Following mental health day earlier in the month, I thought I would write another blog about my own mental health.
I found out that I had postnatal depression when my son was two years old. I never thought I would have postnatal depression as Tom is my world and he was the only person that could make me feel happy.
One in 10 women (and a lot of men) suffer from postnatal depression and in many cases parents with postnatal depression find it hard to bond with their babies.
Listed below are the main symptoms of postnatal depression. Some people with postnatal depression may experience all of the symptoms listed while others may only experience a few:
- Never feeling happy, regardless of the situation and finding it difficult to experience joy
- Increased sleepiness or difficulty sleeping and a lack of energy
- Loss of appetite or overeating
- Lack of motivation to do things, including everyday tasks e.g. housework and looking after the children
- Feeling suicidal or self-harming
- Thoughts of wanting to hurt your baby
- Irritability and losing your patience easily
- Not bonding with your baby
- Being unable to concentrate
- Feelings of anxiety and excessive worrying.
Postnatal depression is not something to be ashamed of and it doesn’t make you a bad parent or mean that you don’t love your child. Postnatal depression can be caused by a hormone imbalance and social, emotional and psychological factors also contribute to the cause in many cases.
If you are diagnosed with postnatal depression, your health visitor will offer you some support options such as one or a combination of the following:
- Talking therapy or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). This involves talking to a counsellor about your problems and changing the way you think and how you behave. For example using a positive way of thinking to combat problems.
- Alternative therapy such a meditation to help you relax and to reduce stress.
- Anti-depressants can be prescribed for those with moderate or severe postnatal depression. These are taken for a short or long period of time to help balance mood altering chemicals in the brain.
Get further help
Postnatal depression: If you think that you may be suffering from postnatal depression it is important to speak to your doctor or health visitor. A useful resource for advice is the mental health charity Mind. Information can be found on the Mind website or you can call them on 0300 123 3393 (Mon-Fri, 9am-6pm)
Suicidal thoughts: If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts it is important to seek advice immediately from a member of your family, a friend or someone you trust. You can also call the Samaritans 24 hours a day on 116 123 or email at email@example.com. If you are in immediate danger or know someone who is, call 999.