I have never shied away from the fact that Postnatal Depression and more so Anxiety was a large part of my life for a long time. It went undiagnosed, untreated and swept to the side, which did not make it better. It is one of those things that time simply doesn’t heal. I had too much going on around me, too many of everyone elses’ problems to concentrate on, I was too overwhelmed to deal with myself. That is the trick that anxiety plays on you, spiraling into a never ending – end of the world crevasse from which you can never escape on your own. My feelings I blamed entirely on my birth experience, then later the fact I couldn’t exclusively breastfeed my child. This may well have been the origin but PND and A are so much more than that. Never the less I felt that is where it all began.
I thought I was ready to share my first, less than ideal birth. One in which I should be truly grateful for a healthy son and a physically healthy me. But birth is so much more than that. I have debriefed this with myself, I have written about it secretly, I have even written a letter to the hospital to try to heal. I thought I could share with you. I went into the file that I have hidden under the title of “The April Story”. I read it. I froze. Turns out, even now, after a second birth and three years on, those feelings are just as heart wrenching for me and I can’t bring myself to edit something so rawly written.
I encourage you to write your story. Without punctuation, without a care for grammar. The simple act of penning or keying your experience can help to make sense of it. For me I also felt one of the hospital staff contributed to my “trauma” and though it took me seven months, I still wrote to the hospital to express this. I even received a response. Write the letter, even if you never send it.
This week is Postnatal Depression and Anxiety Week. With all the other challenges you are facing in your life, today I add one more. Reach out. To someone you know well, to someone you’ve only recently met, to a complete stranger – but compassionate ear on the other end of the phone. You may have tried to reach out before and it didn’t quite yield the much needed results. I can highly recommend, from experience, the phone call to beyondblue. I was sat down and forced to call them by a very stubborn and annoyingly always right husband. Today I am giving you the push. I am making you sit down and make the call. Because YOU are worth it. You CAN feel good again. You DO deserve to be happy. You MUST, today, put yourself first. We cant give from an empty cup.
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