Surviving PND on a Deserted Patch

I had a traumatic experience giving birth and the consequences where it led to PND which was not really discovered for a year after giving birth. 

We were posted to Waterbeach on a closed down base, knee high grass and closed off building. It was like Chenobyl and my neighbor was my husbands’ boss who lived by himself and that was it.

I knew no one and had no friends or family nearby. 

My family were northern Ireland and my In laws, Oxford. 

Friends were either Northumberland, Tidworth or London. 

It was a huge struggle to make friends via baby group in the local village as a lot of the mums were a lot younger than me and where also part of a women’s refuge center so had already formed their cliques. 

I spent the first 6 months on my own.

We then got the order to move up to Grantham, again not on a patch, and 25 mins away from patch. 

I spent the next 6 months really struggling with my mental health, from crying all the time, to becoming angry and resentful, to feeling so lonely constantly feeling like I was no good as a mother or a wife, suicidal thoughts and attempts and feeling like I couldn’t talk to anyone or perhaps I was talking too much, and I didn’t want to be more of a pain.

Whilst preparing to return to work we walked around my son’s nursery and as we came out of the building I just got to the car, sat on the floor and broke down. (fact is I had broken down a few times before just not in front of my husband)

I didn’t want to move, I didn’t want to speak, and it was only then at month 11 that I finally went to see a Dr who I will never forget, he was a huge lovely Ghanaian man who gave me a massive hug and changed my world.

After being told It was all chemical related and down to giving birth, I felt a little bit more normal for a brief moment, and he just set out to support and help me. Ordering my husband to take time from work and ensuring I had the relevant people contact me and setting me up to take Sertraline in order to help balance that chemical inbalance in my brain.

Unfortunately it didn’t go to plan and I was let down by two systems after diagnosis. Firstly the NHS, as I had a community Healh Visitor who claimed she had visited me and had done all her visits she was asked to do by the GP, however when I went for a checkup with the GP, he read her notes to me and I had never actually met the lady or seen anyone in the weeks since I had last been sat in his chair.

This HV had faked her notes in order to seem like she had been visiting people and well long story short it was investigated and dealt with. 

Secondly the Military, my husband never took time off despite all of this mainly because he never felt comfortable being able to ask for it off due to it being my mental health. 

The fact it may affect an upcoming report and exercise too. 

I think now he wouldn’t have an issue as it is more supported now than it was 7 years ago.

Juggling life pre-diagnosis, as mentioned above, I went 11 months before I was diagnosed, it wasn’t great.  Very lonely, very lost within my own thoughts and guilt and anxiety that I was the worst thing for this tiny human being left in my care. 

I would never have harmed him, that was never a thought, it was always me wanting to exit life in order to save him from me mentally, I wanted better for him and I just wasn’t it. 

Attacking my own personality and my looks was always a massive insecurity for me too so I was my own worst enemy, HOWEVER, I am not sure if this is a boarding school mentality (I went when I was 6) I knew how to hide it, I knew how to play to the old-fashioned mentality of your thoughts are your business no one else’s. 

This didn’t give my husband the chance to help or know how bad it was until I didn’t come out of the bathroom one evening. 

In hindsight I would have spoken to someone sooner. 

Realised I was certainly not alone. I still couldn’t have spoken to family as they are from a generation where depression isn’t even spoken about, ‘pull your socks up and get on with it’ to a certain extent my husband was that way too. ‘Go for a run you will feel better,’ but I hid it well, so I never gave them the chance to try. 

Give people the chance to try! 

Motherload on Facebook, some of the stories on there are remarkable, heart breaking, and their blog is great too. 

It’s good for reminding yourself that this is something thousands of women go through and always have done, previous generations have gone through this…. they just didn’t talk about it.

PND can last up to 7 years or longer even if you feel fine in yourself day to day it can still be there in the background. 

After reading that I knew I needed to keep talking and go to the GP even if it was 6 or 7 years after my diagnosis.

Friends is my important resource. Joanne, Kira, Shishi, Nicky, Nikki, Nat and Amy……I literally wouldn’t be here without them. 

They knew and they supported me. 

Funny texts messages at just the right time, their angry rants of their husbands being muppets, pictures of their kids sneezing porridge on them, cocktails, forcing me to remove myself from home. Joanne taking me for walks around Belton house with the deer 3 times a week! 

Even thinking that you don’t have friends…..actually you will make them by just talking about it!