'You're a planner/worrier/need
a safety net': why is wanting NICE mandated healthcare about my personality, not my health?
I had perinatal OCD/AND/PND during my last pregnancy. I am now pregnant again and choosing to come off SSRIs. Having been told I have a high risk of relapse, I am trying to put together a plan to avoid a recurrence. Specifically, I am trying to sort out increased CBT as this is what worked best for me and is what's mandated for perinatal OCD and moderate depression.
If one more person refer to me as
- a worrier
- a planner
- needing to feel in control
I may scream. I am not now, nor have I ever been any of those things. I suffer anxiety in pregnancy because physically my defences are lowered an things I have learned to cope well with at other points in my life seem more overwhelming. My deep and abiding fear is the reality that pregnancy outcome and birth and my children's future social, emotional and learning development are beyond anyone's control, not just mine. There is a family history of severe mental health difficulties and addiction etc. I know that life doesn't always go to plan and that even when people are truly good they can lose their way and end up very far off any path that they have chosen. I'm not irrational about it. I know the odds are good my pregnancy/labour/birth will be fine and my children will develop well. I just know it is not a given and in pregnancy I suffer this, it haunts me. Just as it haunted many women before me. It's a profoundly logical position, not an irrational, deluded or misguided one. I just feel the suffering of the world differently when I am pregnant and I benefit from some extra support to talk this through with someone who is empathetic and non- judgemental. In another time, my fears would have been shared by my whole Irish community and I would never have felt alone in this, or seen as clinical for hoping and fearing at the same time.
I suspect my fears are universal but for whatever reason - perhaps hormones, genetics or having grown up in an alcoholic home with a mother with emotional distress of her own - it's just a little more pressing for me in terms of how it impacts on my daily functioning.
However, I am not 'a' anything. I am sick to the back teeth of casual assumptions that mean this illness means my expectations of motherhood were too high or I hate unpredictability or loss of control more than the next person. I'm not organised or a 'control freak', nor am I a planner or perfectionist. I'm just human and I've been ILL. For a while I rejected this because I was so sick of all these labels attached to it.
Why are women with depression seen as controlling, perfectionists, hyper responsible etc? Can't we just have depression?
And why is medication the only solution presented if it's our personality? Pretty inconveniently inconsistent narrative. The most distorted thought I learned I had through CBT was that I was all these things I was repeatedly told I was again and again when the evidence was clear I'd never been any of these outside of this very short finite period of illness. It's a bit fucked up that what made me better was learning not to take what I was being told about my diagnosis and what it said about me seriously.
I could go on, there is so much more to this story than I can include here. I just feel strongly that women's suffering is pathologised and made into an inherent flaw in character by many with no justification.
I'm sorry you're going through this - my experience is not even on the same scale (have no depression etc) but if I worried about ANYTHING when my baby was newborn, I was told it was typical first-time mum paranoia, my fears were unfounded, my hormones were making me irrational.
It couldn't possibly have been that my baby was jaundiced, sleepy and reluctant to feed.
I say feel free to make it crystal clear to the next person exactly what you've said here, if they don't want the lecture they shouldn't have called you names!
It seems to me that this is a form of gaslighting working. Of course your fears are rational and of course they are more at the forefront now. What you say is absolutely correct. It is a rational response to a situation that you don't have that much control over.
I just feel strongly that women's suffering is pathologised and made into an inherent flaw in character by many with no justification. Have you read the article on the gaslighting thread recently. It is really good at explaining how women have been defined as 'crazy' throughout the ages and why it isn't true.
Good luck the pregnancy and birth x
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