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.