How Did I Know I Had Postnatal Depression?
It’s strange really because the way I felt about and looked after my daughter didn’t change at all. But I started to feel like I was existing rather than living. Every day I’d get up and tend to my daughter, wash her, feed her and play with her, but I was staying in my dressing gown literally ALL day! I felt unmotivated and neglected my blog and my side hustles. I sold my car in December and have been car-sharing with my partner which is great; but impractical due to his busy schedule. Because of this and the crap weather we had in the Winter, I didn’t want to leave the house. And had basically been staring at the same four walls for the past few months.
I ignored all the signs and thought nothing more of it. Then one day in February I was with my partner and my mood suddenly switched over nothing. I was cussing him non stop and I didn’t know why – I just didn’t feel like myself. I did a quick google search (as you do) and this NHS website explained some of the signs I’d been experiencing which include:
- a persistent low mood
- feeling disconnected and disinterest from the world
- loss of appetite then sudden increased appetite
- constantly feeling tired
- feeling agitated, irritable and very apathetic
- feeling guilty and hopeless
Deciding To Get Help
So other than anxiety, I’ve never really suffered from mental health problems, and I don’t usually rely on Doctor Google to diagnose a problem. But when I realised that I may have postnatal depression I decided to confide in my partner. He was supportive and tried to get me out of the house at every opportunity, and encouraged me to socialise with friends so I didn’t lose my self-identity as a mom.
I’m not a person that usually talks about the way I’m feeling openly, but I didn’t want to continue feeling so low. My nan died at the end of January which also contributed to the way I was feeling. And because I internalise my emotions, I felt like a volcano waiting to erupt.
I had good days and bad days but I can honestly say I’d never felt so low.
I opened up to my mom and a few friends. And one of my friend’s said she was going through something similar. She informed me of a new NHS service where you can refer yourself for counselling online so you don’t have to go through a doctor. This appealed to me because I didn’t want to go to the doctor and potentially be prescribed anti-depressants.
How I Started To Recover From Postnatal Depression
While I was waiting to be allocated a counselling appointment I decided to be pro-active in trying to combat my postnatal depression and did some of the following things:
I forced myself to leave the house and went for lots of walks with my daughter in her pushchair. It’s amazing how invigorated fresh air and endorphins make you feel.
Focused On A Hobby
I stopped neglecting my blog and social media, and started to create content and attend bloggers events. I also reinstated my side hustle and went from having no motivation to wanting to work on my hobbies
nearly all the time!
I made a conscious effort to meet up with some of my friends, and also my partner for date nights. I also tried to have some me-time without my daughter just to maintain a sense of identity.
Started To Be Vocal About My Postnatal Depression
I found confiding in people I trusted helped me come to terms with my depression. And I even spoke openly about it on my Instagram (follow me here) which I never thought I’d do! Being vocal made me realise that I’m not alone, and other parents are also experiencing PPD which was reassuring.
After my self-referral for counselling, I had an initial phone assessment to assess my need and then waited around 6 weeks for an appointment. By the time I attended my appointment the counsellor believed that I was already in recovery because of the above self-care techniques. My counsellor gave me the option to continue with my sessions to ensure I had continued support before being signed off.
I decided to continue with the counselling sessions. My counsellor decided it would be beneficial to use Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) techniques to challenge my negative thoughts. This technique was enlightening as I began to recognise that my negative thoughts (which were exacerbating my PPD) were thoughts rather than facts.
After two counselling sessions, I decided I was armed with efficient coping strategies and I was ok to be signed off.
How Do I Feel Now?
I originally wrote this post in March when I was at the height of my postnatal depression. It’s now July and I feel great and I don’t think I have PND anymore. I (think I) can accredit that to keeping busy, socialising and having a focus. It helped to talk to a counsellor and I use the CBT technique she taught me whenever I have any silly negative thoughts.
Can you relate to this post? Have you ever experienced postnatal depression? If so leave me a comment and let me know what helped you.