So where to start. Well I have always struggled with anxiety at 6/7 I thought I was having a heart attack before my first piano exam. My main fight with mental illness started at 17 after my papa (my best friend) died I was diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder and was also fighting anorexia, but after I fell pregnant at 20 my own mind became my worst enemy.
Confronting what was going on was worse than labour
Now we have all seen the movies, how being pregnant is so amazing and just perfect apart from some crazy moments, randomly crying and a little bit of morning sickness…seems a fairly easy thing in life! Right? Well for some mums (and dads!) it’s not quite as easy.
I went from being bubbly, outgoing albeit anxious girl to a girl who would snap at a moments notice, didn’t want to go out and was paranoid. At around 6 months pregnant my partner and parents had convinced me to go to the doctors, having to sit and try to confront what was going on was probably worse than labour for me, and I was diagnosed with pre-natal depression.
Everyone has herd of post natal depression, but whats this?
I mean most people have heard of post-natal depression right? But I didn’t realise that sometimes those feelings appear before the sleepless nights while trying to calm a crying baby. I was referred to my local perinatal team and started having regular meetings with one of the nurses, and much to my disappointment I was pescribed antidepressants as well. I kept going to these meetings until my son was around 6 months old when I was discharged, but I was still on antidepressants and slowly having my dosage increased as although I was getting there I still needed the extra help the tablets provide.
Even though my family, friends and professionals told me it was perfectly normal to feel how I was feeling, that many parents go through the same thing and it was nothing to be ashamed about. I felt downright crap that I wasn’t “normal”. Being quite a stubborn person, having to admit I was struggling was really difficult, to me it was like admitting I was unfit to be a mother and they would take my child away from me but even I knew there was something wrong when I could look out a window and think “you could just jump and it would all be over”. Even I knew I needed some extra help.
I have managed to find part of ‘me’ again
Fast forward 4 years. I’m not all “me” again yet, I am on the highest dosage of my antidepressants and I still struggle daily…but bit by bit I have managed to find parts of “me” again and I am starting to see the bubbly and outgoing girl coming back.
My advice would be…
If I could give just one piece of advice to any mums or dad’s who are experiencing these thoughts or feelings it would be… you are NOT alone! Do NOT be ashamed to ask for help when you are struggling and do NOT feel like you are an unfit parent! So many parents go through various mental health illness either pre-natally or post-natally and there is nothing “not normal” about you. You’ve got this babe!