Another Post-Natal Depression Update…

menhux

I’ll give one thing to Post-Natal Depression; it certainly hangs around a bit!

The last couple of weeks have been OK, bar a couple of beacon-like lovely days in the middle. Elfie’s back to her tricks of waking me up 2 or 3 times a night and this broken sleep affects my mood like nothing else. I’m getting pretty bored of feeling tired and wish my body responded better to caffeine. Shakes and nausea after too many espressos are Not Cool.

I have to say that I feel about a million times improved since I started on the new medication. I was pretty hesitant about going on Prozac because, well, it’s PROZAC, it’s what crazy people take, right? But at my lowest I really had nothing to lose, apart from my mind. In contrast to the initial medication my GP put me on I have had no side effects, no scary things happening. It’s given me a new lease of life and makes me feel so much more alive. And you know what? I’m totally comfortable with the fact I need to take anti-depressants now. It has made such a difference to my state of mind that I feel no shame, none at all. It has changed my life, maybe saved it, and I think that is amazing.

Earlier on this week I had my assessment appointment by a mental health nurse at the hospital. This was an interesting experience, a little harrowing to speak so deeply and for so long about the way I was feeling, a little scary to be in a locked section of the hospital. I felt very much out of my depth but my assessor was an absolute delight and had a way of making me feel totally comfortable. I think there are some people in this world who you warm to immediately and she was one of those. She was professional yet so easy to talk to, which was a good thing as she probed me for an hour and a half. Our conversation was so revealing, I didn’t realise how many of my personality ‘quirks’ are not that but are a part of my post-natal depression. It was fascinating.

The good news is that I am considerably less crazy then I was eight weeks ago. There’s a test you fill out that scores you on a scale for depression and anxiety and eight weeks ago I scored 18 for both. The highest score you can get is 21, and for a referral to the serious mental health unit of the hospital you need at least a 16. Happily, this week I scored a 7, which means I will be referred to a community team for CBT (yay!). I put this 100% down to the new medication I’ve been taking and the positive steps I’ve implemented myself and am looking forward to my therapy beginning in a couple of months.

I’m in no way fixed at the moment and I think it’s important for me to recognize that. I still have days when all I want to do is go back to bed. I still sleep a lot more than I’d like, a symptom of PND, and it’s taken me a long time to recognize just how much the children’s disturbed nights affect this. I still have bad days though these are few and far between and I hope they will get more so. I still have anxiety though haven’t had a panic attack related to this for 6 weeks (go me!).

The sun and the book and the support from my family are all helping and I’m trying to take my foot off the pedal a little with regards to work, and just enjoy writing. Motivation and a need to work to succeed seem to be a bit more ingrained than I originally thought, but I’m getting there. I’ll get there.

19 thoughts on “Another Post-Natal Depression Update…

  1. It’s made me smile to read this, Alice. I’m so glad you’re making such great progress, and have found some medication that is right for you too. The assessment seems like it will have been a daunting experience, but also a productive one. It certainly sounds like you’ve got a good system where you are who are going to look after you.

  2. I think its a brave and inspirational thing to do to share your story with other people. As a student midwife (as of September) it gives me a new light on understanding the lives of mothers and the support they will need not just after having their baby but perhaps six or eight months down the line. I think you are incredibly brave :)

    • Thanks very much, Jess, I’m so pleased it’s given you an insight. I had no idea I’d be needing support now, either! Good luck with your studies :)

  3. You WILL get there. So pleased things are starting to feel better for you. I’m sure your story is helping lots of other mums struggling to cope with similar feelings, so keep going and keep sharing (as much as you want to of course). xx

  4. So glad you are feeling lots better. You will get there & are helping so many other women in the process. Have you tried rescue remedy to help with anxiety. It’s got me through exams, driving test, Uni, birth! Love it x

  5. Wow, Alice, I thank you for your honesty and I’m sorry I didn’t realise. I am so glad you are seeking support and feeling improvements. I’d love to know what those personality traits that turned out to be symptoms were.
    Much love
    Hayley

  6. So glad you’re starting to feel on the mend, really good news to hear! :-) I’m impressed that you’ve been referred for these assessments and CBT so quickly- round here things seem to take aaaages (have a friend with depression still waiting to be formally assessed, although someone with PND might get seen quicker because obviously children/babies are involved). Also, I totally believe that sun makes SUCH a difference. My mood has been lifted no-end these last few days because of the sun! Also SLEEP, aaargh! Must be a nightmare to have broken sleep with PND- I feel like a sack of shit when I get a rough night with Sasha, sleep is EVERYTHING!

  7. ‘because, well, it’s PROZAC, it’s what crazy people take, right’

    Wow, nice attitude towards people suffering from mental illness.

  8. uh above commenter – ignore

    I’m so glad things are getting a little better Alice. I was on Prozac too during my last year of uni, at first I found it such a great help but towards the end of the year I found it just made everything feel very dull. I took that as a sign I no longer needed it and stopped taking it without consultation, perhaps not what I should recommend but I trusted myself to know it was the right time and it was :)

    It certainly helps get you back on your feet xx

  9. So pleased to hear that things are moving in the right direction and while you’re not 100% there yet, you’re really making amazing progress by the sounds of things, which is fantastic to hear. Keep going, you’ll get there, and so glad to hear you have great support around you too xx

  10. I found your blog today and just wanted to say your honesty and generosity in sharing your experiences is inspiring. Thank you.

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