Post natal distress, not a phrase I'd ever thought would come out of my mouth. I'm not ashamed to admit that I was one of those people that thought that people who had PND were a bit, well, over dramatic. Well didn't the rooster just come home to roost!!PND is real, and the feelings you have are real, and the devastation it imposes on your life is about as real as it gets.
My PND journey has been full of ups and downs, at times I have felt fantastic, and then others like the scum of the earth. Unfortunately, it is not a case of one size fits all, and so becoming medicated is like taking a lucky dip. In my case the lucky dip was full of stinging nettle for a very long time.
I first started showing signs of distress in my third trimester - intense rage, mainly directed at my mother in law. It got so bad, that if anyone even mentioned her name, I was in a rage - to the point I felt like red hot pokers where coming out of my eyeballs. Symptoms number 2 and 3 was cunningly disguised by my traumatic birth and separation anxiety from my wee boy as he had to stay in hospital long after I was discharged. It's normal to cry after a baby right? And to feel detatched in my situation right? Well, for a while yes. But when you are sobbing so hard it feels like your soul is being unwillingly taken from your body, really, you do need to think this in not ok. But being a first time mum, I just but it down to baby blues, that got really bad.
The breaking point was when I said to my husband that I was leaving, I didn't know where I would go, but I was leaving. I just could not cope with one more thing going wrong. So he went and stayed at a friends house that night, who just happened to have PND. For him, it was like a light bulb moment - almost everything she described was what I was doing / going through. So, after the weekend it was straight off to the doctor where I did the Edinburgh test, scoring an almost full score. The doctor said to me you are not well and prescribed me some citalopram.
That was fine for a while, but my body has a history of getting used to a medication to the point where it doesn't work anymore. History repeats itself and I began the process of weaning off citalopram so I could start on fluoxitine. Within 2 days of being on fluoxitine - the wheels completely came off. I was having black thoughts and wanting to walk into the river with my baby. Thankfully I have a good support network, and they worked out pretty quickly what was going on. So I was referred to the crisis team and the mental health team.
I have been amazed at how supportive everyone has been. I am now on venlafaxine and seraquol, with loraz for my anxiety (which is still very high at times). My up days are brilliant, I achieve so much and I feel almost normal again, my down days I can barely get off the couch. Thankfully, my up days are starting to outweigh the down days. I continue to take one day at a time, and be grateful for the small blessings, like my beautiful, wonderful little boy, and a loving husband who still stands by me no matter what.
My view of PND has done a 360. It is not something you can control, you are not weak if you have it, you are not condemned to all eternity if you have it, and most importantly, it is not forever. If you are reading this, and it triggers any 'wow, that sounds like me' thoughts, please do me one little favour. Go and see your doctor today, not tomorrow or the next day, go today - the longer you have it, the worse it gets, not better. And know that you are not alone, ever.