Friday, 23 March 2018

Post Natal Depression at 3 years.

I've written 3 posts about this now, I keep starting again.  It's hard to explain.  It's hard to admit, to myself and to the world.  I've been diagnosed with post-natal depression.  After 3 years.  I didn't even know it could present so late but apparently it can peak at age 4.  Three is a difficult age but I'm just not coping.

I hope that by writing about this I find it therapeutic as I did when I wrote honestly about our IVF.  I hope to feel less alone.  And maybe, help others feel less alone like with the IVF.  I used to receive messages about that at the time.  Perhaps it will be the same with this but I worry about coming across as ungrateful for the twins and our life.  I also worry about what they may think should they read this one day but I hope to teach them that mental health is important, can affect anyone and that this is nothing to do with them but is a medical problem affecting me and I do love them immensely, despite me finding motherhood extremely difficult right now.  I just feel like I need to be open and honest about this too.

My GP thinks my pnd has been bubbling away at a low level for a long time but with recent pressures at work, Nik's looming exam and more time alone dealing with two toddlers with challenging behaviour, I'm really struggling.
I only realised just how much last weekend.  When a friend reached out.  She saw a sign and sent me a message and because I don't know her all that well it was easier to spill.  Everything.  She advised me to show Nik my messages so I did.  I told my local friends the next day and they encouraged me not to wait (as I planned to do - work should hopefully settle down in April) but to call my GP now.  They'd been suspicious for a while that there was something else going on other than the usual stress of tantrumming toddlers and stress at work but they didn't know if/how to say anything.

It's good to know they recognised I wasn't myself.  That I'm not normally so down.  So fed up with life.  I haven't been purposefully trying to pretend it's all OK but I do feel like a fraud.  I've been posting less often but am still blogging about our trips out, fun stuff we try to do when we can.  But the rest of the time.  I hate it.  I hate being alone with the twins.  And I hate that I feel that way.  There is immense guilt.  I would have cried to read someone say this about their children when we were going through IVF.  I worry how other people who are still struggling to have children may take this should they read it, I would have found it very hard to read.  We fought so hard to have our beautiful children and now I'm hating being a mum, feeling like I'm so bad at this most important job.  The guilt.  I can't stand it.  I should be so happy we have a family, we have a nice home, true friends, decent jobs.  And yet, I'm not and I couldn't understand why.

I tried going into more detail about this but it's hard.  For now I just wanted to get it out there.  To explain why I might be "off".  Why I'm struggling so much.  And to ask advice.  Has anyone got experience with anti-depressants?  Specifically Citalopram.  My GP reckons that my depression is very situational and she can see a way out of this for me but she truly thinks I would benefit from help as my biochemistry is working against me and my serotonin levels are low.  This isn't just the "happy hormone" but helps you to cope with life in general which certainly explains a lot.  For some reason the thought scares me, even though the science makes sense.

Even after receiving help this weekend, Nik's parents took the kids for the whole weekend while he was at work to give me a break, I don't feel rested.  The break was wonderful and much needed but I still feel out of sorts.  I still struggled on Monday morning when I wrestled Kalyan into his clothes for the 3rd time and had to cry my way through Room on the Broom as I'd promised Priya I'd read it to her once I had got Kalyan up and dressed but then knew we'd already be late after his protests.

So I do think I need something else to help.  I'm not sure how I will carry on otherwise.  I'm exhausted, it's affecting me physically too.

Like I said, it's hard to get into words and on Friday night I tried taking some self-portraits to express myself.  I won't share them all here as there is partial nudity but I've included one.  I'm so glad I have my photography to cling to.  The consistent thing giving me joy.  The kids are great, they're not difficult ALL the time and I do enjoy moments but it's so shocking just how quickly they kick off and I just sink.  I refuse to give in to them.  It's often about them not being happy at being told no and I know it's for the best but it's still hard.  I know they're three, they're learning how to be in this world and they don't yet know how to deal with their emotions properly but wow, it's draining.  Times two.


M-J said...

Gosh I’m so sorry to hear you’re having a tough time. We all have hard days with the kids, but there’s a difference between finding days hard to what you’ve been feeling. You absolutely should not feel guilty. I’m not a doctor but I’m sure they are giving you the best advice but I can understand your reservations about taking medication. If they are recommending it, I’m sure it would help. You could always try it for a wee while. I only have one toddler (and a baby) and I find him incredibly challenging at times. I can only imagine how tough it is with two toddlers while suffering from pnd. So be kind to yourself, accept help, and it will get better. Big hugs XX

Anonymous said...

♥️♥️My situation was not the same, but maybe similar. I took the drugs, just enough to take the edge off. As my husband said I wouldn’t have turned down antibiotics if I’d had a chest infection. But it’s the counselling that has truly helped, I found my own in the end, someone person centred. It’s nothing ground breaking but even with all the talk of mental health I look back and wonder why the hell I haven’t had counselling before, it still feels like such a taboo.
But that’s my experience, well done you for reaching out, now go with your gut and get the help you know you need in whichever way feels right to you ♥️♥️

Emma said...

I’m sorry to hear you’ve been feeling like this. I don’t know you at all, but I’m a GP and I’ve been following your blog for years since reading your comments/posts on AOW (my husband says I’m like a virtual stalker! - he doesn’t understand about blogs!) I have a 3.5y old son and 8 week old twins, and my husband had problems with depression and anxiety after our son was born. I have seen him and many patients do well with citalopram (or other SSRIs) in similar situations. Like you’ve mentioned - it doesn’t artificially make people happy, I explain it as just getting people back to how they would be feeling ‘normally’, so still with ups and downs but hopefully more ‘ups’ and being able to cope with the ‘downs’ more comfortably.

It’s great that you’ve opened up to family and friends, as it’s a lot to have been dealing with alone.

Tuff said...

You're so brave to share this and seek help!

Here in Germany there's a possibility to do a "mother and child cure" where you go away to a nice place (mountains or sea) to recover and learn strategies to cope better. Not sure if that's a thing where you live but I could imagine it would do a world of good.

Laura said...

You know I’m here for you irl, but just wanted to send you a virtual hug too. Also, remember that everything you feel about your babes is clouded by a whole layer of something else that is not directly about them. 3 year olds are hard work, but once you’re feeling back to yourself, it won’t feel like the same kind of hard work because you’ll be feeling more balanced. (And kids are stupidly receptive to our vibes, so they’ll probably shift in their behaviour too ��)

Prettiest Hobo said...

Previous commenters have covered how I feel about taking medication for depression - you wouldn’t turn down antibiotics as mentioned above. But as for your twins looking back on this and reading it - that’s the least of their worries. If and when they read it in at least a decade (probably more like two) from now, all they’ll think is what a strong, loving, amazing mother they have who is still considering their needs and loving them with her every fibre while she helps herself be as healthy as she can. Love you B and am always here for you xx

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