Friend with PND - how best to support her?
Wigeon · 10/12/2011 11:42
A local friend of mine has just told me she's been diagnosed with PND by the GP earlier this week. I haven't known her for that long (about 18 months) but her closest friends live hundreds of miles away. I am at a complete loss to know how to support her. She has a DS who is 2.5 and a DD who is 5 months. She is terrible at accepting help and the kind of person who apologises for herself the whole time. She feels guilty because on a paper she has a good life (enough money, nice house, children healthy etc) but of course PND doesn't care about that. She texted to say she cried every 30 mins yesterday . Her parents and DH don't want her to take ADs.
I have obviously told her that if there's anything I can do then she mustn't hesitate to ask (and I really mean it) but I know that she just won't ask. I am thinking of leaving her weekly tubs of spag bol etc on her doorstep just so that she doesn't have to cook sometimes. Is this a good idea?!
I don't know if it would be unhelpful to insist on a playdate once a week - she has said that she's exhausted with putting on a positive face and I can imagine she might actually find a playdate more stressful than relaxing. Or perhaps this would help?
If you have had PND and are now recovered, in retrospect what support from friends would have been most useful at the time?
bansku · 10/12/2011 12:25
You sound a very good friend! Food sounds very nice idea. Could you take the older kid to playground or something for couple of hours, so she could possibly rest if the younger has a nap. Or maybe help her to clean.
I am pregnant now and have had bouts of depression. the most tiring has been cooking and cleaning. I can rest when my toddler has a nap, but I guess with two kids it is more difficult, because they may nap different times.
Wigeon · 10/12/2011 18:17
Thanks for your reply . I could definitely take the older one out - I'll do that. She has a cleaner although there's still the daily grind of the washing up, clearing up the kitchen etc etc...
I hope you are feeling ok during this pregnancy?
Albrecht · 13/12/2011 21:46
Tell her its up to her whether she takes ads not her parents or dh (I never took them by the way, just pointing out its for her to decide). Ask if she has been referred for counselling as it can really help - especially if she is feeling guilty for being down.
Random text or email just asking how she is, you have been thinking of her.
As she has been quite honest with you about how bad she feels maybe she means putting on a positive face with other people? So playdate could be good. Turn up with picnic type food and offer to entertain the children / hold the baby while she lies down for half an hour or does something she wants (you may need a lie down afterwards too!)
Or offer to meet her at local toddler group (sorry am presuming you have dc yourself) so she knows someone will be there to catch her if she falls type thing. It will be good for her to get out and about. Are there any activities you know she likes you could do together - shopping, swimming etc?
Depression can mean you have good days followed by bad and then good and then bad. So if she seems better don't presume its fine now.
Wigeon · 13/12/2011 22:32
Thanks very much for your reply . I do indeed have DC as well, in fact we met at a local toddler group. GP says that counselling on the NHS isn't available until April but she has just seen a private counsellor and can access an employee telephone helpline too. Actually I asked her and her DC round today and she seemed to appreciate it (kept apologising for being in the way!).
She knows it's her decision about the ADs...
It sounded like she had a good day yesterday and so she was saying that she feels like she is just making a fuss and drawing attention to herself, but she really isn't the kind of person to make a fuss and I think you are totally right that it's the good days and bad days thing. I tried to be reassuring that I absolutely didn't think she was attention-seeking! I don't think the GP would have diagnosed PND and prescribed ADs out of the blue. I think she knows that she hasn't been feeling right since the birth of her DD2. Don't GPs have a kind of checklist thing in order to diagnose PND?
Hope you are recovered now, Albrecht?
Albrecht · 13/12/2011 23:09
Yes they should do a specific questionnaire with her but I have heard of people just being told that is what it is. That is ridiculous about counselling timescale as there is a babies welfare to take into account (it can affect their development if the mother is depressed, not suggesting she is a risk to her dc) . But also probably a good sign that they are not in a panic so hopefully she has a mild case for her sake. Good she can access other support too.
Hmm that is a question. Other life stuff is happening so its hard to unpick what is going on with me right now.
I'm reading this book that is not specifically about pnd but how being a mother is different to just about anything you have done before. Lots of quotes from women about the bad bits and struggling as well as the good. Wish I had read it in the bad days.
brettgirl2 · 17/12/2011 15:15
In the case of mild depression one of the best therapies is exercise. Maybe you could offer to look after her children for an hour or so a couple of times a week so she could go swimming/ to a class?
Wigeon · 18/12/2011 10:06
Thanks for the replies again. She wants to do more exercise (both because she wants to lose the baby weight, and she knows it will help with the depression), so that's good.
Albrecht - that is a great book, isn't it. I found it very comforting and I haven't ever suffered from depression - just the normal stresses of being a mother! I will find her a copy; I think she will find it helpful. I hope you find some peace and calm in your life somehow and thank you for your comments.
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