You + PND: Know the Signs

I believe I have suffered Postnatal Depression since giving birth to Ellie in 2007, a mild case which went undiagnosed as I was too proud to find out what to look out for, too proud to go to the doctor and get medicated.

Now, three babies down and on the severe side of the PND scale I wonder how different life would be had I swallowed my pride to seek help. Obviously, I will never know but there is that part of me which believes 100% that had I been addressing my mental state right from the start I would not be have been so badly affected after the birth of Jasper. Hindsight and all that.

While I can’t get back in time and smack some sense into myself, I can share my experiences and hope that it might help somebody else avoid the darkness, the guilt not to mention the hospital visit.

** Please note: I am NOT a doctor or medical professional, 
I can only share my own experiences in the hope that it might help someone
If you’re worried about yourself or someone you know please 
seek medical help**

Depression is one of those illnesses where symptoms can be subjective; you may have some of the below mentioned, many or none. The important thing is to seek assistance if you are at all worried, if you think for a moment things are not right – those uneasy feelings are there for a reason.

Some things to look out for:

* Continued and excessive crying for no reason – bursting into tears over nothing day after day can be an easily missed sign that you’re suffering PND. You’re tired, you’re emotional and it seems normal that you would react with tears; however if it goes on for an extended period and is set off by things which probably wouldn’t faze you then there might be a problem.

* Sleep disruption – I know, you’re probably yelling at me from the other side of your monitor that sleep disruption is part of being a new parent. And it is, however when you are suffering depression you might be finding it hard to fall or stay asleep even though you’re exhausted. If bubs is asleep you should be able to take a nap if that’s what you want to do.

* Anxiety – Given that you’ve just brought a precious little bundle into the world it is natural to worry, especially with your first child. However, with PND these natural worries can soon turn into overwhelming obsessions which can lead to sleep disruption (see above), stress and panic attacks.

* Lack of/increase in appetite – Our appetite is often the first thing that is influence, but life with a new bub can mean you don’t notice or don’t have time to eat anyway so it can be difficult to tell. For me, I went into my fall back position of binge eating. It should have set off alarm bells.

* Lack of motivation and interest – Finding it difficult to enjoy life, showing no interest in things which you once wanted to do, lack of sex drive and no motivation to do anything is a big sign that your mood is being affected.

* Change in character/irritability – This one might be hard to spot yourself, if your partner or family members are saying you are constantly in a bad mood then you probably are!

* FeelingsExcessive mother guilt, feelings of inadequacy, worthlessness, hopelessness, distress and rejection are all feelings which stem from the negative thought process you experience with PND. Being torn down by these things can leave you drained, emotional and at breaking point.

* Physical signs – Depression can manifest itself physically, especially when it has gone untreated. Migraine, headache, flu like symptoms can all be part of your mental state effecting your physical health. Before being medicated, I was sick with nearly every bug that went around and had constant migraines. If you are constantly ill, there might be an underlying reason.

These are just a few things to look for, as I mentioned above, depression and it’s symptoms can be as different and personal as each and every person and there are things you simply might not notice in the post-birth haze.

If you are worried but not convinced to go see a doctor, try the The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale over at BeyondBlue. I have done this upward of ten times since having Jasper in November last year and it really does give you pause.

If you are worried that you are suffering from Postnatal Depression please see your doctor/midwife as soon as possible. There is no shame in admitting you are struggling and need help and you are not alone.

Other posts on You + PND:

You + PND: Know the Signs <–
You + PND: So Now What? 
You + PND: The Shame Factor {Coming Soon}


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