One thing that i’ve been advised time & time again in regard to starting Highland Mama’s is to make sure i go easy on myself. Watch out for triggers & be prepared to face them. Don’t overextend myself with the workload i put in, balancing my time. And, try not to become too emotionally involved in what’s going on around me with other’s & their PND journey.
The latter is already proving tough. In fact it has been from the get-go, when i was adamant i’d start a PND support group & was patient waiting until i was in a better place & my health was in check.
Now i see things, i read things, about women either well into different stages of PND or at the start: them confessing aloud that something just isn’t right within themselves. And it breaks my heart each bloody time. It’s like you can see how lost they’re feeling even through words alone. Like they’re spiralling & they’re scared. Would my reaction have been the same two years ago? Most definitely not. But now, after all the bollocks the past year & a bit has thrown at me & i understand? Yeah, just yeah. Because i’ve got the t-shirt in all kinds of fucking colours.
What’s worse is seeing the same thing written over & over again.
“They’ll think i’m a bad parent.”
“Social services will take my child(ren) away.”
“I’m so alone.”
“My child(ren) & husband will be better off with me out of the picture.”
I’ve thought each one of those & even though i was being reassured that they’re all bollocks -i was still terrified. But now that my fog’s cleared i know these things:
- IT IS AN ILLNESS. – Bottom line. It’s an illness.
- Seeking help doesn’t mean you’ll be challenged on the care of your child (ren). You’ve sought out help. You care about the future & wellbeing of yourself and your child(ren). If you’ve had an intervention & the folk around you are waving red flags like a bunch of matador’s, it’s because they can see a problem that you can’t. And they’re trying to help.
Granted, if someone thinks you’re a major & immediate risk to the health of yourself &/or your children & can’t think for yourself, you’re alone with your child(ren) etc -something must be done as soon as possible i.e an MBU, but let’s face it, that’s for the greater good really & you’d appreciate that either at that time or eventually! But it doesn’t warrant the inclusion of social services simply because you walk into your GP’s office & they diagnose you with a Postnatal illness: Depression, Antenatal Depression, Anxiety, PTSD/ Birth trauma etc. They won’t scream for the Police or S.S. They’ll (hopefully!) give you information & advice. They’ll (again, hopefully) talk about the right treatment for YOU & discuss a plan of action which involves you being with your child(ren) & family. Because although symptoms & experiences can be similar to other people’s, you’re still going through your own personal journey. What works for some may not work for you, including medication. PN Psychosis on the other hand is trickier and so, okay, the above about immediate help will apply and be a psychiatric emergency. A woman in the throes of PN Psychosis most likely won’t realise just how ill she is.
- You are not alone. Even when you feel so badly that you are and i know it’s likely, it’s such a lonely, isolating illness. Or, that the people around you don’t care. There are those that do, i promise you that.
- No one can replace you as your child’s mother. They won’t be better with someone else in the picture & you gone. And like the first point: Bottom line.
- Will this PND ever fuck off? I’ve asked that sooooooooo many times after a bad week/ day. To myself, to my hubby, to my CPN etc etc. Yes, it does.
There are so many points, so many. I could rant like a loon (excuse the stigmatised pun) forever, but it’s just because even though i have some stuff to work on & i’m still on meds, i have come out of the other end & it’s like taa-daa! That advice you got? that reassurance you heard? yeah Vix, they were talking sense!
But here’s the sad truth… When the bubble days have you in their shitty grip, you can’t accept & believe this advice! There’s not much you can see except a fog of cutting taunts that do nothing but highlight every insecurity as a parent that you never even knew existed, and beat you around the head with them. Constantly. And the anxiety? Well, that’s just episode after episode of EVERY BAD THING YOUR MIND CAN CONJURE UP IS GOING TO HAPPEN. In your mind on re-run. And the mass detachment you feel and want, from either most things or your child(ren)? I can’t even try to explain that yet.
That’s what is hard to break through to, to those in the midst of PND. & that brings it back to the point of reading what women are going through & it breaking my heart. So it’s crazy late 02:54(am). My phone pinged & i saw someone write a post on a mummy’s page on Facebook earlier that i tried to hold off replying to until the morning (because i know being tired can lead to bad days), but ended up lying in my bed having so many things i wanted to say to her. As you can see i have come down to my computer and i did reply to the woman with the clear shout for help before writing this.
I don’t know everything about PND, the medical jargon, the stats, what would be the perfect advice for each & every person -if anyone! But i do know this: I cannot stand to ever see/ read/ hear of anyone going through any form of Postnatal or Prenatal illness and not let them know that they are not alone. Be it sharing websites to visit, chat’s to join, helplines to ring, places to go or my own email address for folk to send a rant to, i just have an overwhelming feeling to reach out to as many people as i can. I know it’ll never be enough though, there are just so many people suffering.
…Awk anyway…My mission is to try & have the right balance. I’ll work on that.