One winter’s day- literally the day I was due back to work after seeing in January 2012, I was driving (to work) when I felt my whole world cave in. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t talk, I could barely drive. I just sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. I pulled over and tried to compose myself but I couldn’t. I took a deep breath and headed home to an empty house. What was happening? Was I dying? Why couldn’t I stop making that awful noise which made me sound like I was in terrible pain.
I was in pain, but it wasn’t the physical kind. I couldn’t work out what was going on. I got home and called my Mum. She calmed me down like I knew she would and she said that we would go to the doctors. I got an emergency appointment and my Mum and I went to see a lovely female doctor.
She asked me a lot of questions. How old my children were, what my marriage was like, what I did for a living, had this ever happened before. Based on my answers, she told me I had Post Natal Depression.
I must have looked like I didn’t believe her… My youngest child was 2! How could I now have PND?? She told me it could have gone un-diagnosed or stranger things have happened and I have developed it now instead of earlier.
She told me all I needed to do was take some little white pills (anti-depressants) and a in a months’ time, it will feel like a light bulb has come back on.
I can do that.
I can wait a month.
She sent me home with some valium and some sleeping pills with a stern warning that they can be addictive.
I was terrified.
She also booked me onto group counselling sessions and advised me to go to them and I started taking the pills. I waited 6 weeks to get onto the group session and I wasn’t any better by the time they started- the light bulb hadn’t come on. I had managed to go back to my part time job but I was withdrawn, distant, making mistakes, crying at anything and everything.
My husband could barely recognise the person I had become. Not sleeping, anxious, crying, with-drawing from the children to be on my own and just lie in bed whenever I could. I remember him telling me that I am one of the most unselfish people he knows and that this was making me just think about myself and focus on what was happening to me. I couldn’t help it- I could barely understand what was going on. Every morning after not much sleep, I would wake with my body feeling like pins and needles; I would physically hurt all over. My heart would race, so would my mind. He supported me so much and picked up the slack around the house, with the children and pretty much everything else.
My mum told me to take every day as it comes. Some would be better than others. Mum, now retired, was still working then but when she was off work, I would be round her house just to be with her. When she was at work, I would drag my Dad to the park with me and my little boy just so I wasn’t on my own.
I went to the group sessions. They were ok- some of the things I learned were new to me. Like- the physical symptoms of anxiety. At the end of the course, I went to speak to one of the practitioners and broke down. She referred me for some private counselling and I had to wait six weeks again.
I remember thinking; I can’t wait another 6 weeks! I can’t feel like this for another 6 weeks! I knew then that I had to take control, I had to do something.
I started to use my Hypnobirthing techniques and I began to apply what I had learned about the mind body connection to what I was experiencing. I went to see a private counsellor and she was amazing. We did some EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) and lots of talking. I also started seeing a friend for Reiki- who gave me a course of 6 sessions. These things helped so, so much! I slowly started to feel much lighter, much freer. More in control.
I finally got my private counselling sessions- I did CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and I found myself starting to feel more like me. By the end of the year, I was much much better but I would say it took another 12 months to really feel free from it all.
It was THE worst time in my life.
BUT- it taught me so much.
It showed me that I am so FREAKIN STRONG.
It showed me that I can do ANYTHING.
It showed me that I am LOVED.
It showed me that I am NORMAL.
It showed me who I really am.
So thank you PND (and also screw you PND) – although I wish I had never met you… I am a happier, healthier, stronger, more empathetic person because of you.
My story is hard for me to tell and I haven’t shared it all but I hope that what I have shared will help someone.
If you know me, you probably can’t imagine that this happened to me. Which means it could be happening to someone you know and love right now.
If you are suffering reach out and tell someone how you feel. I can’t promise it will be an easy journey back to where you want to be but you will and can get there- trust me.