Post natal depression effects thousands of mums all over the country and it is one of the hardest experiences a women can go through. But the point to note is that if you are suffering from post natal depression, you are not alone and there are a number of support groups and other help you can reach out to to help you through this tough time.
Below is a personal story shared by Michelle Finch about her post natal depression. It is honest and raw and we thank Michelle so much for sharing her story.
“I suffered Post Natal Depression (PND) after our first baby was born, and took the advice of our Doctor to come off the medication while trying for our second baby.
Our first baby developed chronic colic and reflux at 6 weeks and had to be in hospital for 5 days. I was not coping when this happened but I wouldn’t to admit it to myself or anyone else – and my first lesson here is that it is ok not to cope, and to ask for help!
Our 2nd baby was a dream baby, he slept, he ate well and I had no reason to feel low! I then tried to kid myself that I was ok, until everything BANG everything hit all at the same time
It was December 2010 and everything in my life was fantastic. Two babies, a great marriage plus I was a stay at home mum. I kept thinking everything was ok and that life was good!
Then, in December 2010 my life changed massively and I still haven’t been able to work out why. I don’t remember what happened but I do remember that everything inside of me came to a grinding halt. One morning I felt OK and the next day my life had changed completely. I felt an overwhelming sense of panic. I had never suffered from panic attacks before. I was overwhelmed by a sense of sadness and doom. I lost all ability to function. I was afraid to leave my house, afraid to drive and frightened to do anything.
Eventually I only went out to buy food, or take my children to the Dr. I stopped socialising, stopped going on the phone, I stopped communication with everyone. I was always in tears and was not sleeping The tiniest things would send me in to a horrible panic attack. Before, I was independent person who was constantly on the go and now I had panic attacks during the night – which then lead to exhaustion. I felt as though I was in a bubble.
I eventually went to the doctor and he put me on an anti depressants. I was beginning to feel like I would never be “normal” again that my life was altered forever. I have had many changes in medication, and am now on a dose that helps my depression and my anxiety. It took many months of counseling and focusing on each day and not GIVING UP to get better.
Having the breakdown was an interesting, eye opening experience, I can’t say it was the best thing that has happened but it has had a huge impact on my life and how I live it. For months there wasn’t a day that went by that I didn’t think about how weird I felt or why I existed but I kept pushing on in the hopes that I would wake up one day and not feel that way.
The great thing about all this is that I was forced to look at myself, and see that I never loved myself; I lived my life trying to please others and do everything I could for others. I became completely obsessed with what others might think or say if I said this or did that. I am not the person that I was before my breakdown but I would love to say I am better, but I still have down days or moments and for me it is about coping with the down days. The down times are when it is especially important for me to take time out for myself – doing some exercise like going for a run is something that helps to clear my mind. I am now learning to take care of myself, my mind and my health and I have learned never to take the small things in life for granted.
If you are reading this and experiencing something similar please remember there is a LIGHT at the end of the tunnel! The more you say to yourself that everything is hopeless the worse it feels and becomes – instead try and think positive thoughts and it you will find it does help. Your mind is just overloaded and is taking a holiday. It will all come together again.
One year on, I have now changed my life a great deal. I am still taking my medication and I have lost weight and am beginning to love myself for who I am and what I do. Part of my weight loss was doing bootcamp exercise and doing something for myself. I am more confident in who I am and really want to help others in my position. If writing this helps just one person in a similar position to myself it has been worthwhile writing.”
If anyone needs help with Post Natal Depression please visit www.panda.org.au for advice and support