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PND, is this it?

(44 Posts)
adrift Fri 18-Feb-05 13:09:08

My 2nd child is a month old. Looking back, I fell apart after the birth of my 1st child but struggled on, thinking everyone felt this low, until we got to a year -- at which time things seemed to ease. Talking to friends, it became clear that some people actually find the first few months immensely enjoyable, a really happy time. This seemed -- seems -- unbelievable to me.
This time around, we're all coping pretty well and I have got a great support network. However for the last 10 days or so, I have started to feel that familiar feeling of awful bleakness, as if a dark cloud is weighing me down, and most of the time I have no enthusiasm or energy. I did the Edinburgh test on the internet and scored pretty high (though i have no violent impulses) which spurred me on to ring my Health Visitor. She wants me to go and see a GP and has booked me in to see a counsellor next week.
It's going to be so embarrassing. I feel like a fraud. I have so much, this great supportive family around me, and yet I still can't cope or find a way to be happy at this time.What is wrong with me?
From your experience, is there a way out of this bleakness? Or is what i am feeling quite normal in the first few months of a baby's life? What can a counsellor do for me (i have told my family how i feel and they're good listeners, very concerned and helpful, I can't imagine why talking to a stranger will help, especially since I'm so sure it's my body chemistry which is causing all the upset, rather than Issues that Need to be Addressed)?

purpleturtle Fri 18-Feb-05 13:12:16

Do what your HV suggests. I'm taking ADs at the moment, not for PND, but as a result of a couple of other situations in my life last year. At my lowest I can remember thinking that no-one could help, that I was fed up with talking about my problems and crying all the time. Evenutally a friend told me to go to the doctor. i did and I haven't looked back. yes, I still have down days, but there is hope!

purpleturtle Fri 18-Feb-05 13:14:10

Forgot to say - I have loads of friends, and a really good support network. But my brain still let me down.
Sometimes a stranger can say things to you that you can hear better, because it comes without the baggage you automatically use to filter your family's/friends' words.

Toothache Fri 18-Feb-05 13:42:46

Adrift - I suffered from PND after my ds was born (3.5yrs old). I found MN when he was 18mths old and that's when I realised I wasn't alone and I wasn't abnormal. I don't remember much of Ds's 1st year. Just the bleakness, dark cloud, the bad times, the crying, the arguments with DH..... feeling suicidal and being scared to be left alone with my own thoughts.

I too felt like a total fraud when I went to the GP. Ds was 18 mths old and the really bad times had eased. I didn't get AD's as I had struggled on (and it was a struggle to even brush my teeth!)until the worst seemed to have passed.

My dd is 6mths old and toward the end of the pregnancy I scored 18 on the Edinburgh test and was prescribed AD's. I didn't take them, but felt better that I had spoken to a MW and a GP and my HV and they were all aware of my history. I knew then that I would NOT be beaten by PND if it struck again.

Just knowing that if it happens again that you won't have to just 'struggle on'. That people will take you seriously and recognise that it is an illness, but most definitely one you can beat!!

My PND wasn't discovered 1st time around as I lied very deliberately on my Edin Test and also I didn't fit into the high risk bracket. I had a partner, a healthy baby, a house, a job etc etc. I felt disgusted with myself for not being deliriously happy with my baby!!

Talking to someone doesn't make it all go away, but it can really help you to put things into perspective. Depression can make you lose perspective on things. Talking it over, even on MN really helped me and knowing that at my darkest moments I could 'talk' to someone who would help to lift the cloud, was just amazing.

PND doesn't seem to have raised it's ugly head with me again, but I know I would not have left it so long this time. Talking it over may be enough, or AD's might help you over the hurdle. The important thing is that you are seeking help and are taking the bull by the horns!

You CAN recover and you CAN enjoy your baby like all these other Mums do.

adrift Fri 18-Feb-05 15:14:41

Toothache, I scored 18 on the Edinburgh test. i was feeling Ok this morning and yesterday but it has just gone black again. Can't stop crying.

I'm scared, the ADs seem like the answer. I really don't believe this is psychological, it must be chemical.

Toothache Fri 18-Feb-05 15:21:32

Adrift - Certainly sounds like it. My GP recommended a homeopathic rememdy called Sepia. I tried it and it really trully seemed to help me. It doesn't have any side-effects so it's worth a try. You can buy it Boots or Holland&Barrett.

I was up and down like that for the last 8wks of my pregnancy. I was terrified of my PND coming back. I wanted a 2nd chance at being a good Mum. To prove to myself that I could have a baby without falling apart... sounds ridiculous, but that's how I felt.

Be reassured that this time around you are seeking help early on and you may be able to overcome it really quickly.

I still have days when I feel like I could cry and just never stop, but thankfully those are few and far between.

You are doing the right thing, you'll be back to yourself in no time.

expatinscotland Fri 18-Feb-05 15:45:32

Yes, that sounds exactly like PND. Please go see your GP. I didn't find the counselling helped me, b/c my PND was so tied to my hormones. But medication did immensely.

adrift Fri 18-Feb-05 16:00:51

I'm sitting here, waiting for a call back from the GP. I was told she'd call within 30 mins, it has been an hour. Time is really crawling.
Worried because I'm breastfeeding. Are ADs compatible with this?

BEKsmum Fri 18-Feb-05 16:20:02

Adrift, don't worry, you know what doctors are like they never run to schedule, he/she will call you back.

I don't know if you can take AD's while breastfeeding but I also suffered with PND so know what you are going through. I agree with Toothache, Sepia can definitely help and I also took St. Johns Wort which is another natural remedy you can buy in Health food shops. Speak to the shop assistant as they are not suitable for everyone but I found them invaluable.

The other thing I did was to get myself out and about to mother & toddler groups etc, anywhere so long as I wasn't at home as I found this really hard work. I know this sounds impossible when getting out of bed is hard enough but being out just seemed to help.

Remember you can always let off steam to everyone on MN 'cos we are all in the same boat and as you don't know any of us personally you can say what you might not be able to say to your friends.

Look after yourself and don't worry about what other people think and I'm sure you'll get through this, just like you did last time.

adrift Fri 18-Feb-05 18:14:19

Gp not helpful, but then Fri afternoons aren't the best time to be asking for help. She said if I felt bad over the w/e I should go to A&E and ask to see psychiatrist.
Have counselling session arranged for next Thurs, but that seems so far off.
GP implied I won't be prescribed ADs since I'm not feeling dangerous towards self or baby. I just still can't see how talking will change the way I feel.

jabberwocky Fri 18-Feb-05 18:21:15

Perhaps after you see the counsellor they will prescibe some ADs. I know my OB was very insistent that I go to counselling but did go ahead and start meds as I was suicidal. I know the "fraud" feeling well. I kept trying to rationalize myself out of being depressed - healthy baby, loving husband, etc. But the thing about PND is that it just is and you can't talk yourself out of it. Just be really honest with the counsellor. Talking about it will make you feel better and he/she may decide that ADs would be good too.

Merlin Fri 18-Feb-05 18:26:15

Adrift - sounds like you should change your GP!!! Seems a bit extreme suggesting A&E and a psychiatrist at this stage IMO. I had PND after my DS and am worried it may strike again with no2 due in 7 weeks. You certainly shouldn't feel a fraud - I remember I felt the same - sat in the surgery talking about my lovely husband, nice big house, no financial worries, very supportive parents etc etc, but still just had this overriding feeling of depression. My GP didn't hesitate in prescribing AD's, explaining it was a chemical imbalance. They started to work within 4/5 weeks and I just felt so much better about everything. I came off them gradually and had no problems at all, if you can take them while breastfeeding then go for it, and maybe look for a more sympathetic GP. I wasn't offered counselling, but I'm sure that will help too - just to talk to someone who can be completely objective. Good luck!!

vicdubya Fri 18-Feb-05 18:35:37

Adrift I have not suffered PND but have had one severe episode of depression prior to having ds, and I do not think that you need to be feeling dangerous towards yourself or baby to be helped by AD's!!!

If you feel AD's would be right (and I would agree counselling is not necessarily that helpful if your problem is probably in part hormonel / chemical), then please do discuss again with your GP or seek a 2nd opinion from another dr in the practice.

IME the sooner you start the better, I was misdiagnosed by 2 different GP's for several weeks (as suffering primarily anxiety which was masking depression) and felt if I had started AD's earlier I wouldn;t have sunk so low.

HTH and that you feel you are getting some real help soon. And yes, if you feel s**t over the weekend, don;t wait til Monday. Call the GP again.

And I think there are certain types of AD you can take safely with BF, so you should ask about that.

Sorry you're struggling & hope things improve soon.

Toothache Sat 19-Feb-05 12:38:29

Adrift - Stupid GP!!!

The answer is yes you can take AD's whilst breastfeeding. I was prescribed the older sort (tricyclic?) when I was pregnant as the newer (SSRI's?) are too new to know how they effect unborn babies. My GP said once the baby was born I could go on to the newer sort even if I was breastfeeding. The newer one's have less of the horrible groggy side-effects.

I was NOT seen as a danger to my child or myself when I was prescribed AD's in pregnancy. It was merely a way of balancing out the hormones BEFORE it gets to that stage. Your GP sounds very illinformed and has an irresponsible view of depression. I' speak to your HV.... or a HV in another practice. My HV visited once a week for the last 8wks of my pregnancy to 'counsell' me and just to let me cry in I needed to. She was wonderful. Perhaps she felt guilty that she never spotted my PND first time around!? You deserve more than a phonecall and some poxy advice to go to A&E!

Besides.... there seems to be plenty of us crazy-ladies on MN at your service.

WideWebWitch Sat 19-Feb-05 13:22:08

Adrift, sweetie, there's really absolutely nothing to feel embarrassed or fraudulent about, really there isn't. There is a way out of the bleakness and it will get better, you just need to decide with your gp whether ads or counselling or a mixture of both or other things are the way to go. I had mild pnd after the birth of my first child and escaped it with my second and I found exercise, healthy eating, spending time with lovely people, mumsnet, policing negative thoughts, sleep, sex all helped. I started a thread to ask for advice on staving off depression, it's here . I just re-read it and realise now (a year later) how close I was to being depressed again. It may be that some strategies plus ads help you, but anyway, I hope there's something here that helps.

WideWebWitch Sat 19-Feb-05 13:23:44

Oh, I've just realise that your gp wasn't much help. Sorry to hear that. A&E doesn't sound like a terribly helpful suggestion. Can you try talking to your health visitor instead, if you've got a good one?

adrift Sat 19-Feb-05 15:32:16

Will see another GP and HV early next week. Today is slightly better, maybe because I feel things are in motion and I'm talking about it with friends and family rather than pretending everything is normal.

The worst thing that GP said was to point out how lucky I was, to have my mother in the house, keeping me company. 'Lots of people don't have that, you know.' Exactly what I've been so, so conscious of.

expatinscotland Sat 19-Feb-05 15:36:48

Aw, adrift! That's not on. I'm sorry you're having to go through this in addition to feeling so crap. I'm surprised about their being reticent to prescribe ADs, especially as this form of depression isn't usually psychological in nature. My hormones were all over the place, and my mood would worsen or improve based on my cycle. Being on Dianette BCPs and ADs helped so much. But it's hard to fight for your health when you have s/thing like PND already!

I think I'd keep trying GPs and get aggro if need be. There IS help out there!

vicdubya Sat 19-Feb-05 15:42:22


Grr at your GP

Having other people around can be a big help when you are depressed, if they are supportive, but it doesn;t stop you being depressed, because depression is an illness. Affter all, having your Mum there would not prevent you catching chickenpox or breaking your leg!

Your brain is just not producing the right levels of certain chemicals. Nothing to feel guilty about.

I went back to live with my parents for 6 months when I was depressed and they were lovely and helped me through it but I was still very ill & needed the AD's to get me sorted.

Please speak to another GP/ your HV if you can.

Vicky x

marthamoo Sat 19-Feb-05 15:52:53

Another grr at your GP!

You must see another GP who is more sympathetic. I never had any tendencies to harming my baby or self-harming - that is not a criteria for diagnosing PND. I think the causes of PND are extremely complex and little understood but chemical inbalance is a huge part - and you need anti-d's to sort that out so you can begin coping with everything else. I have had PND twice - severely with my first child (when I think it was a combination of a chemical inbalance and the pyschological "shock" of becoming a Mum and feeling uttely overwhelmed).

You are not a fraud - you're lucky to have a supportive family but they can't stop you from being ill. You can and will get better but you need some help. I am so sorry that you had what sounds very much like undiagnosed PND with your first child - my first year with my first baby was like that too, but with ds2 I got help fast, started on anti-d's when he was 6 weeks old and I actually enjoyed (some!) of his babyhood. You deserve to enjoy it too - it doesn't have to be a constant struggle through that black hole of depression.

Keep asking for help until you get it - and keep posting.

expatinscotland Sat 19-Feb-05 16:11:55

I really hope you get help soon. Also, if you have a support network, such as family or partner, I would HIGHLY recommend getting them enlisted to get you the treatment you need! I feel I was robbed of a lot of DDs babyhood b/c of PND - I'll never get that back, BUT I can only imagine what it would have been like w/o treatment. Like Toothache, I don't remember much of DD's first year at all. No woman deserves that. I had severe PND and was suicidal w/i days of dd's birth.

Keep us posted!

adrift Sat 19-Feb-05 19:18:28

Thankyou very much, all of you, for your replies. I don't know anyone in RL who has had PND, so this is a comfort.

The thing I'm worrying about now is that my mum and DH are quite shocked that I'm even thinking about the need for ADs. And their concern is making me less certain that I 'need' them (of course I am keeping an open mind until I see the GP and counsellor but I still have a hunch they're going to be more use than talking to a stranger). They are talking about people getting worse on them, getting hooked, side effects, etc. I think the idea of me ending up on them frightens them very much.

purpleturtle Sat 19-Feb-05 19:27:27

They should talk to my dh, and other dh's I know who feel like they're married to different, better women, now we're on the ad's! Yes, there are side effects, but you can work to minimise them, and IME the benefits far outweighed any side effects.

Merlin Sat 19-Feb-05 19:39:54

Adrift - please don't worry about side effects - there will be an AD to suit you, and as long as you are on a fairly mild dose you wont become addicted - I was worried about that but in fact despite the fact that I took AD's about 3 times over the course of a year and a half I was lucky and had no problems coming off them each time. I think you really need to find a sympathetic GP and/or HV who can understand and empathise with you.

WideWebWitch Sat 19-Feb-05 19:55:56

adrift, show them some mumsnet threads where perfectly wonderful, intelligent, devoted mothers have taken ads and say they changed their lives and helped them get better. You need their support, tell them that. If you had something else physically wrong with you you wouldn't hesitate to take something to make you better would you?

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