Postnatal Depression

Postnatal depression (PND)… no one likes to talk about it. No one likes to admit that they have it. There’s a severe stigma attached to it. Even though I suffer from it I still find myself conjuring up certain images, ideologies and expectations when I hear the words uttered.

There is such an awful stigma attached to mental illness in general but in particular postpartum mood disorders.

Many people (and I’m talking intelligent, grounded, everyday people) do not view depression or anxiety as illnesses. They instead label people. As a worrier, as negative, lazy, self-involved, dramatic, over-emotional, loner, etc etc etc.

It is a temporary disease. One that is strong. One that you cannot fathom unless you have been there.

I hate being someone who ‘gets it’… but I do. So I simply cannot ignore it and pretend it isn’t happening.

The mornings are the hardest. It is physical. I wake up feeling hopeless and aimless… even though I know that I have so much to enjoy, cherish, love and be grateful for. I wish people could get that. When you suffer from PND you do not control those thoughts like you do others. You know it’s not logical… but it affects you. It’s as much physical as it is mental (especially anxiety, lordy!)

Some mornings, for whatever reason, I can fight through the funk with relative ease. I stretch and sit up and smile at my boy. I kiss him and sing to him as I change him and I get up and make myself tea and porridge while I talk away to Cameron and make a mental to-do list.

Other days, however, I struggle. I fall in and out of negative dreams and foggy wakefulness where I just want to sleep. It’s like my body is saying “it’ll get better… if you do nothing” even though I know it isn’t true. I’ll smile at Cam, feed him and change him then lay back down submissively to the overwhelming desire to not care… although I do. I really really do.

PND changes your reality. It starves you of positivity. It drags you down and makes you feel tired, worthless, hopeless… sad. It takes and takes and takes.

But worst of all, I believe, it tries to cloud my perspective. The beauty. The magic. My happiness.

Most days I start to feel better as I do more… but there is the matter of fighting it with motivation (which is harder than it sounds).

It can be so easy to get sucked into the cycle. Depression feeds off negativity and loves to hear you think or say “I give up”. So you can give in… I can quite easily start to believe that I’m a bad Mum, who is not deserving of happiness, who is lazy and worthless.

But I’m getting stronger and stronger each day. Finding new, creative, beautiful ways to construct a different perspective and breathe loveliness into my life. Not that I don’t have all that I want right in front of me… but being proactive helps. And it shows that anxiety and sadness are just parts of what makes me me.

More on this soon.

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4 thoughts on “Postnatal Depression

  1. Rachel,
    I just want to tell you how brave you are. I know what depression can do to a person and I completely understand the desire to give up. I think you’re doing a great job despite your PND and I am proud of you for being so open about it. There IS a stigma attached to it and the only way people can begin to understand is to give it a voice… and you’ve done that. I think you are wise beyond your years. You have no idea how many women you will help just by speaking the truth. I hope you can take pride in that. Big hugs to you!!

  2. I understand your story to well. I feel as though every time I read your blogs or watch you vids! yes I was a utube fan too! (not a stalker i promise)! I feel as though I am reading my own words of a time that I too suffered from PND anxiety, depression and post traumatic stress. I feel a strong connection to your story because I can understand in a way that only someone that has lived that story can understand. I too journal my process of healing however not as public as I was to anxious of criticisms LOL i can giggle about that now! I now stand on the other side of this disease. I will never say I am cured because it is a long long journey and will always be an important part of what makes me me! keep writing, keep talking, keep connecting and you will persevere! You will be a better person for it and one day you will look back at your journey with confidence. and pride.

    Amanda

  3. You are beautiful Rach. You worded it so, so well. As someone who has also suffered chronic depression throughout different periods in my life (I have not suffered PND as I have not had a baby yet, however it is still a very real possibility), I can totally relate to every single word you speak of this post. There should be more people out there like you. You’re raising awareness, and that is a beautiful thing. Please keep doing it. Even just your post of here, has tremendously helped me – even just to understand it for myself that little more. Thank you xox

  4. I can fully sympathise – my sister is unable to drive outside of the town she lives in….on the other hand I do not have problems if I am driving as I am in control, I do have problems as a passenger as I am not. My therapist told me today that anxiety is not about a place or an activity but about the thoughts you associate with that task and thoughts can be changed, which I found encouraging and I now have to believe this to be true. Cut yourself some slack and take baby steps Love and light

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