Postnatal Depression: A day in the life…

I’ve posted before about days I’ve shared with the dreaded Postnatal Depression Monster (PND-M) jumping up and down demanding my attention (Postnatal Depression:  My shower, my sanctuary), and today has been yet another one of those days… Those suffocatingly dark, ugly, hurtful, and just plain YUK days.  I have to be honest and say I really don’t like writing when I’m feeling like this, but then I also know that this is real… This is what it means to have a “down” day and I would be lying if I didn’t let you know exactly how that feels for me.  And besides, writing it down sometimes helps me clear the muddled mess.  Sometimes.

Before I get into anything further, please just know I am not proud of myself on days such as these.  No wait.  Sometimes I am proud of the way I can place my “I’m-coping-just-fine” mask firmly in place and get on with my day as though absolutely nothing is wrong.  But there are other days of which I’m most definitely not proud.  Those days, like today, where everything gets the better of me from the moment I wake up and I lose all control.  All sense of reason and rational thought go flying out the window.  Those days when the reality of my situation sinks to the core of my being and I just can’t take it anymore.  When my instinct is to run… just run away and never look back.  Surely I would be better off on my own, right?  Surely my HF and my family would be so much happier if I just wasn’t here… right?

The PND-M has been literally beating me up today.  I am bruised, battered, and at a loss as to what to do.  He’s a hard beast to take on at the best of times and today he’s had the upper hand ALL day.  I feel like he hasn’t even let me come up for air, and it’s that suffocating feeling that terrifies me the most.  Instead of being able to rationally deal with what’s going on within my family, all I hear are mumbled versions of what people are trying to say.  All I see are looks in my direction implying no one has any idea what I’m talking about.  All I feel is the dread of knowing I have nothing left to offer anyone, let alone my family who need such a stronger, better person on whom they can rely than the broken version they currently have.

On days like this, it feels like everything I try to say gets filtered by the PND-M and what comes out of my mouth is bitter, twisted, and a cruel, hurtful version of the words I’m actually trying to say.  My ability to communicate with others, and with myself, is non-existent and I drown in the feeling of helplessness it creates.  I snap.  I react.  I don’t even think twice.  I hear myself saying things – viscous things – that shock me to the very core of who I am.  And all the while, that nasty PND-M just sits there in the back of my mind laughing at me.  Taking great pleasure in my pain, as if knowing if it weren’t for his presence my family would be a great deal better off.

But is it the PND-M’s influence?  Is he really the reason I act like this?  Or is this just me now?  I get so confused.  And so incredibly scared the latter is true.

A while ago I read a quote on A Beautiful Mess Inside ‘s blog, she said:

“I think our beauty and our mess go together and are simply parts of a whole, worthwhile, and lovable human being. The mess gives our lives texture, richness, and depth.” 

Whilst I know these words to be true, I just can’t see it nor feel it today.  I am desperately hoping against all hope tomorrow provides me the clarity I need to get things back on track.  I don’t have that clarity right now, in fact I’m struggling to just keep moving forward against the pressure of this cloud.  Surely the light through this darkness can’t be too far away, can it? Please don’t let it be too far.  I think I just need to go to bed so I can awaken tomorrow to a new day.

Through it all though, I do know I’m not the only person who’s ever felt this way… This (dare I say it) depressed.  But isn’t it absolutely amazing how isolated and alone you feel when your depression does overwhelm you… When those feelings take over your whole body, particularly your ability to reason and maintain control of everything you know to be true about yourself.  When the only question you want answered is:  Will this ever end?

I sincerely hope you are having a much better day and my apologies for not having anything more positive to say.  Next time… I promise.

TSM  xx

Remember:

Post Natal Depression Awareness Week is 18 – 24 November.  Please help spread the message that post natal depression is not all black and white.

Over 45,500 women and 14,000 men (15 per cent of women and 5 per cent of men) will be diagnosed with postnatal depression in Australia this year.   The more we talk, the more we can improve the well being of Australian families.

If you or someone you know needs help you can all the PANDA national helpline on 1300 726 306 or visit www.panda.org.au

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6 thoughts on “Postnatal Depression: A day in the life…

  1. First, I hope you’re feeling better soon – tomorrow. Sometimes all there is to do at the end of a day like this is to go to bed thinking you’ve done your best and tomorrow is another day.
    I love your picture – it captures what it sometimes feels like very well. I’m intrigued as to why you have made the post natal depression monster into a ‘he’; what makes it feel like a he? Would the monster feel any different if it were a she?
    For me, thinking of how I represented post natal depression helped a lot. I too would have been scared and anxious to be followed around by a monster. I decided to change my language – so I talk now of my post natal transition, rather than depression. It’s a little thing but it has really worked for me. And sometimes on really bad days, we need all the help we can get.
    Sending hugs XX

    • Thanks so much for your comments and kind words of support… In light of what you’ve said, I even wrote another blog with an explanation about what my PND-M means to me – I hope it provides some clarity into my thinking on this point in particular. Thank-you again, as had never thought to explain this in more depth previously.

      I also agree terminology is everything when dealing with something as impacting as PND. For me personally though (and I understand this may not be the case for all), to NOT label my experience as “depression” would actually devalue the importance of embracing and accepting the experience for what it actually is, and that is a mental illness. I am so happy you found something so simple that helped ease your experience so much. It is often the little things that make the most difference.

      I am so glad for your comment as it only strengthens my understanding of how truly unique the PND experience is for everyone it touches. x

  2. Andrea says:

    When I have down days, I also wonder if it will ever end & at times it’s hard to see the difference between my anxiety/OCD & what is really me now. I’m so glad that you wrote this out & were so honest. Even in my private journal if I wrote on down days, I would often delete or throw away those pages when I was feeling better, but I don’t do that anymore- I understand how important it is to record those down days too, as hard as it may be. I agree that even though we know when we feel like this that we aren’t the only one- it can be terribly isolating. I hope you start feeling better very soon & sending you big hugs.

  3. Hi Andrea and thank-you as always for your wonderful support. I believe we must be kindred spirits of sorts as we always seem to feel the same about these types of issues. The hard days are definitely the most important to embrace because without them we would not be the women we are today. And even though I can’t personally see it within myself on those days, I know those women are stronger, kinder, and more capable than they ever were before! 🙂 Big hugs to you too. x

  4. clairzilla says:

    Wow, so raw and so honest. Thank you for sharing. I can totally and utterly relate and by reading your story, I can know and understand that I’m not alone. I hope that by me telling you that, that you know you’re not alone either. That on those days where it all seems far too much to bear and on those days where you feel as though the weight of the world is on your shoulders, that you will be ok. That you will come through and you will be so much stronger for it. Xx

    • Comments such as yours are definitely the reason I write this blog… I used to be so nervous to be put these “dark” feelings out there and write honestly, but also knew that if I was feeling like that then other mums must be too. And if they could know they are not alone, then together we could all be that little bit stronger (which I know I am with the help of all of the wonderful mums I’ve come into contact with since starting). Thank you so much, I really appreciate your support. xx

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