Category Archives: low mood

Beeping Black Dog – by Catherine PANDAS

I’m sat here working through our final wedding music choices.  WEDDING.  I am GETTING MARRIED to a MAN that I LOVE WITH ALL MY HEART, and I KNOW HE LOVES ME TOO.  I’m also currently weaning off my anti-depressants.  Now, here’s a fine example of my bittersweet companion, the old Black Dog.

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So, here I am, still in pyjamas, listening to beautiful music and having a fun text exchange about the wedding with my lovely kind fiance.  On the laptop.  Where there are photographs of him and his ex-partner.  Suddenly, there I am, swooping through files, my heartbeat quickening, feeling sick, keep going, keep looking, flicking past faces I don’t know, will never know, seeing smiles that aren’t real, don’t exist anymore, keep looking, keep going, looking for proof that…… HOLD ON.  Proof of what?  Proof that he EXISTED BEFORE ME?!?!???  Really?  This is the Beeping Black Dog, and he’s here trying to spoil my positive feeling.

Now, once upon a time, I would have continued in this chaotic spiral for the rest of the day until it culminated into having a great big useless row with lovely fiance over my own anxious thoughts, but since learning about coping strategies and talking, like really learning to talk about how I’m feeling, I have been able to work out other ways of doing things.  So, instead of carrying on, I closed down the folders and made a meme:

*MEME CONTAINS FOUL LANGUAGE, PLEASE DON’T LOOK IF THERE IS A CHANCE IT WILL OFFEND YOU*

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I made a meme, and now I feel better.

Interview with Rachel – author of Post Natal Depression and Me

Hi Rachel! Thanks for taking the time to talk to us here at PANDAS Guest Blog!

Can you remember when you first thought that something wasn’t quite right with how you were feeling?

I think I started feeling a little down during my pregnancy but I had a very complicated one so I just assumed I was worried and stressed about that. I suppose it really hit with me with how hard I found everything in the early days. I knew I was suppose to be happy and in this bubble but somehow I just wasn’t quite there. It got progressively worse and late last year I went to the doctors to ask why I felt so bad, even though I really knew I was struggling deep down.

Why do you think that so many of us have this unrealistic image of “The Perfect Mother”?

I think there is a lot to do with the media, perfect bodies after babies perfect relationships the pictures of perfect family life. Then there’s tv and films, there is a lot to influence how we see normal life. The reality is no one is perfect we just try to be. I wish I knew why I had to be perfect all the time, the perfect mother and wife, but it’s just something you feel the need to do.

What do you think stops both men and women talking about how they’re feeling, or even just admitting that they’re struggling?

I think people are scared of being judged that you are not a fit mother. Or just war people think in general about you. My worst fear was being gossiped about, or disappointing my family.

How did your husband feel when you were diagnosed with PND?

He just said that we shouldn’t label at that, that he knew I was going through a hard phase, that we would get through it together. He is a hugely positive person and really believes in mindset having a lot to do with how we feel, act and what we do. Just talking to him made me realise that really it was just something I had to overcome.

Your piece is very positive and full of hope, can you remember a particular moment when you began to feel more optimistic?

It was the moment I went to the doctors. Even though she said I had symptoms of PND I always in my own my mind and on my blog just describe it as the baby blues. A phase in my life where I was feeling a little sad and lost. The moment someone told me was the moment I thought to myself “what am I doing, life is too short”. I also believe from my husbands influence a lot is about your mindset. I decided to be positive. I faked it a lot of the time and before I knew it it became a natural practise. This year has been my best year so far as a mum.

Finally, what makes you life perfect for you?

Life for me is perfect when I’m just with my family. We could be doing the food shop, a walk in the park or having an awesome day out. Family is what got me through this, family is what made me realise what I had. I’m a very lucky person to have a supportive husband, a cheeky step son and my adorable little boy. It’s just life right now, in the moment, and enjoying it.

Thank you so much for speaking to us here at the PANDAS Guest Blog, it’s so great to hear from someone with such a positive outlook on their PND experience and I know a lot of our readers will benefit from your hopeful piece.

Remember, if you want to read more about Rachel, please take a look at her blog: http://thelsmum.co.uk/

I’m Human, Not A Text Book by Natalie Brown

I thought I would share my experience of PND as mine seems to be different from the norm that is promoted in various articles and in general knowledge about the condition.

I think mine started as a result of expectations that were too high. During pregnancy I went for the all natural approach and booked a home birth. I was determined to have a calm and relaxed birth due to a severe dislike of being a patient in a hospital (I have trained as a midwife in the past and now cover local breastfeeding support so working there has never been the issue).

Sadly for some reason unknown, my waters broke at 34 weeks, and my dream of a home birth was shattered. Even worse, it was reverted to the complete opposite of everything I had hoped for. As I was uneducated on my choices at the time, I was admitted into hospital to be monitored in case of infection risk. I managed to put the induction off for 4 days before I eventually succumbed to how paranoid they had made me with all the talk of infection and low birth weight etc. Before I could be induced I was transferred to a hospital in the middle of nowhere and at least an hours travel from our home. The induction went fairly smoothly, if not painfully, and after 2 epidurals (1 failed), luckily my little boy was born naturally weighing a healthy 5lbs6oz at 35+1 weeks with minimal damage.

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It was what followed that I think caused the depression in the end. We were assigned a neonatal nurse due to the prematurity (he was completely fine other than some jaundice which is to be expected at that gestation). This nurse was awful, she knew that I had trained in midwifery and solely took it upon herself to go against every wish I had for my son and tried to overrule me at every turn. Even to the point that when I refused a feeding tube and antibiotics for him (she wanted them as a precaution with no medical reasoning for them). She attempted to send a nurse to wheel my son away whilst I slept to have the feeding tube and cannula fitted. Safe to say I didn’t sleep for pretty much the whole 6 days we were there following the birth. We were treated like clueless and negligent children for making our own informed choices and eventually had to complain to the head of midwives and demand the neonatal nurse stay away from me. We spent an unnecessary week miles away from home with no family and no support all because of a neonatal nurse who was eventually overruled by her superior who apologised and said she couldn’t understand why we had been kept in so long.

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I thought I would share as I see a lot in the media of PND that an automatic symptom of it is to struggle to love your child. I would like to vouch that this really isn’t the case for me. If anything my experience made me insanely close to my son, to the point of overbearingly paranoid about his care, which can only be a good thing for him. I have spent every waking hour with him and he is now a thriving 8 month old boy. My depression was based around feelings of low self worth but never did leaving or harming my son ever cross my mind at all! He has always had everything he needs and more, he still attended all the baby groups and everything even if I was lowest of the low, I just became very good at acting in public to ensure he had a normal life.

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I have attended a PND group through my local NHS and I’m happy to say that is has helped so well, I highly recommend it to everyone that is put off by it, it really is worth it. I chose this route due to breastfeeding and refusing anti-depressants. There is still a follow on support group now the course has finished that will continue once a week.

One massive bit of advice, if you have a partner that is struggling with you, remember how much your PND demands of them, you may not realise but it is a lot. Me and my partner have had the worst arguments we’ve ever had since having PND. But coming through the other side as the fog begins to clear, I have realised how difficult I have been and just how patient my partner has been. They may seem like your worst enemy at times but mine saved me.

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Hope some other mothers can relate to this xx

If you would like to get in touch with Natalie, you can reach her by email: natbrown@live.co.uk