The Dark Side.
Before I admitted that I had depression, I was a cynic. I am ashamed to admit, I was one of these people that believed that it was rubbish and I couldn’t believe that these people couldn’t just ‘sort themselves out’ or ‘pull themselves together’. Even at the time, I was struggling and I think that I have also suffered with my mental health, it has just been more so since becoming pregnant and giving birth.
According to the NHS, postnatal depression affects one in ten women, and one in twenty-five men. Halfway into my pregnancy, I definitely was struggling with depression. I hated being pregnant, I hated that I was going to become a mum and I hated everything. I was living in a small, one-bed bungalow with my husband and we weren’t getting on at all. Neither of us really recognised that I was struggling and husband would leave me alone nearly every night, to go to the pub with his friends. I had moved to the other side of the city to be near his work, but it meant I knew no one and I no longer had the support of my family. I was supposed to be attending university but I would skip my seminars and my lectures to sit at home and cry. It was a struggle to get out of bed, let alone keep on top of the housework or get myself dressed.
At six months pregnant, I decided to get a dog. He was 18 months old and he had had three homes prior to ours. He was on a sell it site on Facebook and I decided that I needed him in my life. He was an absolute nightmare, which you can read about here. As much as his behaviour was awful, he was my saviour. I had no choice but to walk him every day and it meant that I was getting out of the house, in the sun. I enjoyed spending time with him. When husband was out for the evening, I now had company and he enjoyed cuddling with me on the sofa. He wouldn’t leave my side and he was so loyal. Don’t get me wrong, there were – and still are – problems that we faced but it was amazing to have him around.
When Little R was born, I struggled. I struggled to breastfeed at the beginning, which you can read about here and I just generally struggled. Although I didn’t realise it at the time, it was obvious to those who were close to me. My sister-in-law would keep an eye on me. On one occasion, she turned up with flowers, books and a meal for husband and I, and just generally made sure that I was alright. She knew that I was suffering and she was amazing. Similarly, on anther occasion, my husband’s younger brother came to visit with his mum, and I was sat sobbing with a screaming child in my arms. Whilst Little R’s Nanny took over Little R, husband’s brother held me and soothed me until I was able to compose myself. Both my sister-in-law and my brother-in-law were amazing, and I am truly thankful that they are now a part of my family. It was husband that rang the Health Visitor, worried about my mental health. I was so angry that he had ‘gone behind my back’ but I needed it. The HV came out that day and sent me straight to the doctor, who prescribed me anti-depressants. Within a month or two, they had become effective and I was much better within myself.
Unfortunately, I still have massive lapses. At the moment, I am struggling. Not only am I really low right now, but my anxiety is horrendous. It used to only affect me when I was going out on a special occasion, where I had to look nice, and I would tell husband to cancel the event. Thankfully, he has always ignored me, told me that I look beautiful and we have still gone and I have managed to have a lovely time. At the moment, however, I am at a new low and I am struggling to even use my phone, let alone leave the house. I feel sick, it makes me breathless and I get all sweaty. My only saving grace is that it isn’t forever, and I will get over this low – I always do!
I am truly thankful to my husband, who is now able to recognise my lapses, and to all of my family who support me. It definitely helps to have such an amazing support network and it does make everything so much easier.
Do you suffer with your mental health? Were you diagnosed with PND? Or was your partner? I would love to hear all of your stories.