health

'I couldn't hold my baby. I didn't want to. I counted the hours until she fell asleep.'

This week is Perinatal Depression Awareness Week. Mamamia is supporting The White Cloud Foundation’s Pigtail Day.

PND. Post Natal Depression. It happens to the best of us. It happens to those around you. It could even happen to you. And it happened to me. Sigh.

I have shared parts of my struggle before. Not everything. Not out of shame. Nope. But because I like sort-of-kind-of-like to keep some things private. I like to be a positive person. I like to give out positive vibes. Now that I have fought the funk. And won. I can look back and realise with clarity. That I was not okay. That I needed help. And that it is totally okay not to be okay.

A few years on. Two babies. A heck load of tears. Many a debbie-downer day. And a whole lot of heartache. Finally. The fog has lifted. I feel lighter. I feel brighter. I still have some doozy days. Whoops. But mostly. They are full of love. Full of fun. Calmer. Softer. Easier. And I can breath again. Phew. Woot woot.

So hello PND. And goodbye. Thank you. Not really.

PND affects people differently. But the same-same. So what did PND look like for me? Like a shitballs-scary-out-of-control-rollercoaster ride. You don’t want to be on it. And you have no idea how you got there. But you are there. And can not for the life of you get off the crazy ride. Dang.

There are tears. Tantrums. Irrational insecure thoughts.

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You can’t go to the letterbox. Because you can see your neighbour in their front yard. And you just can’t face talking to them. Or them seeing you. Looking at you. You wish you were invisible.

You can’t go to the shops. Playgroup. Yoga. Anywhere. Even though you need to go out. You know you should go out. You just can’t.

You think everyone is looking at you. Everyone is talking about you. Everyone is judging you.

You say no to going out. With friends. With family. Even with your partner.

You pretend the kids are sick-sleeping-tired instead of going to lunch with the girls.

You pretend you are sick-sleeping-tired instead of going out for drinks with the girls.

You don’t get out of your PJs all day.

You don’t even get into your PJs. You just sleep in your clothes.

You shout. You cry. You scare yourself.

You can’t think straight.

You can’t hold your babe. You don’t want to.

You beat yourself up about the fact you don’t want to hold your babe. Sit with them. Cuddle them. Soothe them.

You pretend to be asleep so your partner gets up for your babes through the night instead.

You get out of bed because you have to. Not because you want to.

You feel safe in your own home. And terrified when you leave.

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You sit in the corner and cry. And cry. And cry. And mostly. You don’t know why.

You hide from your children. Even when they need you most.

You don’t smile. All day. You can’t. You don’t want to.

You don’t feel. All day. You can’t. You don’t want to.

You just go through the motions.

You count down the hours until your partner is home. Or until the babes go to sleep.

You need a hug. But don’t want one.

You don’t want to be touched. Ever. By anyone.

You even recoil when your partner touches you. Even though you love them with all your heart. And a hug is what you know you need. You just can’t deal with it.

You need a holiday. But can’t even leave the house. Walk down the street. Go to the park. Everything is an effort.

You feel trapped. But just want to run away.

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You don’t eat. Then you binge eat.

You feel scared. Panicked. Dizzy. Nauseous.

You lose your shizzle and run away. But end up sitting in your car sobbing and without a clue where to go. Who to call. And how you got there.

You cry so much you lose your breath.

You are there. But not really there.

You are overwhelmed by everything.

You are underwhelmed by everything.

You think of your life before children. And ask yourself. Was it better. Easier. Simpler.

You have insomnia one day.

And the next day just want to sleep all day.

You get terrible bed soaking night sweats.

You feel tired. All the time.

Alone. Exhausted. Helpless. Lost.

You cry just remembering this is how you felt. How you were. How you lived. Everyday.

You are thankful the fog has lifted. You have fought the funk. And you can smile again.

You can feel again. You feel more you again.

And love the ones that love you. Still love you. Even when you were at your worst. Phew.

I’m sharing this to let people know it is okay to not feel okay. It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to ask someone if they need help.

And I’m sharing this to let you all know it does get better. It really does.

Actually. It gets awesome. Totes awesome.

If you are struggling. Please ask for help. See you doctor. Talk to your partner. Your mum. Your friend. Your neighbour. Even me. Just please talk to someone. Take the first step. You are not alone.

And if you think you know someone who is struggling. Please reach out. Please ask the question. Are you okay?

This post has was originally published on Kim Saunders’ blog Captain + Co and has been republished with permission. Captain + Co is represented by Piccolo PR.

Anyone needing assistance can visit the Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia (PANDA) website or call their National Helpline on 1300 726 306. The White Cloud Foundation can also provide support.

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