Today on the blog I have Eva who is sharing her story of PND and how it impacted on her life. Please make her feel welcome.
I remember going to my first obstetrician appointment when I was pregnant with my son. One of the questions I was asked was ‘do you suffer from anxiety or depression?’ ‘Yes’ I replied. ‘I suffer from anxiety and have stopped my medication before I fell pregnant’. And then my obstetrician gave me ‘the talk’ about being at high-risk of Post Natal Depression. I remember thinking ‘Ah, it won’t happen to me, I’ll be fine’. I also remember my obstetrician looking my husband straight in the eye, suggesting that he keep a very close eye on me.
As the months went on after having Elliott, I had good days but the bad days were bad. I felt blank, like a nothing, I couldn’t figure out my purpose in life. I remember thinking to myself ‘is this all I am, here to sit at home looking after a baby?’ I cried for no reason and I also cried because I felt trapped. The feelings engulfed me to a point where they were suffocating and took every ounce of happiness away, the happiness I knew I was supposed to feel as a new Mum.
For the majority of this time I just thought it was normal, all part of being a Mum. One day I visited the GP for one of Elliott’s checkups at which I ended up bursting into tears and told the doctor how I felt. She looked at my records and saw that I was on medication prior to my pregnancy; she suggested I go back on the medication and that was that.
I felt embarrassed, embarrassed because I had gone into the doctor and made a big scene when there wasn’t really anything wrong with me.
I started the medication but it did nothing, in fact, my feelings got worse.
Fast forward to when Elliott was 19 months old and I was at breaking point, I couldn’t dig myself out of the big, dark hole that I was in. I couldn’t bear waking up another morning with the sinking feeling in my stomach; I couldn’t bear another day worrying about what I had to do the next day and planning in my head the logistics of a visit to the shop or mothers group, something that should have been so easy.
I don’t know how I managed to cope but we sold a house and bought a house while I was still struggling. Somehow I managed to keep it together. I didn’t realise that our move to a completely different suburb half an hour away would in fact be a god send.
I researched a recommended doctor nearby for Elliott to see for his needles. She was lovely, I was really happy with her bedside manner. I decided to book myself in to see her and ask for her help.
Unlike the other doctor who asked no questions and was quick to prescribe, this new doctor sat and talked with me, she had me answer a questionnaire, she discovered my medication dosage was incorrect, she referred me to a psychologist and finally…..she diagnosed me with Post Natal Depression and General Depression & Anxiety Disorder. It took 19 months to get a diagnosis and the right help and once I got the help I needed, it took 5 months for me to finally make the escape.
When I think about it, I get angry. Angry because the first doctor failed to diagnose and as a result, 19months of my son’s life is very much a blank to me. The PND consumed me; it erased so much of my memory because all I could focus on was how I felt.
I’m angry because in those 19 months I wasn’t fully present with my son, I didn’t show him the love and attention that I am able to give him now and that I am making up for each and every day. I’m angry at myself, that I didn’t get a second opinion earlier, I was really the only one who truly knew how I felt and what was going through my mind. PND is the worst thing to try and have to explain to someone, not only are the feelings complex and hard to articulate, the thoughts and feelings you have make you sound like a monster.
Fast forward to the present day and my son turns 3 next month. The last year has been the happiest of my life because I have had so much clarity and confidence, it’s like a new me has emerged and I do my best to live in the moment now.
The 19 months of having undiagnosed postnatal depression were the darkest of my life and I would not wish this illness upon anyone. I urge anyone who does not feel as though they are coping to see a doctor and if you know of someone in this situation, make the suggestion, heck…show them this post if you need to. Do not feel ashamed to talk about it, it is common and do get a second opinion if you are not sure. An uncomfortable trip to the doctor and some intervention is much better than missing out on memories.
Eva writes two blogs from two completely different genres, The Multitasking Mummy, a lifestyle and parenting blog and Evapedia, a blog about social media and blogging. You can also check her out on Facebook. Eva lives on the outskirts of Brisbane in her old Queenslander with her husband, almost 3 year old son, her 8 year old hairy son (dog) and two chooks.
Beyond Eva’s blogs, she has her own business as a freelance writer and social media manager and is a lover of red wine and ice-cream. Eva can often be seen typing an article while on the phone and with her son on her lap.
Eva is a self confessed social media and blogging addict; she loves sharing her knowledge and experiences as well as embracing the infinite opportunities of digital media.
Linking up with Jess for IBOT!