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Post Natal Depression... Did you recover?(38 Posts)
Looking for success stories really. Feel a bit like there's no way out of feeling sad and anxious all the time.
I'm seeing the doctor tomorrow and have no idea what she can do.
If you got better, what worked?
Counselling & time. I'd hidden it for so long it took time to admit it to myself & to others. I would say that 3 years on I can just about talk about it without welling up. Any pressurised situation to do with my DC and I can feel myself wobbling again but I am better and have had a subsequent DC without the same happening again. Everyone is different though. I felt HV & mental health nurse were wonderful help. If you are at the start of your journey then it can feel, ime, that you will never feel like you again, but you will. It's just that no one can tell you when. Do you have support of family & friends? How old is your DC?
10 weeks and I haven't been diagnosed with it. The doctor may decide it's something else.
I had terrible 'baby blues' in the 2 weeks after she was born. The anxiety was so bad I couldn't eat or sleep. That then got a lot better. I had 2 full weeks where I felt really happy and I loved being a mum. But for some reason it started coming back. It's not at the same extreme level of anxiety but generally unhappy and crying nearly all the time. I have to hide it from everyone because I have no right to feel this way. I have everything I could ever want. But it's like there's been a complete change in my personality. It's effecting my relationship with my DP who didn't fall in love with the person I've become. If I don't fix things soon I might lose everything.
I finally spoke to a doctor (after months of nudging from my family) when dd was 10 months old. He immediately decided I needed antidepressants having spent all of 3 seconds with me. I refused to take the prescription.
I asked to speak to another doctor. None available, so I was passed off to the nurse practitioner instead. She was lovely. She must have spoken to me for half an hour - lots of tears, lots of reassurance and she made me recognise there could well be a problem without making me feel bad about it in the slightest. I fully admitted to not feeling 'right', but at that time I'm not sure I even knew how bad things had become - because feeling bad had just become my norm. I'd convinced myself I was a shit parent with no patience for dd whatsoever and I spent most of her baby life totally tuned out on planet zogg.
I was adamant that I wasn't going to take any medication. It's a very personal choice but I didn't want to become reliant on some false sense of happy. I wanted to learn how to become happier without pills. The nurse recommended a 12 week counselling course and got me a place on it. The counselors name was Paul and he was absolutely bloody fantastic. We did a variation of private and group sessions twice a week, and I met some truly lovely mums through that course - they understood me. They 'got' me. When I said something that likely would have shocked a lot of new parents, they would nod in agreement. They were going through exactly what I was going through. We all exchanged numbers and became a support to each other whenever we were having a wobble.
In the group sessions we did something different each week. One week we went to a local pub - something that had us all feeling very nervous and jittery because we had become so reclusive But Paul took us down, we found a large booth and we just chatted. We all took turns going up to order drinks, we absorbed the atmosphere and by the end of the 2 hour session, we didn't want to leave. So we didn't. We all stayed there for another hour and almost...I don't know, relished the freedom of being out again? Another week we had a 'relax' session, where a lady who specialised in teaching you how to chill the fuck out came in. It was almost yoga-like without the yoga positions We did breathing/calming exercises, she taught us a little bit about aromatherapy and she had us all lying down on the floor and fast asleep by the end of the session - not a care in the world.
There was a session all about life before baby, where as a group, we effectively made these big brainstorms about all the things we used to enjoy doing before the babies came along. So mine had things on it like going to the cinema, reading a book, going out with friends, etc. We read them out and I'll never forget Paul saying, "But you can still do all of those things." And it sounds ridiculous, but I almost needed reminding of that. In my mind, I couldn't. I'd convinced myself I was housebound and didn't want to go out, when in actual fact getting out and about was exactly what I did need. That session ended with us all making plans to go out for dinner at the weekend and we had the best time - good food, lots of wine and lots of hysterical chatter. The group therapy had given us all the opportunity to make friends with each other (most of us had felt too out of place and awkward at mother and baby groups so didn't go back to them) so we suddenly had five people to socialise with - and the babies were all roughly the same age, so we could socialise with and without them.
I'd say it probably took me until dd was around 2 to feel back to my old self, but I started to really enjoy her and being a mum when she hit 3. I think I was too young and too clueless to appreciate her as a baby and I didn't really enjoy that stage. She's 7 now and we have a wonderful relationship. It was almost like as soon as she hit 3, I was able to play with her better and I didn't find her quite as frustratingly demanding. She would go off and play independently for short periods and I could make myself a cuppa and actually finish it. She wasn't at my ankles constantly.
Learning to relax and not get wound up over stupid little things was key to my mental health. I used to get really snappy with my family and impatient with dd when she was tiny. I just felt angry and upset and frustrated all the time. And the thing was, I didn't know why. There was no reason for it. I remember having a total conniption with my poor dad one day because he asked me if I wanted grated cheese on my spaghetti bolognese. He'd been at work all day, got home at 6pm and cooked this lovely meal for all of us. He'd dished it up and brought mine into me, and I felt genuine rage when he asked me if I'd like him to grate some cheese for me. I actually got up, walked out and went and sat on my bed for 10 minutes to calm down. And then I got angry all over again because by the time I came back downstairs, my dinner was cold. To this day I can't rationalise it. I have no idea where those feelings came from. I literally could have thrown my plate at his head I felt so angry
Did I recover? Absolutely. With time and with the right support. I have constant pangs of guilt whenever I'm with my baby nephew or with a friends wee one, because I'm so much better with them than I was with my own child at that stage. But I've learned to deal with that guilt. Because I can't change the past. I couldn't help the way I felt. I got help though and I got better.
What sort of support network do you have around you, OP? Friends/family?
Thank you for that reply. Gives me hope.
All those strategies you talk of terrify me. I can hardly leave the house at the moment because I exclusively breast feed quite a highly demanding baby.
I feel so incredibly low today I just can't stop crying. If someone could give me a tablet to get rid of this feeling I would take it with no hesitation.
I just want to feel like ME again. What happened to her?
My partner can't even sit in the same room as me anymore. My crying (for no reason) is too much for him.
I have everything I've ever wanted, I'm so incredibly lucky. Yet I feel the most lonely and sad I have ever felt.
I need to shake it off some how and snap the hell out of it. I feel like screaming because I have no right to feel like this!!
Ask tomorrow for tablets. For me I decided no I wasn't ever going to take tablets but in the end GP gave me 1 tablet a day for about 8months low dose but my goodness it cleared the fog and also I had no more headaches/shoulder neck pain and also had a larger amount of energy
It's very hard but be kind to yourself you are doing a wonderful job trying to raise your little one it is not easy.
Did you take them while breast feeding?
I've also just realised that there's a good chance my low mood may have started around the same time I started taking cerelle (cerezette). Could this be impacting my mood?
Sorry for delayed replied. I could actually have written much of what the other poster has said. My PND became so much worse after taking Cerazette. I didn't realise at the time & felt pressured into taking it by a practice nurse (I'd actually gone to see he about DC and left with a Cerazette prescription for me). I found a fog started lifting within 4 weeks of stopping it but then I just felt embarrassed about everything I'd felt, and so so guilty. And that's how the counselling helped. It wasn't a magic wand, but it helped me to recognise a problem. I refused the medication too, not wanting to bury the problem - but everyone is different & you should do what is right for you.
It is so hard on partners. My DP felt terrible I'd hidden it from him. I would say "people have said I have PND" but never "I have PND". My DC was also 10mths old when I was diagnosed. It also took me months to find this part on MN, and I have only posted once or twice about PND.
I bet you are a wonderful mum to your DD, and I bet she adores you. This is chemical though & not something that can be ignored. I lost loads of weight as I just couldn't eat & everyone would congratulate me on post baby weight loss, which of course is kindly meant, but I just wanted to scream! Please find someone to talk to in RL, or keep posting on here. For you
'Fog' describes it perfectly actually. I can't think straight. I can't concentrate on anything. I feel utterly useless. My gorgeous daughter is growing and developing so perfectly. Her big smile is so beautiful. I just wish I could enjoy it
Some "fog" is definitely having a new baby & having interrupted sleep but PND definitely came with added fog & numbness. You've started a journey by realising something isn't right & now it's about getting the right help for you. GP is definitely a start, but so is your HV if you have one who you can talk to. This is what they are here for. There is an assessment - Edinburgh PND score (google it) that they should discuss with you. I did my first one at a very low point by myself & got the "seek immediate help" response so I ended up phoning a friend and just dissolving & built up from there. I just remember holding DC and feeling so utterly guilty that I couldn't be a better Mum. Are you going to speak to someone in a professional capacity tomorrow? Can you show your DP things about PND on the internet to help him/her understand?
Hi OP, it's brilliant that you want to talk about how you're feeling, just remember that everyone's PND experience is different, and there's no right or wrong answer to anything
I have definitely 'recovered' from PND though, and feel that it's given me a bloody good insight into issues like this - I was quite naive really, and whilst I had a wide circle of friends, and a large family, I didn't really know anyone who'd had PND?
I definitely felt like I was wrong to feel so down, and made myself feel guilty for thinking so negatively when I should've been so happy and relieved that my babies were home. They were premature and in hospital for a while, and whilst NICU/SCBU etc were amazing, I think that I'd just missed that bonding period? I never told anyone, but everyday I was expecting one of my teeny babies to suddenly deteriorate; and so when they'd had a good day, all I could think about was that it would be the next day that they'd get worse. I was constantly thinking that something awful was going to happen.
I don't think it was until they were home that the PND hit me? I just became completely detached and numb one minute, and then sobbing the next. My older 2 DD's were only young toddlers, and even having one of them say that they wanted their pink top on, rather than yellow, would send me into a hysterical wreck.
Most of the time I just felt numb though, I felt like a robot - if one of the babies was crying, I didn't really feel a rush to go and pick them up? I just had a mental tick-list that I'd go through - could they be hungry? Dirty nappy?
I can, hand on heart, say that I would never ever have hurt my children - but I'd have horrible thoughts..
I blamed all of my feelings on exhaustion and lack of sleep - I told all of my friends that I was too tired to meet up, and we live quite far from family so it wasn't like I had people popping over all of the time to notice. DH obviously noticed and spoke to my HV when she was leaving - he was brilliant and came with me to the GP. I was absolutely mortified when anyone even uttered a word about PND - I was certain that I was absolutely fine and that they were all being ridiculous. When the GP actually explained it to me, that it was a chemical imbalance, and how I was feeling was 'classic' for PND, I broke down and it really hit me that I was actually quite ill.
Unlike the other posters, I didn't want any kind of counselling - I just wanted something that would make me feel better, and to just get on with it. For me, that was how I wanted it to be - I personally couldn't think of anything worse than meeting up with someone to talk about it. Whether or not I think differently now is another matter. I told barely anyone about it, and I don't think most of my family even had a clue.
My teeny babies are 5.5 now and I can honestly say that I feel totally back to the 'old me'.
Sending and a big hug OP - speaking to your GP about it is a huge step, and you should feel incredibly proud!
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
I didn't take cerezette I took citalopram but only when baby was 2 - I suffered from PND since when she was 7 mths but I ignored it thinking I didn't need help I only wish I had taken something earlier because so much of her infant months were terrible for me with anxiety/worry/lethargy/lack of interest
I bf and took AD's for PND. It does restrict the choice slightly, but it can be worked around.
The breastfeeding network has a fact sheet on suitability of various common AD's.
For me, they have cleared the fog, but going back to work set me back again (management issues), so I'm back on them.
OP, lots of the feelings you describe are what I experienced with PND - a change of personality, not feeling yourself, not being able to fully enjoy your lovely DC, experiencing the world at a distance. ADs really helped me. I took sertraline and it worked within a few weeks. I have to say I really don't agree with the notion that ADs give you a false sort of happiness. It's not about happiness. As you say, you have a lucky and good life. If you have depression (which you may not but from your post is possible), it is an illness and you need help. If you read people's posts on here, depression can and often does lead to a false view of the world and if you need medication to help you get back to normal, then this is not a weakness, and it is not being false, it is taking positive steps to look after yourself so that you can be a good mother, partner etc and be right in yourself.
Yes you will recover. It's shit feeling as you do. I remember it very well. Sertraline helped me. It cleared the fog that enveloped me and helped me find myself again.
Thank you for all of those replies.
Laqueen I feel like you did in that I think I'd prefer a tablet to just take this feeling away. Provided I could still breast feed, which is the only useful thing im doing at the moment.
My baby has started crying more recently. I can't help thinking she's picking up on my feelings. It's so unfair that she and my DP are having to suffer because I have this problem that's arrived out of nowhere for absolutely no reason.
Bellyrub I have to just quickly let you know that cerazette is well known for causing depression, anxiety s d rage in a lot of women. It either suits you or it doesn't. It brought me to my knees with what I thought was pnd. I stopped taking it and was fine again within a week.
I hope your doctors appointment went/goes well. Lots of ADs you can take and breastfeed so don't worry about that aspect. It will get better, promise.
It went well. Actually feel better for properly talking to someone about it.
I've been prescribed Seroxat. Has anyone tried that? How did you get on?
I almost feel good enough today to wonder if I actually need it.
I took that as a teenager - I've tried 'em all. It worked well but did make me feel quite sick for a day or so just to warn you.
Bellyrub1980 Hi I can truely say you will recover, I had PND twice with each of my kids, with help from my family counselling and regular visits to the GP,I recovered, both times, on both ocassion nearly ending my life, in both cases it took a few good months before I felt like myself, so in my experience I can honest say you will get better, I have just had my third bout of depression, due to having alot of issues with my 8 year old daughter, I got over this depression and feeling so much calmer, still on meds and will be for the rest of life, but if it keeps me level I dont mind
It gets better. Honestly. I know that's trite. Though I think the stuffing was knocked out of me so badly that I'll never forget what it felt like during those dark days. You're doing the right thing seeking help. Keep asking for it when you need it. Don't go it alone like I did as it will drag on.
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