About Me

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

Thursday, 30 October 2008

back to basics

Breathe a sigh of relief, dear readers - no job rants today!
Instead, I thought I would return to the point of this blog and share some more thoughts/experiences/waffle about PND, or my life in mad-world.
This was mostly prompted by an article in The Sun, of all places, yesterday - maybe some of you saw it? Lisa Tanner, who helps to run www.mothersvoice.org.uk, shared her experiences about PND in the wake of a welcome verdict that a woman who threw her baby from a hospital window should not stand trial for attempted murder.
I say welcome, because that's what I think - some of you may disagree.
But I would guess - and I'm willing to be corrected - that those of you who disagree and think she should be locked up for a long time (he survived and is now a healthy 18 month old, btw) have never experienced such severe post-natal illness.
Lisa bravely confessed she wanted to drive a car with her and her baby daughter into a brick wall. I have felt similar urges. I've wanted to drop Miss T from a great height, I've wanted to hurl her across the room. Not recently, thankfully, but back in the dark days when she was about the same age as the baby who was thrown out of the window - and older.
Does that make me an attempted murderer? Okay, I never acted on those urges, but that's because throughout it all I was able to recognise with some small part of my mind that this was all part of the illness and I did believe that I would soon get some help.
I don't know the woman in the court case. I can only remember vague details about it. But I do remember feeling so, so angry when I heard about it at the time. Not because of what she did, but because she was allowed to get to that point.
There are so many treatment options available, which I've ranted about before, that there really is no need for anyone to feel like that. She was in a hospital at the time so I would guess people were aware of her illness. But clearly no one was helping.
Things seem to have changed since then, according to anecdotal evidence I've been given. Friends of mine who have braved having a second child report that they are now given the Edinburgh test for PND twice, when their babies are tiny and at about five months.
And one who was given a PND diagnosis says she was "practically stalked" by her health visitor after that, and still is now even though she is off medication and doing great.
To her, that's a pain - she finds it intrusive to be asked how she is doing every time she visits the clinic with her baby, or to have phone calls from her health visitor just to check how she is.
But it's something I would have loved at the time I was going through it all.
Miss T is calling so here the rant must end (do I hear another sigh of relief?) but I couldn't go without just quickly mentioning the ever-so-helpful (aka patronising) 'fact box' that went with the feature. By The Sun's GP, Dr Carol Cooper, it is headlined "Lowdown on the blues" and proclaims that the cause is unknown and it is amazingly common. That's all fine.
But then she lists some of the factors known to increase the risks - none of which I had. I know I'm special, clearly, but I find that sort of stuff really unhelpful.
And her last comment really annoyed me - "The main hurdle is recognising the symptoms and seeking help...."
I'm sure we all know by now that wasn't my experience - my main hurdle was accessing appropriate help that actually made a different instead of being given a prescription and fobbed off.
I really hope she's right and things have changed though.
That's it, I promise!

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