Blog of the Week: I wish I didn’t believe in depression

Blog_of_the_week_badgeOur Blog of the Week this week is a powerful and brave post by Beating Myself Into a Dress about the Post-natal depression she suffered after the birth of her first baby. She tells with great honesty what it was like and how far she has come since then.

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Last week the Sunday Independent columnist and journalist John Waters said that he didn’t believe in depression.

During the course of an interview he said: “I don’t believe in depression. There’s no such thing. It’s an invention. It’s bullshit,” he said, “it’s a cop out.”

Do you know what? I wish I didn’t believe in depression. I wish it didn’t exist and I wish it was something I had made up so that I could simply stop suffering from it.

I had never experienced depression before the birth of my son, so when, a couple of weeks after his birth I was hit by that sudden, savage low it literally took my breath away.

depressed_headache_original

Image: Netmums

I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t think.

I was afraid every minute of every hour of every day. Crippling, soul destroying fear. I was afraid of my baby. Afraid of hurting him. Afraid of being alone with him. Afraid of feeding him. Afraid of changing him.

Tears flowed, all the time. Every day. I was only happy when he wasn’t with me. When he was with his Dad or his grandparents, then I could relax.

I started to have awful thoughts, think terrible things. I wanted to leave my baby, and my husband, just walk away. Get on a train and go away somewhere, anywhere.

I wanted to give the baby up for adoption, give him to someone who could care for him when I couldn’t. I’ve never told anybody that. Not even my husband. But it’s how I felt.

I had to physically stop myself every day from simply walking out and leaving the baby in his Moses basket. I would wait until I saw my husband’s car coming into the estate and then go and get my coat. The baby would only be alone for 30 seconds and it’d give me time to get up the road, I reasoned. Every day I put my coat back before my husband opened the door – but yet the next day I’d again find myself in the hall, coat in hand thinking that this time I’d go.

This wasn’t normal, this wasn’t me and believe me it wasn’t made up.

I’m lucky. My husband is a saint in living form. He supported me physically through those

Image: Netmums

Image: Netmums

awful first couple of weeks. He sent me to the doctor who instantly recognised what a terrible place I was in and who helped me. The doctor listened, he told me that what I was feeling was normal, that it was a medical condition that happened to some women after birth. He told me that he was glad I had come to him as the feelings I was describing, combined with the loss of my Dad a few weeks previously, could potentially have culminated in a major depressive episode, one which would have required serious in-patient psychiatric care. But because I had sought help he was confident that wouldn’t happen, that he would be able to treat me, with support from home.

And he did. Again, I was lucky. The medication worked. Asking for help worked. Having some help with the baby worked. And mercifully quickly. Within a few more weeks I was well on the road to recovery. The fear lifted, the anxiety receded, I could sleep again. I could enjoy my beautiful baby boy.

One year on and I’m still taking the medication, I’m still being supported at home with help with the baby and I still have bad days. But I’m much nearer to a full recovery than I was. Again, I’m so lucky.

Depression is real. It does exist. It’s not bullshit. It’s not a cop out. It’s a scientifically proven, medical condition that can happen to anyone. It’s as real and as valid as having asthma or epilepsy or a broken leg. It’s real and let nobody tell you different.

Please, if you’re suffering as I was, ask for help. It’s not easy, I know but please don’t live in the darkness any longer. Please.

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If you are suffering from, or think you may be affected by Post Natal Depression please visit our dedicated pages on Netmums. 

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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 Blog of the Week, depression, post natal depression. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Blog of the Week: I wish I didn’t believe in depression

  1. Thank you so much for choosing my post for this! I’m delighted.

  2. Lindsey says:

    I’m so glad you were able to get help, and I wish you all the best for you and your family’s future. I have never had depression but have a close relative who suffered all her adult life with it and finally last year could not cope anymore and killed herself. She was not good at asking for help and her whole family did try in some ways but it was always difficult to talk to her about it. In some ways she didn’t really admit it to herself so never would to us. I sincerely wish that there was more help out there for sufferers and families and wish that it didn’t still have such a stigma attached to it, which is not helped by comment like those of John Walters. I still feel that I do not know enough about how it feels to be depressed and probably never will but I do hope that if I ever come across someone else in that situation I would be more forthcoming in trying to help them. All the best and well donexxx

  3. Gill says:

    I suffered from undiagnosed post natal depression for many years and am still taking medication now over 30 years later. I didn’t ask for help until my son was 15 and this has been a factor in the length of time that it has taken me to recover. I feel embarrassed about having depression and only my husband knows about it. I just don’t feel I could tell anyone else. Like the lady in the blog of the week I wish I didn’t believe in it and it would go away and never come back. If you have it don’t wait like I did. Get to the Dr and sort it out as it will make a big difference to your recovery. I am glad I haven’t told any of my family as I think they would react in the same way as John Waters of the Independant. I would like to reassure him though that although it’s been really difficult I have always worked and not claimed benefits – just in case that was behind his disbelief in depression and because that is an opinion I have heard voiced many times over the years.

  4. Sarah says:

    I have suffered with depression for over half of my life and do not hide it from anyone. Do not let anyone make you feel ashamed or unworthy; you can’t help how you are. The physical and mental ache I get with depression is all consuming even though I know it won’t last, it takes over your body. It’s very real and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Apart from John Waters.

  5. LourooMummy says:

    I have just written on my blog pretty much exactly the same as this, I currently have depression and hoping that writing it down will self help me. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy and I really think people should be more aware of it.

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