More than just SAD
So I’ll just say it straight – I have been battling with Post Natal Depression for the past couple of months. When I spoke to the doctor she was concerned and talked to me a bit about some anti-depressants but as I am still breastfeeding they would have been the ‘old’ style drugs and I’ve taken them before when I was younger and didn’t like them. So I decided to see how I went as I have some experience with my yearly SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder, or winter depression) and I have my light that I use for that. This was much worse than my usual winter cycle, of course, with me in tears most mornings just contemplating getting out of bed (and I’m a mother so of course I have to get out of bed!). The light definitely helped and now that spring is finally here and the days are getting longer I am starting to feel better. It’s been a hard time for me and my family.
DH recently tried to come off the anti-depressant medication that he had been on since May last year (2010). He had finally spoken seriously to his doctor about his mental and physical state (thank goodness) and was diagnosed with depression after a couple of years of troubles. After DS was born he really struggled and I kept thinking he was getting better and then he’d fall in a heap again. He may have been getting better early last year I think, but then I got a new job and pregnant all at the same time. Great things, of course, but like all of us DH has trouble coping with change so it left him feeling stressed. He got sick about the time I got pregnant and took on the job and he was then sick for almost my whole pregnancy. This made things extremely difficult for me, as I was feeling pretty crappy all year (I was pregnant) and really just wanted to be able to rely on him to help. So very happy that he went on the medication because he started getting better slowly after that, at least mentally; the physical symptoms took a little longer. But, as I said to him, we won’t cope well with a new baby if he’s feeling tired and unmotivated all the time – I could barely get him out of the house on the weekends and he was having trouble dealing with people at work (not to mention the actual work). He couldn’t think straight about anything and we couldn’t do any planning for next week, let alone next year, as he could barely think past the next couple of hours. Anyway the medication got him back on track, thank God. Last year was difficult but this year ended up being worse. Without intending to make matters worse DH came off his medication about the time I started feeling bad. And as it turns out, we found out that DH needed longer on the medication to recover (the doctor had suggested that this might be the case) so he also started feeling bad again and had to go back on the medication.
We both feel like we’ve been stuck at the bottom of a big ditch with no way to get out of it. I had my birthday a month ago (42 years old, I can’t believe it’s been 21 years since my 21st party – it doesn’t seem that I feel that much older!) and I woke up on that morning knowing that DS was sick, DH was sick, it was the usual day for my mum’s and bub’s walk, but it was raining too. Great!! DH woke up that morning and said, “Well, Happy Birthday… I’m sorry it’s not going to be a very good day” Anyway, the mums and bubs came out with DD and I for a coffee and then DH and DS stopped at the florist to buy me some flowers on the way home from their trip to the doctors so it ended up being not too bad after all. It wasn’t until 2 weeks later I got my ‘real’ birthday present, a bottle of perfume that I wanted.
The last couple of months was then topped off quite nicely with the whole family getting a gastro virus a couple of weeks ago! Looking on the bright side of this, however, is that DD and I got it first so my hubby could look after us, then DH and DS got it a couple of days later, so at least I could take my turn and look after them. That I can actually look on the bright side at all is evidence that I am feeling better now, thank God. And ‘Touch Wood’, that things keep getting better for us.