When darkness closes in: my struggle with PND

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 Photo: Getty Images

Some days I can be surrounded by people yet still experience feelings of loneliness.

If you have never experienced depression in any form then my feelings won't be familiar to you. All of this may seem a little bizarre.

But I've struggled with mental health issues for a large majority of my life, so one of my biggest concerns when I became pregnant was the high risk of postnatal depression (PND). My GP and midwife were well aware of my medical history so knew what to look out for, and helped educate me on the topic.

For a while there I thought I was fine, that I had somehow managed to sidetrack the issues that for a long time consumed me.

I hadn't.

Two weeks after my son Baxter's birth, when my partner was due back at work, it hit me like a freight train. Feelings of anxiety and worry flooded over me.

Deep down I knew the day would come, but it took me a while to gain the courage to admit I knew what was going on and to go and speak to my GP. She was super supportive and we talked through our options.

I started to get control back, and things became manageable.

Then I feel myself slipping again.

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These days my PND masks itself in anger, a symptom many are not aware of. Sadly it hinders my relationships with my loved ones from time to time, and, if I am being totally open, my partner takes the brunt of it.

Many people would simply respond by saying "just stop" or "stop getting so mad". Oh, I would love to be that in control of my feelings. Half the time my reactions are totally unreasonable, but I simply don't see it at the time.

I thought I had no patience when I was pregnant but this is next level.

I know that these current feelings aren't me, and while I know they're not permanent, it's hard to deal with right now. Some days are sunshine and rainbows while others are Nespresso and tissues. I've come to the realisation that it's back to the GP I go to revisit my options.

I'm lucky to have such a supportive partner who knows my hormones are up the sh*t and that when I sass him out, it's not coming from a bad place.

To those who also suffer from those days where the darkness takes over, I hear you. While you may feel alone, you're not. It will get easier and good days are on the horizon.

Recognising the signs and talking about it are key steps in helping yourself and allowing others to understand.

Being a mum is tough, so let's not make it tougher on ourselves. Speak out and support those around you - I know that the smallest of gestures can make a person's day.

Remember that sometimes the people who appear the happiest may not be, and that you never truly know what others are going through.

Being kind is free, so dish that sh*t out.

Read more from Jess at newmumclub.com, or follow her on Facebook.