Friday 25 November 2011

I Want To Get Off... A Tale of PND & Plea for Help!

Yesterday I read a post over at Mammasaurus about her experience with postnatal depression and this made me realise I have never blogged my own short journey through late-onset PND and I thought it was high time I did so.

Especially when she pointed me over to Boo and Me's blog.  Mummy Boo has been busy organising a raffle over the last couple of months and she is aiming to raise money for the Joanne (Joe) Bingley Memorial Foundation.   This is not a charity I have heard of before but having read about it, it is one I would love to help.  At the moment we are in a negative cash state so I can not offer money, but what can I do?  I can blog and help Mummy Boo to promote her raffle and to raise money for this superb new charity.

Let me briefly explain that Joe committed suicide in April 2010, just 10 weeks after the birth of her baby. She had been suffering from severe postnatal depression and her husband Chris started the charity to help raise awareness and to provide information about this illness which effects at least 15% of all new mothers every year.What I did not know is that it also effects about 10% of all new fathers too.

So what do you need to do now?
Head over here and buy a raffle ticket, they are £1 each or buy lots of raffle tickets if you have some spare cash.  The money is all going to the foundation, the prizes have been donated. Click the big red DONATE button, do not add gift aid please (you can't with a raffle). You can win all sorts, a gorgeous Pink Lining Bag, a pregnancy gift box, a Cath Kidson blanket and on and on.  I believe the prizes total around £800  but let's be honest you won't be doing this for the prizes, they are just the icing.

No money? You CAN help anyway?
Chris Bingley has started a petition that he hopes will gain enough signatures for it to be discussed in Parliament. Wouldn't it be great if we could help this along and add a few more hundred signatures?  Currently it sits at 517 signatures.  Head over now and sign, so that  the Government have to ensure that our NHS take care of new mothers.

And now the not so important bit, my story of PND....

In May 2008 I wrote a post on a Babycentre chat board entitled 'I want to get off'.  This was the start of me admitting there was a problem and I was not coping, it was one of the best things I ever did.  Speaking up when you feel there is something wrong is so important.  Trust your gut.

My twins were born in July 2007 and all I ever heard was how amazing I was dealing with new twins and a pre-schooler as well as my usual volunteering at Church and such. 'You are always so calm and everyone is so well presented, I have no idea how you do it Michelle', that was the type of thing I heard and for some reason it became very important to me to keep up that image of being able to cope and of doing a good job. I think the fact of not being at work played some part in this for me, parenting was what was defining me at that point and therefore I had to succeed at it. Succeed at any cost, even my health.

Between July 2007 and May 2008 the pressure built and I found myself feeling more and more unlike me.  It was hard to put a finger on what was wrong but I became angry and showed a real lack of patience especially towards JJ.  I recall crying to my Mum saying that maybe I did not love JJ anymore as all I ever did was shout at him and that he made me so mad. It broke my heart to think that perhaps my firstborn had been pushed out of my love and that my heart was not big enough for all three of my kids.

I recall smashing the sofa with my fists and screaming as I had to let the aggression and anger out.  I was like a pent up bomb waiting to explode. The outbursts were not that often but those I had were certainly not something a 4 year old boy should have been seeing.  How he must of felt, I have no idea?  I still have a list that I typed up to take to the doctors to show them how I was feeling.  My over ridding feeling was that I felt everyone wanted a piece of me and that the merry go round had to stop, as I just wanted to get off  and sleep but it never seemed to stop and I just went round and round and no solutions or rest came.

I was lucky that I was listened to when I went to the doctors, I sat there and cried and told her I could not cope and made her promise she would not take my babies away from me.  I just needed Miss M to stop screaming so much and to sleep and for JJ to behave and stop being so jealous.  I did one of those questionnaires which showed I did have depression and I was prescribed some anti-depressants.  A prescription I never fulfilled, I decided to try a softer option first and what I did was start to talk, talk to anyone and everyone about how I felt and why I felt the way I did and what help I needed.  Most people had no idea that PND could strike when your babies were 10 months old.  The opinion seemed to be that PND came straight on after having your baby and of course it does for some people but we are all different and since then I have learned that many parents of multiples suffer late-onset of PND, those first few months are so busy that you just whizz through them on adrenaline.

Over the next two or three months I regularly chatted to my Mum, husband and friends about how I felt and yes I am sure they were bored silly by keep hearing how hard it all was but it worked.  I started to feel more like me again and I got an evening job so I could escape the kids for short periods of time. Dh helped out more and realised just how much I was struggling and things picked up.  By November 2008 I was restarting back in my proper job, JJ was at school full time and the girls settled into nursery on my work days.  I learnt about balance and not having a spotless house, I took time to read and relax and my life improved significantly and I was pleased to say I now know the symptoms of when life is getting me down and I know the actions I have to take to stop myself getting to the stage I was at in May 2008.

I sincerely urge you to speak up if you feel out of sorts, if something is just not right or you feel different.  Tell someone.  They may not know what to do with the information but just the act of getting it out there could be a massive help to you.

For me, the following were my symptoms of PND, this is the list I wrote back in May 2008.  I just thought I would share it in the hope it may help someone else....

• I feel so tired much of the time, as if I can just sleep and often I feel dozy and spaced out, especially when having to concentrate (driving or PC)
• Everything feels like so much effort and I stress and worry about doing things, instead of just doing them

• I am being destructive with my eating and just having what I like and remembering I need to be good and then eating a packet of biscuits in spite of that

• I feel so anxious much of the time

• I worry how long the babies will sleep and the worry stops me using the time productively and doing anything with it!

• Money is a real worry to me. I know I should not spend it but I do to try and make myself feel happy/ better
• I find myself in my own world often and I want no one to talk to me

• I find myself wanting to shout leave me alone, I just need peace

• I feel that everyone wants a piece of me and I am pulled in too many directions, I want time alone. I want the Merry go round to stop, so I can get off

• My motivation is lacking and I find it hard to do things that I used to do easily. I always feel overstretched

• Yesterday I felt so mad and angry inside, everything made me angry – there being no baby milk at Morrison's so I chucked the cheese back and walked out!

• I am very forgetful at the moment too

• I am getting lots of headaches

• I can get short tempered and normally it is with JJ and it is generally when Miss M is screaming (at me – logically I know it is not but it always feels as if her screaming is a personal attack on me).

Now over to you, do you blog?  Have you had PND?  Yes, write a post and send people over to Mummy Boo's raffle.  No, then sign the petition and buy a raffle ticket or two if you are able to.
Thanks, God Bless, Mich x
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