Post Natal Depression – Do You Ever Recover?

I am yet to publish the story of my battle/journey with Post Natal Depression (PND) on this new blog. Some of you know the story but in a nutshell I have been suffering PND for the last 5 years – for 3 of those years I was unaware that the antidepressants (ADs) I had been prescribed where the wrong type & dose so I was effectively untreated for that time (which explained a lot!) Now finally on the right ADs there has been a huge improvement as well as seeing a psychiatrist and a family counsellor.

I had broached the subject of reducing my ADs with my psych back in October last year but we decided that although I was doing well the fact that my husband was about to leave for a extended period of time overseas this was not the time to test myself.

But how do you know that you are getting better?

The problem with PND is that you never really know how sick you are until you start to get better. You suddenly think “OMG was I really that bad?” When you go to the doctor with the flu or the like, there are usually obvious symptoms – temperature, sneezing, coughing, abnormal blood tests etc. But look at the list of symptoms of PND and you will be amazed by the sheer number of symptoms and how vague they are. From panic attacks, low sex drive to abdominal pains and headaches – it is such a grey area it is hard to put your finger on it. Putting this aside most mums hide the symptoms exceedingly well which makes it even worse for her and those around her.

So although I am still playing single parent I am pleased to say that as of last week I have halved my dose of ADs. It is not that I don’t want to take them, I am more than happy to take them if I need them but a few things have happened that make me think that I am on the path to recovery. These things may sound horrible to mums that have never suffered from PND but those who have will probably know what I mean.

1. I now instinctively kiss my kids good night when I do my final check on them before I go to bed

I hear some of you gasping thinking what the hell is she saying! I love my kids, I always have, but slowly the long held undercurrent of resentment for them changing my life so dramatically has started dissolve. One night I did it and it was a light bulb moment….I am finally becoming the mum I wanted to be.

2. Sleep

I have come to realise over the years my wish to control all things in my life has been my undoing, especially when it comes to children and sleep. I wanted them to sleep, they wouldn’t. They woke too early, I would throw the doona back in a rage, swearing under my breath about how much it sucked. But I think my fight with this demon is finally over. Yes, I still have the occasional crappy night and early morning but the difference now is I don’t fight it and I have turned off the instinctive want to whinge and bitch about it in my head. I don’t wake up thinking “for god sake what now?, go back to sleep!, I just need to sleep!” … now it is “well yep, I’m up again, lets just deal with this and get back to bed as soon as I can etc”….. by changing the way I cope and talk to myself I have finally brought some acceptance to this.

3. Playing with kids

I have never enjoyed playing with the kids as I could always think of more “important” things I should be doing like the dishes! Lately I thought back to my own childhood and realised I never remembered my mum playing with me (I am sure she did!) but I remember the obsession with the house being tidy and ordered. Did I want my children to think back and remember me like that? So I made it my mission to sit and play with them for at least half an hour, one on one, every day. To my surprise I actually enjoy it now I stop thinking about what I could or “should” be doing. This has even extended to sitting and playing with my friends young son on the weekend…..who would have thought it!

In saying all this, I don’t think I will ever be free of this demon called PND. I am sure it will stay hidden in the recesses of my mind and rear its ugly head at points along this “journey” called motherhood. However armed with the knowledge gained from my psychiatrist, counsellor and the amazing support of my friends (you know who you are! ) I am sure it will be less bumpy!

Linda

Comments

  1. sophiewegat says:

    Thanks for sharing Linda. You are such an inspiration. You’ve worked so hard on recovering and should be so proud. It shows that it can be overcome with work. Oh and thanks for playing with my son on the weekend. He just loved it. 😉

  2. Linda,
    I also suffered from PND. I don’t have much to say about it really, except that it sucks. Sounds like you are doing an awesome job. I can relate to everything you said 100%. Keep up the good work, you are a champ. The fog is obviously clearing x

    Haley.

    • Thanks Hayley for your lovely comment….finally life is starting to look really good – has been a real struggle. Thank you x

%d bloggers like this: