LIFE, BEAUTY, STYLE + BABY

POST NATAL DEPRESSION AND ME | PND

Wednesday, August 30, 2017
POST NATAL DEPRESSION AND ME | PND | Love, Maisie | www.lovemaisie.com
I’m not exaggerating when I say that this post has taken me absolutely weeks to write. It was about three months ago that I decided that I wanted to share my story and my personal struggles with post natal depression. The main reason it has taken me so long to actually finish this post is because I’ve struggled to find just the right words to explain everything that’s been going on inside my head.

I suppose another thing that kept me from sharing this any earlier is for the fear of judgement. In my four years of blogging I have been very lucky to not encounter any trolls, but I know that the topic of depression can be a sensitive one and can often attract people that might feel inclined to leave negative or hurtful comments on this post. But after much deliberation, here I am, sharing the toughest post I have ever chosen to share.

I recently published a post entitled "Pregnancy is tough" where I touched upon negative feelings throughout pregnancy. I was so scared to share those thoughts with the world but it has been received so, so well and so many people have tweeted and messaged me since to thank me for sharing it. I am humbled by this and if you were one of these lovely, kind people, then thank you again, so much.

I’m not overly obsessed with horoscopes but I’m an Aries and I think that I am what one would call a true Aries. Fiery and stubborn. Both of those traits I am not particularly proud of and they’re not the best mix for depression. For the past six months I have been extremely stubborn and I am slowly but surely coming to terms with the fact that I can’t make myself better on my own.

I wanted to share my story with you about me and my PND so far, in hopes that it will contribute to my own recovery and to help any other mums out there that are struggling to pluck up the courage to ask for help, on whatever level that may be. A little mantra that I have recently been telling myself is “I am not depressed, I have depression” Depression is not who I am, but instead it is something that I am dealing with.

I convinced myself that I did not have PND but that my “regular” depression had just been enhanced by the fact that I was a new mum, which in some ways, was true, but the reality was that I was suffering with PND and I needed help.

Over the first few weeks of Tyler’s life, I was very tired, but I mean extremely tired. I’m sure the same goes for most new parents but it got to the point where I couldn’t and didn’t want to get up to see to Tyler in the night, or in the morning for that matter. So Jack did a lot of the night shifts and I will forever be grateful to him for that. Having a really good support system around you is the number one best thing for anyone who is struggling with their mental health. I know that I am extremely lucky to have such a supportive and caring partner who will do anything in his power to help me to be the best mum and partner that I can be and I am also very lucky to have my mum who is the best mum going(this is not open for debate, she is the best) who has also been there for me every step of the way doing all that she can for all of us.
POST NATAL DEPRESSION AND ME | PND | www.lovemaisie.com | Love, Maisie
With regards to the science behind depression, you can find a lot of information about it online here on the NHS website, about what it’s common causes are and common symptoms, but I’d like to tell you about my personal symptoms, feelings, diagnosis, treatment and where I’m up to right now.

As I just mentioned, following Tyler’s birth I was extremely tired all of the time, no matter how much sleep I managed to get. I was also incredibly irritable, ratty and argumentative. I would cry often for no reason and other times with reason but I simply didn’t have the guts to tell anyone why because I didn’t understand why I was feeling the way that I was feeling.

I thought I was a bad mum, a terrible one in fact. For the first two or three days of Tyler’s life I was besotted. Traumatised by the way he was brought into the world(You can read my birth story here) but still, absolutely besotted. I felt like I was on a high that would last forever but, sadly this isn’t a fairytale and it didn’t last that long.. at all. When Tyler was around four or five days old, the "baby blues" set in.

Whenever anyone asked about the birth, how I was feeling, my recovery or anything to do with me or Tyler, I would burst into tears and not be able to talk about it. I even sobbed on Jack’s shoulder one night for no reason (I really didn’t know why I was so upset) which led me to smoking a rollie, which I hadn’t done in nine months!(I gave up smoking when I was pregnant but now that Tyler was born, I just really wanted a smoke and thought it would make me feel calmer).

I cried a lot and I talked a lot. I spoke of how I felt a bit lost and uneasy all the time and I knew that this was those dreaded baby blues that the internet and the midwives had warned me of, which apparently usually happen when your milk comes in, although my milk didn’t ever really come in but anyway, I digress.

A few weeks passed and health visitors came and went. Tyler was thriving and I was always asked how I was. Most of the time I would say that I was fine and sometimes I would mention that I felt a little down but that was all.

The next thing I am about to talk about is quite blurry so I am going to try and recall this as honestly and clearly as I can(I will get Jack to read through all of this with me to help make sure everything that I recall is accurate). One morning, Jack was getting ready for work and I was caring for Tyler. He was unsettled, he suffered quite badly with colic for a little while and looking back, he was probably crying because of this. I started to cry and quickly became frustrated that a) my baby was crying and b) I couldn’t stop him. I began to try and talk to Jack about what was happening but I just became more and more angry. I started threatening to leave both Jack and Tyler and then threatening to take Tyler with me. I said that I didn’t love Tyler and that I could never love him. Even though I didn't really understand how I was feeling, I kept throwing all these things out at Jack because it was what was going on in my head. I blamed having a baby for all of my problems and negative thoughts and wished it had never happened.

At some point, Jack needed to leave for work, although he said he wasn’t going to leave, to which I told him not to be stupid and to “just go” but then got annoyed that he had left.. I know, I sound ridiculous but I was just angry, upset and confused at myself and taking it out on the person closest to me. By this point, Tyler had stopped crying. He was in his bouncy chair just staring at me as if nothing was going on, I’m pretty sure he even cracked a smile at one point too. I looked at him and I felt nothing but emptiness and fear. How can a mother not love her own child? A child that she created and carried for nine whole months. How could I be this person?

One thing lead to another and for some unknown reason I decided to throw everything off of our coffee table. I am not a violent person and I never have been so this was particularly out of character for myself. I was angry at myself which in turn, made me angry with the world. Jack had come back home by this point(he never actually left, he just sat in our car outside) and I began to sob and sob and sob. Jack picked up Tyler who was still just loving life in his bouncy chair and held him like I’d never seen him hold him before and with his back to me, he too began to sob.

That was probably one of the toughest days of my life. I had failed. I had failed Jack, I had failed myself and most of all I had failed my baby. I’m pretty sure I called my mum and she came over that day and I just let it all out to her. Around this day was when I called my GP practice to book an appointment to see what my options were for help. I didn’t know what I wanted from the appointment or even what options were available to me, so when I was diagnosed with post natal depression and offered CBT(Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and anti-depressants, I took both. Why? Because I was scared. Scared of myself and scared of the way that I was feeling, although I wouldn’t have admitted that at the time.

I started on a 50mg dose of sertraline daily which honestly, did not help me initially. I felt no different for the first four weeks of taking anti-depressants so I was then upped to 100mg a day and now I am on a 150mg daily dose. Anti-depressants can take a while to build up in your system but in all honesty I think it has taken a good four months to really start to feel the effects, for me personally anyway. Everyone is different so everyone will take to different drugs differently and maybe my body did just need that slightly stronger dose to really feel the positive effects. 
POST NATAL DEPRESSION AND ME | PND | Post partum depression | Love, Maisie | www.lovemaisie.com
As for CBT, it just wasn’t for me. I tried one on one CBT over the phone (as this was the service that was offered to me) and I just personally did not find it helpful at all, if anything, it made me feel worse. I did speak to someone within the organisation that were in charge of my therapy about maybe speaking to another therapist as maybe me and my therapist didn’t click but I actually decided against that the more that I read about CBT. I know that a lot of people swear by it and it has saved their lives, but for me, the CBT was not a hit but I really wish it was. Maybe sometime in the future I will try alternative therapies but for now, I’m happy not having therapy.

Over the first two months of taking sertraline, my mood would fluctuate, which I was told was not uncommon, and I even became suicidal. Well, I say “became” but the truth is that I had already been this way prior to taking any medication. I just didn’t feel that I was positively contributing to anyone’s life, so why be here? I never acted on any of my suicidal thoughts but they were still there. They still scared me and they were still very real.

Now, I haven’t ever told anyone this, not even Jack, so he’ll read this whilst proofing this post with me. I hate to sound like a cliché, but when the news broke that Chester Bennington (the lead singer of one of my all time favourite bands, Linkin Park) had taken his own life, it shook me to the core. It really did break my heart. I was suddenly overwhelmed with a deep feeling of mourning for the loss of one of my favourite artists, not only for myself but for his wife, for his children and his whole family. I know it is selfish of me to say that I mourned the loss of someone I had never met, someone who was in the public eye but was just as human as I am. I feel truly awful saying this next sentence but Chester Bennington taking his own life made me realise that I shouldn’t take mine. I’m not sure if that makes sense and I don’t want it to come across badly, but what I mean is that the thought of his family grieving for him made me think of how my family would grieve for me. I had never really thought about anyone else when I was thinking that I would be better off not being in this world anymore. But the truth of the matter is that I would be missed and that my son would grow up not knowing his mother and that I did have a purpose in this life.

I wholeheartedly understand that one can reach a point in their life where despite their surroundings, things do not feel worth living anymore, hand on heart I do, but I am so grateful and thankful to be here writing this post and telling you that I didn’t give in to those thoughts. It has been a long while since I have contemplated taking my own life and I am hoping that I never do ever again.

I love my son. I love my son more than anything or anyone in this entire world. Now that the fog is clearing and I can finally see a little clearer, I am starting to really grow the bond between Tyler and I and it is the most beautiful thing in the world. I never want anyone to feel like they can’t get through post natal depression because you can. Sure, I’m not 100% better and I may never be, but I am trying to be. Maybe one day I will be able to get through my days without my medication, maybe I will be taking medication for the rest of my life? But if it helps me to get through life and make amazing memories with Tyler and all those that I love then I’ll keep taking them.

So where am I now? I'm actually going to see my GP today for a review appointment, but do you know what? I do feel a huge deal better and I am so bloody happy to be able to say that. I don't feel 100% amazing by any means but I am finally embracing and enjoying motherhood and all that comes with it. It's been a tough year so far, but I'm hoping that the next few months will be filled with plenty of smiles, laughter and happiness.

One day, Tyler will be old enough to read my blog. Maybe I will private this blog post so that he never has to read it or maybe I will read through it with him and explain everything in further detail to him and answer any questions that he may have, but above all I will tell him that I love him. Because even in my darkest moments and even when I convinced myself that I didn’t love him, I did. I knew deep down that I did and I always will.

I've compiled a list of useful links that may be helpful to you if you would like to do some further reading into post natal depression or if you are looking for how and where you can get help for yourself of someone that you love. If you would like to have a chat with me or have any questions regarding this post then please do not hesitate to get in touch with me either via my social media links or my email address which is maisieejo@hotmail.com

The NHS post natal depression overview
The NHS on antidepressants
CBT - NHS Choices
Find your closest NHS GP surgery
Find psychological therapies
The online CBT register
Directory of Chartered Psychologists
The Samaritans website and telephone number (UK + ROI) 116 123
PND on the Mind website
PND on the Tommy's website
PND on the NCT website
Pandas Foundation (for Pre and Post Natal Depression)
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13 comments on "POST NATAL DEPRESSION AND ME | PND"
  1. Oh Maisie, I'm in tears reading this post. It breaks my heart, both for yourself and for me. It's so brave admitting to the world that you cannot feel the 'love' or 'connection' between you and your child. Honestly I fear, and truly believe that I may be like this myself once I have given birth. I feel too ashamed to admit it publicly really, I thought about writing a post about how i'm honestly feeling mentally but I fear people will think I'm a bad mother, even though I am not one yet. Or that when my baby does arrive that people will think I am incapable of caring for him. I've always suffered with anxiety and depression, the older I became the more it came about anxiety and the less it became about depression, but since getting pregnant the depression scale has started creeping back into my life.
    I often cry to Brad, about how I just 'know' that I won't love this baby, because honestly I don't love it yet, I know he's still inside of me, but when I think about him I admit that I just think 'meh, whatever', and when I can feel him kicking and wriggling I honestly sometimes just want him to stop and to leave me alone. It breaks my own heart that I feel this way, but its the truth and I can't help but think these things.
    Sometimes I feel stupid for it. But I remember, that surely I cannot be alone in this, not everyone 'loves' their baby before they're born, and even for a long time afterwards, I try to realise that its just all the hormones and emotions mixed together but sometimes your own thoughts over-power the knowing that you're not alone.
    Honestly i'm always here for a chat, whenever about anything. Even though I haven't had my baby yet I think I still really understand where you're coming from.
    Much love, Caitylis x x
    www.caitylis.co.uk

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  2. Oh my goodness, I am so sorry you have had such a difficult time. I think this is such a brave post and you should be so proud of yourself for writing it. Post Natal Depression comes in so many different forms and the best way to break the stigma of it, is to talk about it. I struggled with Post Natal Depression and then after a miscarriage I suffered with anxiety. I found a wonderful person centred counsellor, it's a really relaxed version of therapy and one I would really recommend trying. Wishing you love, luck and healing x

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  3. What an amazing post, you are so brave for sharing it all! motherhood is hard enough without all the added stresses on top of it, I think the only thing I can say is you aren't alone, and there are many people who are there for you when needed

    much love to you x

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  4. I think it is incredibly brave that you are sharing your story about PND, and I am sure that it will help so many new mums who are struggling. Talking about it openly is such a huge step, and while I haven't had children, my mum and friends of mine have suffered with PND so I completely respect your honesty and how amazing you are for opening up. You're undoubtedly a fantastic mother and I'm so glad you have a wonderful support system around you xxx

    Jessie | allthingsbeautiful-x

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  5. You are so brave for sharing this. I hope it helps other mums that are feeling this way. Thank you for sharing your story xx

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  6. Sending you so, so much love xx

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  7. I didn't feel the 'overwhelming love' you get when you first see your child. I was just overwhelmed. Period. My first thought was "WHAT THE HELL HAVE I DONE?" The love came later. Like a day later, but still. You are so, so brave for sharing this. It needs to be spoken about more than it is. Sending you and your little family lots and lots of love and hugs xx

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  8. Oh Maisie, I don't even have the words - I was so sad reading this post to think you how difficult it must have been. It took a good few months for me to feel a proper sense of love and connection to Harrison, I didn't have PND, but I was extremely down, I refused to leave the house and didn't want to talk to anyone. I felt completely out of control and like nothing was going how it was supposed to, so I can only imagine how you felt. Always here if you need someone to chat to though, such a brave post xxx

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  9. Oh Maisie, you're so incredibly brave to write this. Well done you, and well done for coming out the other end. I've suffered years of anxiety so I know how things go, you're a fighter - and your son will know that, and respect you for it. Don't ever feel guilty! Xx

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  10. Oh sweetheart if I was there I'd come to your door & just hug you. Nothing else, just a hug. 💜

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  11. Maisie I applaud you for opening up and speaking from the heart and being completely honest about your experience. Depression is a shitty illness and I’m glad that you got the help that you need and I really do hope that one day you can medication free. X

    nicolajogston.com

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  12. Thank you for sharing your story. It's so, so difficult sometimes to share something so personal - I recently blogged my PND journey and I had put it off for nearly a year, for many reasons, including the fear you mentioned. You are not alone mama, and if you ever need to talk, please know I am here! xo

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  13. Oh, Maisie, this post broke my heart and resonated so much with me. It must have taken so much for you to write this let alone post it. I hope you know that you're not alone in your feelings. I remember one day when Lucas wouldn't stop crying (he also had colic and cried whenever I put him down) and I told him I hated him. I remember admitting that to Ally and the look on his face was like nothing I'd seen before. I also didn't find CBT to be of much use for me but I'm glad you've found a way of getting through it right now. Lots of love and support to you and your little family x

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Hello there! Thank you ever so much for popping by! I read each and every comment and honestly appreciate them so much! I will always reply to all of them so if you've asked me something, be sure to check back to see if I've written back to you. Alternatively, you can email me at maisieejo@hotmail.com or if you've got a quick message you can tweet me, @lovemaisieblog Enjoy your day!