recognise much of it from when it was my “turn”. This bit actually made me smile in recognition of how cured I am : “Socialising is a bit of a struggle and I cancel on my friends more than I should ” – it took a good while – I sometimes half-joke I didn’t go out for ten years – now I’d go to the opening of an envelope and even get to go to music festivals in the summers. I promise you’ll find yourself again xx

  3. Sarah B says:

    I’m so glad you posted this Alice. I thought I was the only one in the world who felt exactly as you have done! Everything you have described, is everything I have felt over the months past. Thankfully, I too am now on the mend and realise I really am by no means alone in this. Thank you! xx

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