When does the dark cloud become more than just baby blues?
This is the hardest thing to determine, having suffered depression before I knew what signs to look out for, but obviously after having a baby your body goes through so much and your hormones are mighty strong things that it can be difficult to know what is normal and what isn’t. I have actually posted a link to a website at the bottom of this post where I found a checklist which really did help me make sense of some of the thoughts and emotions that were happening.
In all honesty I do think the 14 day window of it being just baby blues is a bit narrow, it depends on so many factors, whether your breastfeeding which is exhausting, how sleep deprived you are and whether you have a supportive partner, aswell as many other things.
My husband and my Mum were an amazing support to me being there to witness my darkest days and pulling me through when I felt like I was failing… I literally wouldn’t be where I was today without them.
I still felt so down after 4 weeks of having Archie, my emotions were all over the place and my anxiety was a whole new level to anything I had ever experienced before.
I was never afraid of admitting that I may have had PND and having mentioned above I suffered depression before and knew that tablets and a bit of CBT could save my bacon.
This is going to hurt for me to be as brutally honest as I’m about to, but there were times where I would look at Archie and hate him (the smallest part of me) and want to push him away, get him off me , and I didn’t want to cuddle him….as soon as I thought this, I would cry as to why I felt that way about my precious little boy. The baby I had longed for all this time… These feelings and emotions still haunt me to this day, and even now I hurt whenever I remember this, they taint those memories of the beginning of our time together for me which I will never get back… God I wish they didn’t!
I was incredibly tired I was running on hardly any sleep but I was determined to carry on feeding him, I felt that as a mother emotionally I was failing he deserved the best version of me and this wasn’t it… but I needed to feed him to continue building a bond with him, he was unaware of my thoughts after all… So like I robot I put on a brave face and did everything practically a good mother should, but inside my head was telling me all sorts of nasty things.
This was just in my head, now I can see that clearly… It was no reflection on me as a person… depression is an evil thing it’s like having the most vile and twisted version of yourself in your head making you feel and think things you would never of dreamt of in normal reality, and the guilt I felt for being this way was eating me up…..
I didn’t want my husband to leave me in the morning and go to work, I never wanted to be on my own with Archie, I was scared of my baby… so once all the visits died down and Christmas was over I hit the floor with the biggest crash… I couldn’t handle noise so being around my nieces and nephews was overwhelming, I couldn’t handle being in really noisy places.. I had no patience…I couldn’t watch anything on tv with violence in or blood I would literally freak out and want to run…. And the visions I had of Archie were horrific, everything I did with him I created into an accident… Walking along the road and the pushchair veering off and being hit by a car… Dropping him by accident and his head cracking open and there being blood everywhere…. All these thoughts and visions constantly going round and round in my head making me feel so incredibly tired… Who was this person…this new version of myself? Why am I feeling this way?
It was time to go to the dr, she put me on a mild anti-depressant I could still feed on. Which as they can sometimes do made me feel worse and suicidal… They scared the hell out of me and I came straight off them… Struggled for another few weeks until the insomnia set in…
I would lay there at night and just couldn’t sleep or would wake after just 10 mins so was surviving on about 2 hours max broken sleep a night… Time to go back to the dr….
I took a new anti-depressant (again which I could feed on) which definitely took the edge off the anxiety and the depression was gone… but I can honestly say that until I stopped breastfeeding the anxiety didn’t stop….maybe it was hormones… But I still couldn’t sleep 8 months in I was falling asleep whilst driving sometimes. I needed to go back onto the tablet I took before for my depression pre baby but couldn’t do this until I stopped feeding… So I put my feelings on the back burner until then…
Once I stopped feeding I switched over and started sleeping and now a year on I’m coming off them as everything has settled down, I have my moments but the journey I’ve been on has made me stronger as a person and I’ve learnt things about myself I never knew even existed..everything happens for a reason and I’m great believer in that.
I have no regrets about admitting I needed help and once I posted on facebook about me coming out the other side of this dark cloud the amount of people I had messaging me telling me they felt the same and how brave I was to admit my struggle is what pushed me into writing this blog.
The cloud does lift, you will come out the other side and be a better person for it I promise.
‘There is always sunshine above the clouds…’