About Me

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

Friday, 7 November 2008

comments on comments

The downside of being open and honest with people is that they are often open and honest back.
It's mostly welcome, and it's certainly better than pretending things are fine when they're not, or that everything is fluffy when the sharp edges are showing, but sometimes it's difficult to take.
I've had two conversations with people lately that brought this to mind.
One was with a work-type contact, who when I said I had PND asked why I didn't just "snap out of it".
It's an interesting question, and one I really struggled to answer. He said he had experienced depression, but realised other people were worse off and then found his world a brighter place.
My first reaction was to think he can't have had the same experiences of depression that I did, but who am I to question his perceptions?
It's excellent if that strategy worked for him, but it just didn't for me. And even this week, as I struggle with the realities of life at home with no work to escape to, I can see that others are worse off. But it doesn't make me feel any better. I've never found my black moods something I can just shake off, or snap out of.
Someone once suggested it's better all round, physically and emotionally, just to let them run their course, and I can see the sense in that. I'm not sure those around me would always agree though!
The other comment that's been on my mind came during a conversation with a friend, who remarked on how much more confident and happy Tasha seemed compared to the first time we met.
Of course that's a positive thing, and I personally believe there are many reasons for that, including her time spent with our wonderful childminder.
But my friend suggested at least part of it was down to my improved relationship with her, and my "recovery".
Again, that should be a positive comment, but my good old schemas couldn't help interpreting it as a negative, a criticism of my parenting so far. After all, if Tasha is confident now and that's down to me, then her clinginess and angst before was also down to me.
Of course I know most of it wasn't, and it was just her age or the stage she was going through, but it's not that easy to believe, especially after reading more and more research about the importance of love and loving interactions in those early months.
The thought that Tasha could suffer any long-term ill-effects from all this crap is my worst fear, and it's something I will remember as I continue with my struggle to "snap out of it".


me-again (again!) said...

Ooof! Goodness... I'm going to make the assumption the work-type one was self-diagnosed. As I hardly need say to you, there's a big difference between depression and feeling a bit down about things! Unfortunately quite a few people tend to use words with not their true meaning, bit like someone bouncing back to work after a couple of days off and announcing they had 'flu! Influenza is not a 2-day condition either! The other one had me going "she wha'?!?!". The bitchy side of me said 'so, the world revolves around how people interact with her then'. Said it was the bitchy side of me :-)

As to Tasha, I think she's doing just fine, honestly! Of course, you never can tell how people will end up as they grow up/older, there are so many factors that influence things. As far as I can tell you never withdrew entirely from Tasha. It's been very interesting to me to see and hear of her doing things that the toddler of two work colleagues does/did. He's a couple of months older and, yes, in terms of cling vs indendence, shy vs confident she's so often where he was a couple of months before.

There I go on at length again out of the top of me 'ead!

sarah jane said...

You can snap out of a bad mood - although I've never found telling someone 'you're grumpy today, aren't you?' improved their mood a great deal.
You can't snap out of depression, and it sounds to me like that is not what your colleague experienced. Otherwise 'snap out of it' would be the last thing he would say to you, because he would know that is impossible to do. I've been through some pretty dark periods in my life, though I've not had PND (obviously), and when my OCD was at its uncontrollable worst I felt life was dull and grey all the time. I knew I had stuff to look forward to, but I couldn't feel it. And that's the difference between depression and feeling down. It doesn't matter what you tell yourself, your mind refuses to play ball, because it is ill. Does this guy think that when he eats a few dodgy oysters, the vomiting will just stop when he tells his stomach 'Oy, that's enough now?'

Kate said...

agree wholeheartedly with comments above! in defence of people who make comments, i think the temptation to say something that sounds likes it positive/optimistic/helpful is huge, and not always tempered by the realisation that said comment is actually negative/critical/unhelpful.

it was lovely to see you and Tash.

Alex and Tara said...

Us "people who make comments" do not need any "defence" from people who weren't present. Also, we don't make comments, we converse, observe, and possibly speculate, but certainly don't assess each though before we utter it, in case it might cause offence against some scheme that we're not aware of. Our comments are not "actually negative/critical/unhelpful" even if anyone chooses to interpret them that way. That would be so because we treat you as a regular person who has regular issues with motherhood not at all unlike our own not POST-PND ones, and not as a special case who must be handled with velvet gloves.
Also we would most certainly be happier to continue musing about the ramifications of such engaging thoughts and utterances together than finding a blog entry on them, together with sweet comments from other folk who seem to like wearing velvet.

Liz said...

Goodness me! No comments for weeks then you all join in at once!
As always, all contributions welcome.
I think the parallels between telling your stomach to stop vomiting and telling your mind to snap out of it are good ones, and I appreciate the support.
As for whether I need handling with velvet gloves, well, maybe that's another post. I think everyone who reads this blog is probably aware of my schemas and my struggles to stop them skewing all the information I receive but that's my issue, not anyone else's.
For me, the beauty of this blog is that it means I can ruminate on things I have been pondering without having to pay for expensive, albeit fantastic, therapy. It would be mightly dull for all concerned if every time I felt insecure about a remark, or more accurately, my perception of it, I questioned the remarker at length about it. We'd have no time for anything else!
No offence was meant in either case though, and as I said, comments are welcome.

Kate said...

eeekk gosh sorry if my comment read in a nasty way alex and tara and liz, was not meant like that at all.

I was more trying to defend myself!

I was trying to get across that sometimes its possible to have been making casual conversation with friends/family, but that later the conversation might be reflected on and thought of as negative. A bit like the comment I left!! It seemed to me that the blog entry and comments were examples of just that, people making conversation and sharing experiences with no intent to judge or criticise or anything, but which if taken out of context or ruminated on might seem just those things. So I was trying to say that Im sure people and convesations were not meant in such a way. Although, as Alex points out, if you weren't there you cant really know!

Also, was trying to reflect on life in general, not particularly with/without PND. My bad, no offence meant, hope thats clearer.

Interesting point about handling with velvet gloves...thoughts on this Liz? Have people treated you differently?