POSTNATAL DEPRESSION AFFECTS 1 IN 15 WOMEN
I have yet to meet one person in this lifetime who has not experienced a period of low mood, sadness and or sleeplessness etc at one point in their life. What more seems to be the truth is that, we find it hard to talk about these periods of low moods, sadness and sleeplessness? Unfortunately these low moods, not wanting to get out of bed, uncontrollable moments of crying, being easily irritated, can seep into something a lot deeper, with even greater implications and where a low mood can essentially go away with little effort, prolonged periods can have a lasting effect without intervention, recognition and purposeful attention.
WHY DO WE KEEP QUIET???
Some of the possible reasons are due to guilt, culture, misunderstanding and stigma attached to mental health, fear and many other reasons come to mind. However the fact remains the same, as much as 15% of woman suffer from postnatal depression. So 1 out of 15 of the women you know in your life is likely to suffer from post natal depression. It is therefore more common than we dare to think. Stigma and misunderstanding have no place in health care, neither does guilt, cultural norms and or any other issue. Bold statement, I know, but as a psychotherapist I am constantly battling with why something that is sooo human, seems so alien
We are just people and like plants, our existence depends on many environmental factors and even more so, physical and emotional responses external and internal are also undeniable factors in our mental health. We are people living in an imperfect world, wanting to live a perfect life, that analogy in its self seems quite intense.
LETS BREAK THIS DOWN
Postnatal Depression and depression in its self is quite similar and hence one of the reasons that women do not realise that they are suffering from PND. The symptoms mental and physical can be quite similar. However, what I would say is that guilt could be possibly greater and the risk of harm to your baby may be heightened for expectant mothers and or mothers.
Feelings of hopelessness, and lack of self worth
Lack of concentration and motivation
Lack of interest in anything including your new baby
General sadness, crying a lot or being unable to stop crying without always knowing why
Feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope
Feeling anxious or on edge, maybe even having panic attacks
Inability to sleep or sleeping all the time but still being exhausted
Generally feeling ill/unwell, no energy and no appetite
Feeling guilty, feeling like you aren’t a good enough mum
As a mother myself I have fallen in the trap of covering up my feelings of sadness, self-worth, low moods, guilt etc. and presented to the world, that I was a super mum, that I’ve got it all under control and that I can do it all.
The truth is, I didn’t, but I made a damn good go at trying.
Mental health is a purposeful constant life process, that at one point I found difficult but now with new found belief, trust and confidence has now become a natural part of my self-development and journey. Sometimes I still have to remind myself I am worthy, and not to feel guilty and that its ok to feel sad and low sometimes, but to not stay in this place for long and remember what to do, that helps balance a healthy mind and allows me to live in my truth and the here and now. Along the way I learned some useful tools that helped me relieve the pressure I had placed on myself and would like to share these self-help tips with you.
talk to your partner, friends and family – try to help them understand how you're feeling and what they can do to support you
don't try to be a "supermum" – accept help from others when it's offered and ask your loved ones if they can help look after the baby and do tasks such as housework, cooking and shopping.
make time for yourself – try to do activities that you find relaxing and enjoyable, such as going for a walk, listening to music, reading a book or having a warm bath
rest when you can – although it can be difficult when you’re looking after a baby, try to sleep whenever you get the chance, follow good sleeping habits and ask your partner to help with the night-time work
exercise regularly – this has been shown to help boost mood in people with mild depression (read more about exercise for depression)
eat regular, healthy meals and don't go for long periods without eating
don't drink alcohol or take drugs , as this can make you feel worse
Further help can be found:
Please visit your health visitor, GP and other support services in your area. They may be able to put you in touch with a social worker, counsellor or local support group. It can be reassuring to meet other women who are going through something similar.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy based on the idea that unhelpful and unrealistic thinking leads to negative behaviour. CBT aims to break this cycle and find new ways of thinking that can help you behave in a more positive way.
Interpersonal therapy this involves talking to a therapist about the problems you're experiencing. It aims to identify problems in your relationships with family, friends or partners and how they might relate to your feelings of depression. Treatment also usually lasts three to four months.
Other Talking Therapies
Antidepressants: may be recommended if you have moderate or severe depression and you don't want to try psychological treatment or psychological treatment doesn't help.
They may also be used if you have mild postnatal depression and a previous history of depression.
Antidepressants work by balancing mood-altering chemicals in your brain. They can help ease symptoms such as low mood, irritability, lack of concentration and sleeplessness, allowing you to function normally and helping you cope better with your new baby.
Further help is available, but the most important action you can take is not to be silent 1 in 5 women suffer with depression at least one stage in their life. So you are not alone. Help is within reach
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