Its funny really. I have suffered from depression on & off all my life, well, since I was a teenager. But as soon as I started seeing the signs after Molly was born, I went to the doctor and said I think I have PND. Maybe I shouldn't have labelled it, as looking back, perhaps it wasn't & isn't PND. Maybe its just an extension of my "usual" depression, just appearing in a new & more keep you on your toes type format.
- Was I depressed I had a baby...No.
- Did I feel I didn't want her....No.
- Did I have no bond with my new baby....No.
- Did I freak out & think I can't do this....Yes!
- Did I have panic attacks every time the evening came fearing the lack of sleep, because I know how badly I cope without sleep....Yes!
- Was I over emotional & over reactive as a result of lack of sleep....Yes!
- Did I cry a LOT for no obvious reason....Yes!
Now maybe the above are signs of PND, I'm not a doctor or a psychologist. But for me, they are "normal" parts of my personality & normal parts of my depression, just presented in a slightly different way. I have self esteem issues, even with an amazing and adoring fiance and I tend to panic before things happen, or over things I can't control (my baby shouldn't scream for hours on end, she should stop as soon as I change her nappy/give her a cuddle/feed her)
The only thing I had NOT experienced before was the "disassociative" episodes.They usually happen in the evening, brought on by overwhelming feelings of EVERY emotion....fear, sadness, extreme happiness, inability to cope, anger at myself for not coping, desire to love and protect my baby, desire to provide DD1 with the same level of love & attention she is used to, panic at not being able to control the situation, and all fed by the usual new born parent lack of sleep. These episodes last anywhere from 30 mins to several hours. I'm not sure why, but afterwards I feel calm & relaxed. To describe it to my psychologist, I used an analogy....The emotions get to a point where i just can't cope and it's like a door opens in the back of my head. If i go through that door, all the emotions just stop I don't feel anything. I can still function enough to care for Molly, and apparently became a LOT more protective of her. But nothing "here" can effect me emotionally. All the emotions are just gone, just peace and calm is all I feel. There is a temptation to stay there and close the door. I could do that. Who wouldn't want to feel calm and peaceful all the time? It's a concious decision to return to the "here" each time I do. It helps that my fiance is there holding me hand encouraging me to "come back". When it first started, when Molly was just 2 weeks old, I had no control over it, it was like that door was a black hole, it would just suck me in and spit me back out whenever the hell it felt like it! Now I have control, I can control how far I go, when I come back.
As a teenager I used to self harm. Nothing intense, but i would cut my arms or legs, because the sting, that pain was something i could control, unlike the emotions i would feel, that i had no control over. The disassociation seems like an extension of that. I don't want to hurt myself, but I do want the emotions to go away, to stop overwhelming me, I want to have control of them.
Now, I am off the anti depressants, and I'm mostly doing ok. I'm happy & content in my life. In fact, I am happier than I ever have been. I have 2 beautiful girls and an amazing fiance, who for some crazy reason, loves us all as much as we love him! I have a new extended family that most wives-to-be would be jealous of, and rightly so!! They are all lovely, and supportive too! My Dad is an amazing man. It breaks my heart that he is so weak. He has Parkinson's disease, and despite his best efforts, it is quickly progressing to a point where he needs care. I don't like it, I wish it was for a different reason, but I love spending this time with him. The joy on his face each day as he watches Molly grow, as he watches Maddi develop into a young lady, and as he sees his only daughter happy is awesome, and often makes me smile too!
I have more to post, but that is for a different topic on a different day! Have a lovely week to all those that take the time to read this :)