I wrote about my decision to go on anti-depressants in order to treat my (quite severe) Post Natal Depression waaaaay back when in 2017. Hindsight can be a wonderful thing and I can honestly say I wish I’d gone on them sooner.
All I wanted – needed – was for the spirals to stop. I was desperate for the dark thoughts to be no more. Privately, and for the better part of a year, it just felt like I was treading water in order to stay alive. I was exhausted in every sense of the word. Along with an overall sense of feeling overwhelmed, confused and in pain – physically, mentally and emotionally.
Looking back I can attribute it to a number of things. Birth trauma followed by the girls being in NICU, having no physical support from family or friends and this all led on from anxiety during my pregnancy. But at the time I couldn’t see any of that. I just felt useless, helpless and like I was failing at everything. Hand on heart, I have never felt that lost and scared before.
When I came around to the idea that anti-depressants were becoming a necessary step to try, there was obvious apprehension on my part. I’ve never had to take medication of this nature before so while I was nervous about potential side effects there was also a hopefulness that I would finally start to feel better. Desperation is the best word to describe the time where we sought a new GP to, once again, request help.
The biggest realisation for me was fighting back and being sure about the fact that I wanted to live. With every ounce of strength that I could muster, and with a lot of help from Hubby, I got myself to the doctor. Admitting that I wasn’t coping, that I was so close to ending my life, that I was prepared to leave my children motherless was without doubt THE turning point. I was willing to try anything to make what could once have easily been our reality something else. You see, I had to acknowledge that my PND actually wasn’t just about me. The impact it was and could have had knew no bounds. I acknowledged that you only live once and I was not prepared to leave the party early.
Fortunately, ever since that first little pill, whether it was partly placebo affect or not, I’ve felt like my feet have been firmly planted on the ground. Yes, there have been down days, but there was before the diagnosis of PND and I’m sure there are many more to come. That’s life. The difference is I no longer spiral. I don’t feel the need to take to the bedroom, to shut myself off from the world, or worse – receive uncontrollable suicidal thoughts.
During the past two years I’ve learned the glaringly obvious fact that mental health has no quick fix. Anti-depressants have not magically cured me, yet what they have done is to take the edge off. And that’s okay. More than okay.
I didn’t want to be numb, to not take the opportunity to regain my identity slowly. If it had all happened overnight it probably would have been quite unnerving. I wasn’t ready to just switch back to Alright Katie. I had to rediscover that a bad day doesn’t have to turn into a spiral. To be honest it was almost like learning to walk again. To be able to trust yourself is a powerful thing, which is why PND is so debilitating. Not only does it sap you of basic instinct and self assurance, it happens during a time you need those things the most.
I’d like to end by saying that if you need medication to get you back on track then more power to you. After all, it’s not only for you, but your loved ones too.