I didn’t know that I had post natal depression. I just thought I wasn’t coping. I just thought it was normal.
Never in a million years did I think that I didn’t have to live that way. I honestly thought that it would pass. And I guess after my first child, it did. But I still had a bout of PND for the first 6 weeks. After the initial 6 weeks, a light came on and I finally felt like I knew what I was doing. Maybe it was just the ‘black dog’ going on holiday. Then he came back after my second child, and has been with me ever since.
My hubby was the one to tell me to speak to my doctor. He told me several times, and when I finally broke down, I finally thought I can’t live like this anymore.
And yes I manage the deepest darkness with medication, but if it helps me to find the light through the fog, I don’t mind. I like drugs. Drugs are good for me.
But that isn’t all I do.
I listen to my favourite music. I go to the gym every week to see my personal trainer which I only started to do as a result of my PND and is a constant check in to make sure I’m doing something for me. I write (case and point right here!). I exercise as much as my ailing body will let me. I have coffee with friends, and sometimes I just stay home and do nothing. I watch comedies on tv to make me laugh. I crochet. I build websites. Yes I am a nerd, but proud of it!
But all of these things give me an outlet to be creative, to be me, and to find that little piece of myself that I feel like I lose at times.
Do you know if you are the one experiencing anxiety or depression that you may not be the one to recognise it? That usually it is a friend or family member that will notice it first.
Even though we all think we know the signs, it is really common to think that ‘I’ll get over it’, or ‘I’m just having a bad day’, or even ‘I must be getting my periods’.
Though if you have been feeling this way for more than two weeks, it is most likely that you are experiencing a form of anxiety or depression.
And that is ok.
Did you know that 1 in 2 people will experience anxiety and depression at some point in their lives? That’s 50% of the population. And although there may be a major trigger for some – separation, loss, illness – others will suffer for years on end.
Yet no one needs to live like this. There is help. There is a lot of people who really want to help.
So if you find that you have been feeling ‘off’ for a number of weeks, and someone you know and love also recognises this in you, take 5 minutes to take care of yourself by seeing your GP.
Here is an extract from the beyondblue website in regard to seeking help, and the benefits of checking in with your GP.
It can be difficult for people with depression or anxiety to take that first step in getting help. These conditions can reduce people’s motivation or confidence to take action, and some may feel embarrassed. However, effective treatments are available so while you might be hesitant, it’s worth seeking support.
If left untreated depression and anxiety can go on for months, sometimes years, and can have many negative effects on a person’s life. It’s therefore important to seek help early – the sooner a person gets treatment, the sooner they can recover. Enlisting the support of family members and friends can be helpful in getting you started towards your recovery. A range of health professionals can also assist.
General Practitioners (GPs)
GPs are the best starting point for someone seeking professional help. A good GP can:
- make a diagnosis
- check for any physical health problem or medication that may be contributing to the depression or anxiety, or may affect your treatment
- provide information and discuss available treatments, taking your preferences into account
work with you to draw up a Mental Health Treatment Plan so you can get a Medicare rebate for psychological treatment
- provide support, brief counselling or, in some cases, more specialised talking therapy
- prescribe medication
- refer you to a mental health specialist such as a psychologist or psychiatrist
- provide information and support to family members, if you agree
- schedule regular appointments to check how you are going.
Before consulting a GP about depression or anxiety, it’s important to ask the receptionist to book a longer or double appointment, so there is plenty of time to discuss the situation without feeling rushed. If you have not been able to make a longer appointment, it’s a good idea to raise the issue of depression or anxiety early in the consultation so there is plenty of time to discuss it.
It is recommended that people consult their regular GP or another GP in the same clinic, as medical information is shared within a practice. While some GPs may be more confident at dealing with depression and anxiety than others, the majority of GPs will be able to assist or at least refer you to someone who can, so they are the best place to start.