So as the year is coming to an end, I want to get this written as I’m thinking new year new me (what a cliche!!!!!), and I am finally ready to write it. I am looking back on 2018 as a year which gives me mixed feelings. I have some lovely memories from the year, but I think it will be the one known for post natal depression.
I am typically a bubbly, happy person. I love chatting and spending time with people. I like to be social and part of something. I hadn’t realised for a long time though that I wasn’t feeling like this person. I didn’t realise until the end of May that it wasn’t much fun to live with me as I was snappy, tired and avoiding social situations.
Arlo was born in Feb 2017. As some of my other blogs have mentioned, he wasn’t a great sleeper (The beginning of sleep….), up many times a night and often not easy to settle. Throughout my maternity leave I felt fine, I met with friends, made some lovely new friends, and enjoyed my time with the boys. I remember the health visitors often asking how I was feeling – all good with a massive smile and the praise of how well I was doing would come. I went back to work in November 2017 and we got into our new routine… I was often sleep deprived, but all was fine.
The trigger point came at the end of May. We had been out to the shops as a family and Rob and I were bickering the whole time. An argument when we got home where Rob said he was fed up of being the only happy person in this relationship. This hit me. Ten minutes later I was realising and telling him that I didn’t think I was very well. I felt like I was living in a cloud. Always tired, but I could get hours and hours of sleep and not feel any better. Rob wasn’t surprised. He thinks I’d had it for about 6 months before we got help. I was anxious, needed routine, was avoiding seeing people, and living in my own little bubble. I didn’t realise I was doing or feeling these things. I am very close with my parents and sisters and they hadn’t realised either – being my closest, they were often the only people I did want to see, and would be myself around.
On Thursday May 31st I couldn’t cope being in this cloud anymore. I got back from work early and called the doctors asking if I could please see a doctor that afternoon. A lovely nurse called me back and I said I needed to speak to someone about depression – I cried, but it felt like a relief saying it all. Rob called on his way back from work and offered to come to the doctors with me, something I wasn’t expecting but greatly appreciated. We went and the doctor was amazing. She was retiring in the following weeks, but said she had two boys with a small age gap too – I didn’t even think 2 1/4 years was a small age gap!!! She listened to what I said and told me I had post natal depression, it was a chemical imbalance in me that was making me feel like this. Her words made complete sense to me, I didn’t feel like there was anything wrong, just couldn’t shift the cloud. Drugs were prescribed and I walked away already feeling a lot happier.
The drugs took a couple of weeks to kick in, and it wasn’t a quick magic fix, but 6 months later and I was feeling like myself again. Christmas has passed, 2019 is on its way, and I know this will be the year I come off the helpful drugs and enjoy more special, fun times with my family and friends.
To those also feeling like they are living in a cloud, get help. Its nothing to be ashamed of, and just realising and asking for help lifts so much. For parents, your baby doesn’t need to be days or weeks old to get PND. If you are worried about someone else, ask if they are ok and be there for them. To those friends I haven’t seen as much or been in contact with enough this year – I’m sorry, lets get time in 2019 booked in!!