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I don't know why I'm posting, but writing it down is helping.

(13 Posts)
stretch Fri 22-Jul-11 11:14:36

Ok, probably a long rambling post, but that's kind of how I feel atm.

4 DCS, 9, 6, 3,and nearly 2.

Have had PND for years, went to the Dr after I had DD1 to say how I was feeling. Took me all morning to pluck up the courage, put my warpaint on to give me confidence to go, to have the Dr say, "Well, you have put makeup on and have done your hair, you can't be that depressed" sad I think this is where it all stems from.

Fast forward 8 years, I still can't leave the house without "getting ready" in fact, I struggle to leave the house at all. Just getting sorted and getting them out of the house is a mission on it;s own; then there is the fact I can't be on my own outside the house, pathetic for a grown woman I know, I always have to have one of the DCs (or somebody else) with me and then I feel 'safe' (?)

I have what I think are panic attacks, not very often now, but the thought of having a panic attack in a public place fills me with fear, so I just try to avoid going to public places at all. I sort of go hot, then icy cold in my chest, my fingers go weak and I have kind of white flashes infront of my eyes. My heart beats fast and i feel sick. Like i said, it doesn't happen that much (4 times a year?) but it's the fear of it happening and me not being able to...escape? I don't know, I just panic.

It's affecting my life so much now. Before, I never had many friends so was easier to hide it etc, but now I have some really good friends and I have more of a social life, but it's getting harder as I have to deal with more situations. Obviously it's affecting the kids now. DD1 (9) knows what I am like and she tries to help (bless her sad)

Getting the 4 Dcs out is stressful enough, but even on days when I am not feeling down, them playing up reduces my confidence and I start to depress quickly, feeling like 'what's the point?'

DH is wonderful, and tries to snap me out of it, but he's not here all the time and now its the school holidays.
Last year, in 6 weeks I got out of the house 6 times, just 6, even at the weekend with DH there. They have been off for 5 days this holiday and i have only managed to go out with them (to a surestart) once.
Although yesterday I went for a meeting there on my own smile for the first time...for years! (small victory)

I am dreading the next few weeks sad
Thank you if you've managed to read this far.

alwaysblue Fri 22-Jul-11 16:20:49

I don't really know what to say but wanted to say something. Its truly awful that your GP's response that first time was so awful. Please know that he was utterly wrong and that of course just because you're wearing make up doesnt mean you're not depressed.

Is it possible that you could pluck up the courage to talk someone else? another GP or some kind of counsellor - even a close friend?

stretch Fri 22-Jul-11 21:25:25

Thank you alwaysblue. A couple of my close friends know the situation, well mostly, but short of them physically dragging me out the door, they can't do much. They are supportive but lead fairly stressful lives themselves (SN)

I don't think I could imagine going to the Drs. It's a different surgery now, but I always feel like they'll not believe me. I put on a great show around other people, acting like I can cope with everything, but the reality is incredibly different.

natsyloo Fri 22-Jul-11 21:45:15

Hello stretch. Congrats on making it out solo-that's a pretty big deal given the anxieties you're facing. From anecdotal evidence and talking to lots of mums at a PND support grp I've set up it's alarmingly not uncommon for health professionals to say ridiculous and completely unfounded/insensitive things re mental health.

My HV said I cldn't poss have PND as I was so jokey and cheerful (I too am the mistress of putting on a seamless front). Thankfully I was lucky enough to speak to a v caring and intelligent GP who was able to push for the treatment I desperately needed. Anxiety and panic thrive on avoidance-this makes the fear bigger+perpetuates the issue. I know that's not helpful right now as you can't just 'click" yourself out of a deeply rooted cycle.

All I can say is help is out there and you're certainly not alone. CBT is a v effective therapy to treat anxiety-ideally via a professional,but also via online support (there are websites and e-learning programmes that can take you through the basics). Keep talking about it-people are more empathetic that you imagine. It's really treatable and it can and will change your life. Good luck and hope you can get the help you deserve. X

midnightservant Sat 23-Jul-11 16:58:26

Just wanted to offer sympathy (and admiration for coping with 4 DCs) and to lament the lack of understanding about mental health that is so widespread.

E.g. anyone going for a medical for Employment Support Allowance on the grounds of mental ill heath is likely to have it noted whether they rock, look unkempt, cry. These are apparently the signs to look for, according to the Department of Work and Pensions!!! shock shock shock OTOH, the fact that you got up, got yourself there, put make-up on etc are signs that you are well...

stretch Sat 23-Jul-11 20:36:32

Thank you both.

Natsyloo, what you said about not being able to just click out of a cycle; I showed it to DH as although he's supportive, he just doesn't 'get' it and thinks he can snap me out of it. This may work for a day (while he's there) but it's pretty much ingrained in me now. He's eagerly reading this as well and says thank you!

Writing this down, discussing it properly with DH and reading lots on the Mental Heath posts (all the years on MN I never knew this was here!) has helped me organise myself a bit. My big thing will be going to the drs about it.

midnightservant, that is awful about ESA, the physical disability tests are just as bad. The people who devised it obviously have no idea about real life problems, just what they see on Eastenders and Neighbours. This is one of the reasons I have to get myself sorted befor the new changes for tax credits come in. No way would I manage to get myself to the jobcentre every week to sign on at the minute. I would be a quivering wreck!

Also, I have heard from someone that regular (and very energetic) exercise can help? I know exercise can be the cure for everything smile but i have a strider and I wondered if using that every night would help me focus maybe? It would certainly help me sleep!

midnightservant Sat 23-Jul-11 21:06:05

Doesn't have to be very energetic! Going for a 20-30 min walk 3 times a week, or some gentle swimming work well. I should think a strider would work too, if it is what I imagine. Just be careful it does not put undue stress on your joints. <may google it!>

stretch Sat 23-Jul-11 21:12:47

Haha, it's an elliptical strider. It's very smooth IYSWIM? I can't run as my knees hurt, but this is less harsh.

My friend has big problems with her SN boy (utterly adorable, but she struggles sometimes) and she has taken up running a lot. She says it gives her control over one aspect of her life.

Laugs Sat 23-Jul-11 21:31:00

It sounds like you've had a really tough time. I have had panic attacks in the past and I definitely feel like exercise helps me stave off an attack. It also makes me feel better in general. I think getting enough sleep and not drinking too much caffeine or alcohol also help me. (And if I do drink a lot and feel panicky the next day, which I nearly always do, I now just think of that as my hangover rather than something which is going to kill me).

I have a psychologist friend who uses CBT a lot. She actually says she loves working with anxiety cases as about 90% of the time they completely recover while in her care (whereas a lot of other cases she deals with will be people who might only improve very slightly) through using simple techniques she teaches them.

So please don't feel it is hopeless, and do seek help.

Laugs Sat 23-Jul-11 21:33:36

Funnily enough, I was talking to two runners yesterday, and they both said that when they run it is the only time they can switch off and not think about anything.

natsyloo Sat 23-Jul-11 22:06:58

Hey stretch, glad being on MN is helping you - a lot of people think you can just 'pull yourself together' to escape mental illness but it's not that simple (if only!). It's also indicative of the pressure we put on ourselves to do things right all the time.

Going to the dr is a big step but if you're worried about articulating how you feel print this all off-be as honest as you can. As people here have said CBT is really effective at treating anxiety-it basically addresses unhelpful thinking patterns and self perceptions. I honestly found it life-changing. If you aren't referred through a GP you can certainly consider private sessions. I was chatting to a friend from work the other night (we both wear our hearts on our sleeves) and we realised a lot of people have had or are having therapy. It's very de rigeur don't you know! Good luck, keep posting x

menagerie Sat 23-Jul-11 22:09:32

Please don't let one insensitive and ill-informed GP put you off. But... If you are brilliant at hiding it, you may have to explain this to a doctor. They understandably don't want to give out anti-deps to women who just feel a bit down. If you give the message you're coping and under play your symptoms, they'll fob you off again. Maybe start by writing it down and just hand them the note. If you can explain, on paper if it's too hard face to face, that part of how you cope with it is to pretend everything is fine, but underneath you don't function, then they'll have to take it seriously, however cheerful and glam you look!

I really hope you find the courage to go back and get better advice and support from a different doctor. Don't want to be gloomy but it's pretty hard to shift PND without some form of support. And it can last years. So please do get help soon.

Laugs Sat 23-Jul-11 22:45:44

I remember a health visitor telling me that the fact my flat was a tip was very healthy because I obviously wasn't a neurotic who'd tidied up for her coming. Another told my SIL that she was obviously coping well as she always came to mother and baby group and was always chatty. We both felt that we'd suffered PND to some degree.

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