0

PND | First Counselling Session | An Update

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about how my doctor had diagnosed me with Postnatal Depression.

I was referred for counselling and said I’d update you guys on my progress…so here it is:

I was given a call back and a telephone assessment, basically going over why I felt depressed. He also agreed I had “Perinatal Depression”, which actually covers more than just Postnatal Depression which means after birth, which is more accurate for me since my Depression first started when we lost our first baby.

We discussed my options and he thought 8 sessions of counselling would be a great starting point, at this stage the waiting list for counselling was 17 weeks! But because I fall into the “perinatal” category, I got moved up the waiting list so I was only 6 weeks away, but I actually had an appointment within 3 weeks, which was great.

I felt positive and happy to have taken the first step to help myself, which helped my mood to be lifted.

My first session nearly didn’t happen, the room was in a huge complex, hidden right in the middle around the other side of the building, so at first I went to the wrong reception. In my head this was a sign I shouldn’t go, I almost stormed off to go home, but I knew if I missed this session I’d be knocked off the list, so i fought my own mind’s negativity and although I was 5 minutes late, I found the room.

The counsellor was a lovely welcoming lady, I basically word vomited my whole life to her with all my anxieties and fears thrown in too, but she was great and didn’t make me feel silly for blurting it all out. She didn’t even need to say much, she just supported me in the decisions I was unsure about and basically told me that the way I am raising my children and living my life is OK and that I need to let go of the negative comments people make and just let them go over my head, she also thinks I’ve had a lot of trauma over the past five years of my life with losing two babies, Jack being really premature, my Dad passing away and a lot of other personal stresses that have caused me a lot of anxiety.

She thinks CBT will help me, once I’ve finished counselling. So I’m optimistic about that.

So my first counselling session went really well, I’m excited about my next one.

For those struggling with Depression who are thinking about starting counselling, I would say even after one session I feel more positive, it’s amazing the feeling that just making a forward step with supporting your own mental health can do.

There are so many options to help and support you if you feel depressed, you just need to take that step forward and the support is there, it isn’t a one size fits all and everyone’s story is different, but one thing that is true for everyone is that you should NEVER keep your feelings to yourself if you are feeling Depressed.

I’m keeping you guys updated to show how getting support for PND does work!

Here are some support links:

Samaritans

MIND

PANDAS

If you are in Lancashire like me this is who I get my counselling through:

Minds Matter

I will continue to keep you guys updated on my progress and if anyone wants to get in touch, share their success story or just to talk please comment or get in touch.

0

But you don’t look Depressed…

But you don’t look depressed…

Apparently if you’ve had Postnatal Depression before you are more likely to have it again.

When I first had Depression I didn’t think it was Depression, I thought these were normal feelings after losing a baby, actually after losing two.

Being pregnant again and getting past my “safe point” of 12 weeks during my pregnancy with Jack seemed to help, but then I was taught a harsh lesson about how there is no safe point in pregnancy, when my waters went at 25 weeks and he was then born at 29 weeks. Those same feelings came back and my coping mechanism with life (or lack of) returned, that seems to be my way of spotting when something isn’t quite right with me, if I am suddenly unable to cope with everyday situations.

Of course my baby being born almost 3 months early wasn’t an everyday occurrence, so I cut myself some slack, just because I had the same feelings as when I lost the babies, didn’t mean I was Depressed, right?…Wrong.

I had this amazing baby, finally at home, finally in my arms, yet I felt like I wanted to die. I was so terrified of someone holding my baby and hypersensitive to what people said that I was isolated, but that was okay (to me). My baby had been born early, it was OK to be overprotective, that’s what I thought, and do you know what? I wasn’t wrong, I had every reason to be overprotective, but my fears of leaving the house, even walking down the street were wrong, it was Depression, it turns out it had never really gone, there just happened to be a lot of traumatic things happening around me that gave me even more reason to be sad.

So for a moment I sat and thought about how I may have Postnatal Depression after my first child was born, but I also felt off-colour, maybe I was ill? No…I was pregnant. Jack was three months old and he was going to be a big brother. Well, that answered all my questions, it must have been my hormones making me think like that. They’ll settle down, I thought, then before I had any time to think about myself or what may be going on in my head, or even the joy of a new baby…

1526951_10202309510557839_405512359_n

I got the phone call every child dreads, my Mum saying my Dad was having a heart attack. He’d had one before when he was 42, it was very minor and he’d been improving since then, age now 50, I calmly got ready to make my way up to the hospital to check on him, but that wasn’t the case. As soon as my Mum told me, “they said his heart isn’t beating” that’s when I knew it was over, I just knew in the pit of my stomach, he wasn’t coming back.

1601381_10202359874696911_84985720_n

So as my bump grew, so did my Depression, but my Dad had died of course I was depressed, it was grief! I’d never thought about the fact that since my first loss with a Molar Pregnancy, which brought with it a Cancer scare, that I had been suffering with Depression all this time, I had the thinking process that once I’d had Mikey I would be OK.

Don’t get me wrong, if you met me on the street or even spent a few hours with me, you’d probably say “You don’t look Depressed”, I was a master of disguising it, partially because I was ashamed, I had two perfect children by this time, what did I have to be Depressed about? And the rest of my fear was telling someone and then once flood gates open, they don’t close.

dsc_8357-jpg

There’s also the fear everyone is too afraid to talk about, that your children could be taken away from you, I thought if I told my doctor that I felt like I was worthless and failing in every aspect of my life, that I didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning and I was afraid to leave the house, that he’d think I couldn’t cope and would take my kids away, but this isn’t the case.

Finally I got the courage to go to the doctors over a year after first telling him I felt Depressed and he helped me, I didn’t take antidepressants because I was Breast feeding and didn’t want to stop, but I started counselling, which helped. I found life easier to cope with, I wasn’t afraid to get in a car with the kids in case it crashed, or walk down the street in case someone just took them from me, I felt like I could lead a normal life again, of course I will always grieve for my Dad, but life was manageable again.

So with my fifth pregnancy and third baby, I felt strong, like this time was different. I’d got into a great routine with my boys, they are both great kids, who sleep, eat and behave well (most of the time). There was the everyday stress of life in general, knowing I had to have a Cesarean which wasn’t what I wanted but was safest for baby and planning my wedding, but I was coping.

375

So what came next hit me like a tonne of bricks…

My husband Paul and I had a minor argument about 9 days after Nicole was born, it was that minor I can’t remember what it was about, but I remember just thinking “I can’t cope with this…I want to die”. The feelings of anxiety crept back again, I was scared to do things in case something bad happened, yet no-one knew. Since then it’s been like a snowball effect, it’s just got bigger.

There is a stigma that comes with Depression, that you must have a reason for it, it needs to be solvable…but what if it isn’t? I don’t want to feel like this, I hate that I anticipate every situation, conversation and reaction, but I can’t help it. I’ve got Depression…again, and it isn’t fussy who it chooses.

So I don’t look Depressed…

img_3377

I can tell you, you’re right I don’t have the face of Depression because there isn’t one, it doesn’t matter who you are, how much money you have, what religion you are or what race you are, Depression can affect anyone at anytime.

I have three beautiful healthy children, an amazing husband and a loving family, I have every reason in the world to be happy and I am a lot of the time, but when I have a chance to gather my thoughts, or I’m faced with an everyday situation, I crumble.

Being Depressed doesn’t make me a bad mother, I love my kids, I look after them and I do everything in my power to make them happy. There isn’t even a question in my mind that I’d rather be anywhere or doing anything else than being with my kids, but the stigma of Depression leaves people feeling like they don’t deserve their children and this just isn’t the case.

29

If you are suffering with Depression, you need to talk to someone. Whether it is a family member, friend or a doctor. Let someone who cares know how you are feeling, there is no way out of it alone, I’ve learnt that the hard way, I’m about to start Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, in the hope I can put these horrible feelings behind me.

The only way to fight it is to talk to someone, Depression wants to isolate you…don’t let it.

Here’s some support links:

MIND

PANDAS

Mothers for Mothers

PNI

House of Light

APNI

The SMILE Group

 

6

My Journey through Pre and Post Natal Depression

First discovering I was Pregnant in August 2012, it was a huge shock. I was half way through studying to be a nurse and had only been with my partner Paul for 4 months. Shock soon turned to joy, only the Sunday before my dating scan I began to bleed heavily,.

It turned out I had suffered a Molar Pregnancy, and needed an Evacuation of the pregnancy.

The doctor performing the Termination’s that day obviously didn’t look into my notes and just assumed I wanted to terminate a healthy pregnancy, after asking me if the pregnancy was planned, I replied with “No, but it was a nice surprise”, his response…”I think you should get some better Contraception to ensure this doesn’t happen again!”, his patronising tone devastated me because I wanted this baby more than anything.

By January 2013, I was a completely different person to the year before, everything was about pregnancy, every word uttered from my mouth would be some how to do with having a baby, slightly obsessive, but after our loss I wanted it more than ever. Paul was completely supportive and wanted a baby too by this point, the Molar Pregnancy hit him hard too.

I was soon pregnant again and we had a good feeling this time. My GP sent me at for a scan at 5 weeks, to make sure it wasn’t another MP , nothing was there! I was devastated and hysterical but the Sonographer reassured me it was just a little too early, back home I received a phone call, the midwife told me my blood result showed I was definitely pregnant. Then the next day tragedy struck me again, bleeding heavily I went to hospital and was told I was having a miscarriage.

When I became pregnant again in May 2013, we weren’t surprised, I’d never had trouble getting pregnant, it just seemed the ‘safe point’ of 12 weeks was a million miles away. I knew deep down 12 weeks wasn’t really a complete safe point, but this was my first big hurdle. Having never seen a baby’s heartbeat on the Sonographer’s screen, when I had a huge bleed at 7 weeks I expected there just to be my empty uterus again. Empty…this feeling was becoming more and more familiar.

Then on the screen flickered a healthy little heart beat! Our baby was healthy! My pregnancy was textbook from then on, only at 25+5 weeks my waters broke! Rushed to hospital, I was given pills to stop labour and to our surprise they worked!Then at 29+5 weeks after 22 hours of labour my boy Jack Sydney Woodhouse was born weighing 3lbs and half an oz on 11-11-2013! He spent 6 weeks in NICU, with us rooming in on the ward, he battled his way through needing oxygen, Jaundice, a Congenital Heart Disease and drinking milk orally. He came home just in time for Christmas on 21-12-2013 after 40 days.

Having a healthy baby at home, I’d had everything I’d always wanted. I was happy I loved my son and Paul, yet I felt sad, I didn’t know why. I felt paranoid that someone would hold my son and give him a cold, something that could be fatal to a premature baby, I felt paranoid that someone would want to take him! After all our families were telling me how much they were in love with my son, I felt threatened, all I cared about was keeping my son safe and in my eyes that was to shield him from everyone! Then when Jack was 3 months old I discovered something I hadn’t bargained on….I was pregnant AGAIN!

For the 4th time in a year and a half I was pregnant again, everyone was worried about my mental and physical health, but I just thought they think I can’t cope, they think I’m a bad mother. I was madly in love with my son and doted on him, he got all of my affection and happiness, but to the rest of the world I was angry, no-one could approach me, this was my little family and I wasn’t going to let anyone take it away, Paul tried to reason from me, but in my head I knew I was right, everyone was against me.

I didn’t just snap out of it, well I did but not for no reason, I wish I had just woke up one morning and feeling resolved with no sacrifices, but the thing that made me come back to reality was the most devastating day of my life, my Dad died, at just 50 years old he was a wonderful Dad to me and my three older brother and Granddad to his three soon to be four grandsons.

This devastating event made me reconsider my hatred for the world, I didn’t go back to my happy fun loving self, I just shut down, showing no emotion at all. I couldn’t let my self be devastated for my Dad’s death in case I miscarried, I wanted my baby to be safe and I know my Dad would have wanted that too, in time I gave birth to my beautiful boy Michael David Woodhouse on 01-10-14 exactly six months to the day after my Dad died. Since then I have softened, my anger is gone, now I just feel sadness, I miss my Dad everyday and after two years of closing my self off from the world I am finally letting my self grieve for the babies we lost and most importantly for my Dad.

Looking back I wish I had recognised my symptoms and gone to the doctors for help, maybe my story will spur others on to do so. I got up everyday and put on a fake smile for the world but inside I was crumbling, Depression isn’t always on the face of sufferers.