Sometimes I need a filter between my brain and my mouth.
This is not the way to get one.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

It's not all black and white...

Image Source: PANDA

This week is Postnatal Depression (PND) Awareness week.

This year, I'm blogging from the other side of the coin. The survivors side.

And I don't mean survivor in the sense that I was schlepped to an island with a bunch of strangers and had to survive on a mixture of rat meat and rain water, but I mean I have been to the darkest depths imaginable and I've come back.

I'm not saying it wasn't hard, I'm not saying that I don't still have dodgy days where I think everything about me is shite and I'm not saying that what I went through is typical.

Because it's not.

Every parent, every emotion, every thought is as individual as the person having it. There is nothing typical about PND, and perhaps that's why so many of us remain in denial. 'Oh, it's not exactly the same as what Betty went through, so I've not got PND. I'm just having a bad day - I'll be fine!'

The trouble is, when those bad days start to add up and you can't remember the last good day you had. When you feel panicky at the thought of leaving the house, or someone coming over to see you and the baby. When the smallest thing can make you burst into tears or feel so angry you want to scream.

It all adds up. It all takes over. You feel like there's no way to get out.

Well, I'm here to say there is absolutely a way out. I'm living proof. Undeniable.

It feels amazing when it all finally comes out. That initial release is like someone lifting a suitcase of cheap souvenirs off your shoulders. A bag full of crappy pewter trinkets to remind yourself of every single time you think you failed. Every single thing you think you did wrong. Every scenario you've ever imagined where you think you're the unmistakable downfall.

You decide that your friends and family are better off without you. That you are just dragging them down with you. They should escape while they still can.

None of it's true, but the negative is always harder to accept than the positive. I don't know why some of us find it so difficult to accept that we are nice people and we deserve to be as happy and fulfilled as the next person. No ifs', ands' or buts'.

My husband is proof that people you love are your best anchors and will always back you up. My children are proof that PND doesn't change anything about how you love and bond. My Mum is proof that every girl needs someone to say it out loud - to say what you're afraid to. My friends are proof that the people who know you can see beyond it all and won't give up on you.

The main point is you are not alone. Ever. There are so many brave voices out there, sharing their stories and proving that no one is immune, PND does not discriminate. It doesn't care which half of the parenting unit you are, or if you are the whole unit on your own. Mum or Dad, it can hit you like a tonne of bricks.

"Perinatal depression is not a women's issue. It affects whole families and without treatment it can change the lives of families forever. However, help is available and early intervention and the right support leads to a faster recovery." ~ PANDA CEO, Belinda Horton. Quote taken from 

No one should be ashamed, or afraid to get help. Some of the many resources available are:

How is Dad going? logo
Click the image for more information. Image Source: PANDA 

Click the image for more information. Image Source: PANDA 

beyondblue. Depresion, Anxiety - logo
Click the image for more information. Image source: beyondblue

There is a collective link-up being hosted by Emma at Five Degrees of Chaos where people can share, and read stories of other's, experiences with PND. You can visit Emma's blog directly or click this link.

Wednesday 20 November 2013 on Instagram is the day for letting your pictures do the talking. Be sure to use the hashtag #bePNDaware.

Lastly, if you think you might be experiencing depression or anxiety, or if you are concerned for a friend or family member, contact PANDA online or phone their helpline on 1300 726 306. A complete list of contact information can be found here.

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