When you’re in the grips of PND it’s really hard to ask for help. You’ve just been blessed with this ‘bundle of joy’ how can you be sad? This is exactly how I felt! My mind was my worst enemy ‘Pull yourself together jo’ ‘you’ve got nothing to be sad about jo!’
I couldn’t help but feel huge gilt. We had waited a long time for little one to come along, I had a beautiful life, a husband that loved and supported us. Why did I feel this way??? I felt I had no right to have these feelings. That created a vicious cycle of negative feelings.
This is me and my gorgeous baby at the lowest time of my life. Right in the grips of post natal depression!
I look so happy!? What did I have to stress about!? I must be fine if I was out and about!? Well it’s not that simple – the feeling of overwhelming darkness while trying hard to be bright. Getting my shit together each day was near impossible (some days impossible!) Painting on a happy face to others – because I was confused and ashamed about how low I really felt inside. Avoiding socialising because it was just ‘too much’. Then the guilt and embarrassment thinking people just didn’t ‘get it’ – the pressure of trying to keep it all contained.
I finally snapped – I wasn’t suicidal, but I knew I couldn’t go on. The thought of doing all this again the next day, feeling so miserable and alone. Enough was enough.
Shortly after this pic I seeked help from my beautiful friend who worked at Mind, it was after doing the school run one morning for my eldest – I just couldn’t go on. Gorgeous Hattie invited me into the Mum’s Support Group the following day… I was petrified going to that first meeting.
As I walked through the door lots of smiley faces greeted me. I was offered a cuppa and a biscuit – that instantly helped. Wow… wow… wow! It was incredibly uplifting. We started off with a little hello from each of us. I ended up pouring my heart out and it felt so so therapeutic. The other mums were nodding in agreement and saying ‘yes, I get it’ ‘I feel the same’ ‘you’re going to get through this’… That was the beginning for me. Such a supportive, caring group of women. We were all from different backgrounds, in different situations but we were all mums – its an international language!
That feeling will always stay with me… the light shone all day that day. There was a future, others were going through exactly the same thing!! Week on week I felt stronger. I met some really lovely people, who related to my feelings.
I’ve written this to tell others – you’re not alone! I’ve learnt that EVERYONE suffers mental health really. Just like aches and pains in our bodies it’s completely normal. If we had a head ache or sore back we wouldn’t feel ashamed to seek help. So if you’re suffering – talk! Depression can and will effect everyone. Big or small.
Going forward – I think I will always have the odd down day. Turns out everyone does – way more than we realise. The key for me was talking – I found out sooo many friends were feeling the same!
The group helped me heal – so I urge anyone struggling to self refer. The majority of groups are based in west kent. Please do check them out. If there’s a waiting list then join it – things change regularly.
How to help a friend going through PND
I can only tell you what helped me, but I think most new mums feel the same.
- Let your friend know you are there – often that can open the door for a conversation.
- Offer to listen – its great to know someone wants to, during the dark days.
- Explain that there is so much help available now.
- Share this post with them – below are some useful links.
If you have anything to share, please do leave a comment below – it could really help someone.
Hattie’s Counselling Services – Rushy Mead Counselling
NHS help page
PANDAS Support line
0843 28 98 401
IF YOU NEED URGENT HELP, PLEASE CALL 999
Royal Collage of psychiatrists
Lots of love