telling the difference between early pregnancy fatigue and depression

(9 Posts)
NomDeClavier Tue 11-Jun-13 22:33:17

The first conversation is the hardest to have. The journey to motherhood has been so idealised and glorified that we're made to feel bad for any uncertainty or anxiety, or are just told its normal even when we know that it exceeds normal for us and is therefore potentially a problem.

Your midwife is the best place to start - there should be a local midwife who specialises in pre/postnatal mental health and will be an impartial listener (because that's what makes it hard to talk to mums and friends - they try to fix everything). AND should be taken seriously. It's absolutely not uncommon, and I wish there was as much focus on it as there is on PND.

Would it help to identify what is making you feel anxious? I know a lot of my anxiety was around the birth and the care there because I had unresolved PTSD from an assault in my teens (which was badly handled) and separate PTSD/anxiety from being involved in a fire. Somehow being able to acknowledge where it was coming from helped, although I left it far too late to actually do anything about it. If you can catch it early then maybe you can prevent it spiralling.

Also know that you, and anyone else, can come on here and not be fed platitudes/told that everyone feels anxious or uncertain/down because that's like comparing a stream to an ocean - one is manageable and the other is not.

It's not a failure on anyone's part. Sometimes it's hormones, sometimes it's issues which are still healing. No-one should feel like a failure for facing up to depression.

RunningBear78 Tue 11-Jun-13 10:33:00

I think I'm with you here, I'm not sure how helpful it is to know that there are others out there in the same situation, but I feel like it is nice to know I'm not alone with this.

I suffered many years ago with anxiety/panic attacks and depression which left me totally useless and unable to do anything useful. I was also physically not very well. I spent much of my first trimester exhausted, and equally terrified that it was depression setting in again. The only way I coped was by trying to get out for a walk every morning, and sleeping when I needed to. I work from home, so this was doable, but I slept for about 2 hours every afternoon! I have no idea if that is normal or not. I did end up taking a few days off work because of it.

My second trimester seemed to be ok, although dh mentioned the other day that I seemed quite stressed out about the whole baby thing. I'm now at 26 weeks with my first ds and starting to panic again properly. This morning I had a total freakout; I'm feeling overwhelmed with work, although I don't actually have THAT much to do, but I'm terrified that I can't or won't be able to do my current tasks, and end up avoiding it ... and on MN which inevitably makes things work. My inability to do my work is making me terrified of how I'll cope with a baby. And I can't stop thinking that there will be something wrong with him and I won't be strong enough to support him ... luckily (i think) this particular episode of crying on the floor was interrupted by the post-man, who despite me answering the door mopping up tears said I was looking really well, bless.

I have absolutely no idea what to do. My mw is lovely, but I just can't imagine having any sort of conversation with her about this. My 28 week appointment is with the consultant, but I don't even know where to start to explain this. And what on earth can they do? I feel like I should talk to my mum or a friend, but I can't bear to admit how I feel to them and I feel like such a failure.

NomDeClavier Mon 10-Jun-13 17:35:37

I understand where you are. I had AND which then became PND with DS and am 12 weeks with DC2. I know that the fatigue is making it worse but because I perceive myself as being ineffective I can feel myself sliding into depression.

Hopefully into the second trimester the fatigue will lift and I'll be able to get on top of things again but even basic things like cooking dinner are feeling like too much effort right now.

mountainlight Mon 10-Jun-13 17:19:24

Hi :-)
You are definitely not alone in this! I have had mild to moderate depression several times, with symptoms of exhaustion (even if not doing anything), confused or intimidated by simple things, unable to focus, and spiralling negative thoughts, feeling unable to cope with anything sometimes to the point of being unable to leave the house. I was fortunate that my boss spotted the symptoms (I was missing days due to 'stomach pains') and asked did I want help. I self-referred myself to counselling - and found cognitive behavioural therapy really useful (though pick something YOU feel comfortable with and don't be afraid to experiment with different approaches). It felt awkward at first but I did try and practice the exercises to help me question the negative thoughts. It really did help me turn around my approach to depression. I also used St John's Wort after doing some research. I also found exercise of some sort to be VITAL in helping me keep an even keel - do whatever you like doing (karate, hillwalking and yoga worked for me, along with breathing techniques and meditation) and keep doing it even if you feel like crying half way through your session. I have found subsequent incidents of depression much easier to spot and manage.
I am now pregnant for the first time, and have spoken with the midwife about this and the risks of PND (at the insistence of my partner who recognises that this is something we may need to deal with). The midwife was very straightforward about it all, pointing me in the direction of various helpful organisations and getting me to see my doctor (I too am surprised and unimpressed with your midwife's reaction). To my mind this is absolutely just an aspect of my health that I need to manage actively (though I am fully aware of the stigma it carries in various parts of society!) I have had some long conversations with my partner about how depression works and we are trying to make sure that I cut out or cut down on things which add to my stress levels. Having said all that, I have no idea if I will avoid PND but am feeling hopeful at the moment!
I hope you find some ways of getting enough enjoyable exercise and lots of rest, so that you can use some of the techniques for managing depression. Best wishes.

Susie888 Sat 01-Jun-13 07:20:26

Thanks, my DH thought I was over reacting but no wonder there is a stigma associated with mental illness if u get comments like that! X

Rubytulip Thu 30-May-13 10:35:55

It's great to know I am not alone and I will read your your response in more detail later. Just wanted to say now that I am both shocked and frankly OUTRAGED by that midwife's words!!

Susie888 Wed 29-May-13 15:05:15

Hi Rubytulip. Sorry to hear about your story. I have also suffered from 'depression' (although I am currently wondering whether to get another diagnosis as I have often felt high anxiety). I have been treated with SSRI's in the past sometimes this has helped me sometimes this has not. Before I was pregnant I was depressed/anxious/stressed due to relationship and work stresses and was on citralopram (I asked for something different to prozac as I felt quite agitated last time I took that). I felt so unstable emotionally and this has only become worse since becoming pregnant I almost feel very irresponsible for choosing to have a baby. I am scared that I will be unstable all my life and that I won't be able to provide my child with the loving stable background I really want to. This is my first child. I went to the DR upon finding out I was pregnant and he told me to come off the SSRI medication which I did, whether this has helped me or not I don't know as I had not been on it for very long.

I have been back to the DR to ask for CBT but I am so scared/paranoid about going. I just feel convinced that the DR/midwife will see me as an unfit mother/label me as such and seek to take my baby away. My booking appointment at the hospital didn't help. My midwife said, and I quote 'if you suffer from pyschosis we could take your child away'. For someone feeling vulnerable this was really scary and I have not been able to relax with the pregnany (luckily other midwives I have seen have not been so bad and actually haven't mentioned it) - I can't stop thinking that the hospital/midwives treat me different and might hold information back from me because of previous depressions. I have never had a psychosis ever and I felt horrified that the midwife felt it necessary to warn me, like she thought I was some kind of nutcase.

I am now on Maternity leave due to stress at work but worked full time and am very capable so to be spoken to like that was horrible. My mum said I never should have mentioned anything but I often feel like she doesn't understand and besides I don't want to pretend nothing is wrong with me - that probably won't do me any good but now I am starting to wish I had just pretended everything was fine.

I find myself putting alot of pressure on myself to 'act happy and normal' now whenever I go to the DR or midwife as I am so worried about getting 'monitored'. I wish I could just be honest and not worry about anything 'bad' happening to me.

I also try to stop negative thoughts, listening to self help confidence recordings and reading books about depression and anxiety but sometimes I feel so frustrated!

I feel like I change when I am feeling anxious/depressed - I am also stroppy! But i feel terribly trapped being pregnant, I just want it to be over but then again I also feel like it's never going to be over as I will then have a baby to look after. I have just lost a lot of confidence in myself lately and just feel like I am forever struggling.

Sorry if this is not what you are after but hope it helps you feel that you are not alone

xx

Rubytulip Wed 29-May-13 10:36:42

No one?? :-(

Rubytulip Fri 24-May-13 14:34:45

I'm about 9 weeks and have a 3yo girl. Got pretty bad ante and post natal depression with my first with also varying degrees of depression and anxiety since age of 11 (35 now)

When depression is bad it hits me like a kind of extreme fatigue, pessimism and stroppiness often too. Came of venlafaxine shortly before conceiving as felt depression worse coz was drinking too much wine each evening and not exercising. Cut down wine and walking a lot more plus trying to train my brain to stop the negative thoughts and thought i was coping.
Recently though the same exhaustion and same silliness over finding basic household tasks as big as mountains has made me question it all again. Felt so tired at times that if my daughter has so much as asked for a different outfit to the one i have put on her can make me cry out in frustration that i don't have the energy
Has anyone else had some similar experiences they would like to share?

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