About Me

Kent, United Kingdom
I have the perfect family but still struggle to find the light in the darkness of post-natal depression.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008


Wow - I managed a title without an exclamation mark - but it was an effort! Maybe it's cos they are so rare at work that I need to overcompensate here.....

Anyway, I continued with the new open and honest me today and "confessed" to a friend how I had been feeling. I'm not sure why I feel like it's a confession, as if I've done something bad...but that's still how it feels, and there is still that fear that people will judge me or leap on the "mental" bandwagon. Although I'm pleased to say there was none of that today, and in fact my friend confessed to something a bit similar - see what happens if you share!

But it got me thinking about how difficult I found it to access the help I needed, despite all you read in magazines and hear about how you just have to ask for help and it will be there. There is perhaps a fine line to be drawn between terrifying people who are already anxious, and being realistic, but some of the information out there is misleading, at least in my experience.

Take this site, for instance: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Postnataldepression/Pages/Questionstoask.aspx?url=Pages/Questionstoasktab.aspx

Luckily I didn't find it when I was ill, but if I had, some of it would have caused me concern. Like the fact that "sometimes it can last for months"... It was well over a year before I even started to feel better - and I was diagnosed when Tash was six weeks old, although I knew before then.

Maybe I'm a particularly rare case (and let's face it, we all know I'm special!) but I think that is totally unrealistic. The official view I was given is that it takes several weeks for the anti-depressants most people end up taking to kick in, and that's without taking into account any waiting lists for counselling or therapy, the period of learning to deal with it, and then several weeks coming off the tablets.

I was told to expect to be on the medication for six months minimum (by one GP at least; my lovely anti-drugs GP thought a month was more realistic and was less than impressed when I asked for my dose to be increased!) and I think that is a more helpful way to look at it. When you are already feeling a failure, extra pressure of expecting a recovery quickly can surely only make things worse.

To be fair to that website, if you navigate through to the real stories section then the content is more reflective of my experiences, but there are other issues that are not mentioned. Like that some GPs think medication alone is the answer. Or that some therapy is less helpful than others - I remember my time within a group therapy setting which ranged between chatting about holiday plans to being told that seeking help outside the group showed a lack of commitment.

In case all of this is overwhelming the pink fluff with grey goo, I can happily report that eventually I found a fantastic therapist, although I had to pay privately to see her. But the £70 a session, although it means Mark has to work extra overtime shifts, is a small price to pay for our family stability and my return to being me.

I guess the point I was trying to make in all of this waffle is that it's worth continuing the fight - the help IS out there somewhere, but it's not as easy as you may be led to believe. And recovery is not always as quick as you would like or expect.

Enough waffle - it's late, the working week is at an end for me and I've done too much typing already! Back to my other life of play, giggles and fun...

No comments: