Postnatal depression is without a doubt a tough illness to go through.
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It can be a scary time where you barely recognise yourself and the emotions you go through.
The more support you can find for yourself and your family, the easier it will be to get through it, so do call on any friends, family or professional support you can, whilst suffering.
Then the first step is to see your G.P who will be able to first diagnose you, and then look for any relevant services in your local area.
There are lots of different services depending on how you are affected, some mums need to be with other people and find it easier getting through the days this way, often hating to be alone, other mums really can't deal with meeting or seeing people at all, so need the online /phone support services. (like ours at APNI) It is so important to do what feels best for you and don't feel pressured if you can't always manage what you have planned. There will always be tomorrow.
As well as the emotions and anxious feelings you go through there is often also the huge added problem of sleep deprivation. This can cause a whole range of problems, we all know lack of sleep makes absolutely everything, so much harder. The best thing is to see your G.P and chat through your experiences and see what they have to offer. Alternatively, many Health food Stores stock a range of natural remedies that can often help, always check contra-indicators of any other medication you are taking.
The obvious things to try are things like some form of exercise (new research is showing this can be very helpful with PND) and a brisk walk in the fresh air can be manageable for most mums. If there is anyone available who can help with night feeds in the early stages, this is something that can help, although often it is the anxiety keeping you awake and not the baby, so getting treatment for the depression side of things is so important, as this can help your sleep return to normal.
Bubble baths and lavender pillow mist are nice little treats that can be a good way to relax, even if it doesn't send you straight to the land of nod! Also as a trainee reflexologist myself I can honestly say if you are in a position to book yourself some form of alternative therapy, these can definitely be a relaxing bit of time out that can often help sleep, not for everyone but definitely for many.
Also never underestimate the power of naps. They really do add up for a sleep-deprived mum so, if baby is sleeping and you have had a bad night, try and put your feet up too and at least rest your body, even if you can't actually sleep. Little rests throughout the day really can help you make it through, obviously if you have friends or family who can take over and allow you to rest too this can be a huge help and remember, this is something that won't be forever so do use any available help while you can.
The main thing with PND related sleep deprivation is to treat the depression and then sleep should follow, and in the meantime, be kind to yourself. Try not to worry about jobs that can be done at a later date and ask for any help or support that is available...it is temporary and won't be forever.
Any day you would like to chat to someone about any aspect of PND please feel free to call one of us on the helpline at APNI.
The APNI helpline operates Monday to Friday to 10.00am and 2.00pm on: 0207 386 0868.