Postnatal Depression: The monster in my closet…

Due to a comment I received on my previous post, “Postnatal Depression:  A day in the life…“, I’m putting in a picture of how I imagine my Postnatal Depression Monster to look.  I have often joked in previous blogs about how I refer to my PND-M as a “he”, not a “she”.  For me, the answer was one I really had to think about.  But in the end, I believe it’s simply because monster’s are usually huge and strong in a physical sense.  This has NOTHING to do with my vision of inner strength as I believe “she” monsters would have that in droves too!  And besides, my monster isn’t too scary looking in my mind.  He isn’t “negative” in the frightening sense of what a monster’s image might conjure up for some.  He is actually quite cute… However, he is uninvited, distracting, and impacting my life in a negative way at this time.

My analogy of comparing my PND to a “monster” centres around my needing to visualise something physical to push back behind a door, to physically move something aside when it’s in the way, to feel victorious when I can no longer see it.  My analogy has my PND-M living in a closet of which he comes out whenever he feels like it to make his presence felt.  It is back into this closet I imagine myself pushing him, or beating him back with a broom (when I’m feeling strong enough).  Perhaps this is also the reason why I see my PND as a monster, because if he were human I would be in all kinds of trouble for my rough handling of the situation!  It is my intense hope that one glorious day I will be able to dispose of this closet all together and live my life free from the monster lurking within  (nb:  my closet is obviously free-standing, as otherwise I would need to move house!).  Whilst I also refer to my depression as a “weight” or a “cloud”, these are things much less tangible if I find myself wanting (or needing) to have the satisfaction of defeating them on any given day.  I really hope this makes sense.

So, please find below an image of my PND-M as he appears to me… I am very much hoping he can become a memory in my past of whom I can be proud of knowing and sharing this time with.  One day I know this will be the case… Just not at the moment.  🙂

I hope today is a great day for you,

TSM  xx

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10 thoughts on “Postnatal Depression: The monster in my closet…

  1. Great post’s…..I would refer to my depression as a Monster in the Closet. It’s a great analogy. It’s like its always lurking there in the darkness, waiting for the moment your unaware

  2. Emgy says:

    I can honestly say I’ve never thought of my PPD as a monster in my closet. I think it feels a lot more similar to someone who wants to be my friend and I desperately am trying to avoid befriending it/him!

    Its a great step however, to be able to visualize your PPD. I think once it seems/appears tangible, its a heck of a lot easier to deal with!

    • It’s great we all have our own ways of visualising our PND, although it stands to reason no matter what it’s depicted as it’s still VERY annoying and interfering! Thanks so much for your comment and hope your avoidance techniques are working. xx

  3. clairzilla says:

    I can totally relate to your monster in the closet analogy. I hope in time that monster moves away, to lurk somewhere else. To not wait until those moments when you least expect it to come out. Lots of strength to you, I know you’ll get there. xx

  4. Hope you’re feeling better first of all! Thank you so much for your monster description – I love the idea of you beating the thing back into the closet with a broom! Interesting that you’ve chosen an item of domesticity to beat your monster back… I bet if there’s any men out there who imagine their depression as a monster they’d beat it back with a huge Kalashnikov or cool James Bond gadget!.

    I too have been thinking about PND after your considered reply – and full other blog post – to my other comment, thank you. I honestly don’t know if what I had/have is PND or not. The worst period for me came when my younger child was one and a half and my older one was three and a half. So hormones were not to blame.

    For me, my adjustment to becoming a mother has been really tough for a number of reasons: my age (40+) lack of sleep (my 2nd child was two before she learned to sleep) – and all the physiological and emotional problems that can lead to – as well as sheer bloody tiredness!; physical problems I’ve developed post-kids – SPD in both pregnancies left me with a dodgy hip, tendonitis, plantar fasciitis and a back that’s all to shot; no time to myself with a partner that works shifts; several bereavements close together – my Dad dying a month before I found out I was pregnant; my Gran dying the actual day my first was born; my brother and father in law dying shortly afterwards; losing my job whilst on mat leave (and not being able to get another one!) – and coping with both the financial and self-confidence impact of that. And the sheer mundane-ness (if it isn’t a word it should be – for mothers everywhere!) and isolation of being a mother of two pre-school children in this culture.

    When I see all those things written down – which I haven’t done before for fear of sounding like a whinge bag! – I can see that’s it perfectly normal to be having a difficult time under the circumstances. So yesterday – which was one of my more challenging days in a tough month – I can accept that I did the best I could under the circumstances, whereas a year ago I would’ve beaten myself up about not getting my son to nursery til nearly 10am and bribing the kids with Penguins (yes, really – I know it breaks every rule in the good mothers handbook!) to stop my daughter’s 2 hour tantrum after throwing herself in a puddle – and hundreds of other decisions I made which probably could have been better. The biggest lesson I’ve had to learn over the past five years is to be gentle with myself and give myself a pat on the back every night for another day survived!

    Thank you for prompting my thoughts about my own personal experience – there’s definitely another post for my blog in there somewhere. And I’d better get on with my job interview prep now… (fingers crossed this time!) XX

    • My goodness, Kaye… WOW! After seeing all you’ve written above I can completely understand why you’ve been searching for answers with regard to how you’ve been feeling. My biggest issue has always been the expectations I place upon myself, and the guilt I’d feel for not being able to do things exactly the way I’d always done them. But like you, I’m now in a place where I can cut myself a bit of slack when these things happen and know that things are just different now, my ability to cope is not as it once was and that’s okay. It’s the hardest thing to do though! Being kind to yourself does not come easily which is very sad when you consider how much we devote to others and keeping things “together” for everyone else’s sake. As mother’s it’s just what we do, I guess. 🙂

      After my PND diagnosis (and by this time I was consistently in a VERY bad place, say 5 days out of every 7), I must say I struggled with the idea of being “labelled” with depression, as I come from a psychology background and do believe that “learned helplessness” exists and can impact certain people in negative ways. However, what I’ve since learned (again, only from my own experience) is when you are in that dark place, drowning, with no hope of getting your head above water, it is NOT normal. It is in no way a normal part of motherhood. It is the effect of a mental illness. Through a combination of therapy, medication, focus on a healthier lifestyle (eg. eating, exercising, etc), and having wonderful support around me, I have been able to breathe again in a way I had forgotten was possible. I was 8 months down the track when diagnosed and the relief from seeking help at that time is simply unable to be described in words.

      If you are interested, my earlier posts when I first began my blog explain my experience in a lot more detail. I cannot believe all the things you experienced during those first initial years with your children and honestly hope things are in a much better place now – ? Bad days obviously still occur, as you mentioned, but the odd one here and there is normal. My GP keeps reminding me of this! 🙂 Thanks so much again, and apologies for my “novel” of a reply! p.s. And best of luck with your job interview – will keeping my fingers crossed for you!

  5. jlee5879 says:

    Please stay strong and keep fighting!! Mine was definitely a cloud…you can see it here: http://jleesblog.com/2010/10/07/i-want-a-divorce-drama/
    It took time – lots of time – and work to move past it. I know you can do it. Praying for you!

    • Thanks, Jen, for your comment… I have read your blog also and I have to say the post you’ve referred to above had me in tears! I can so relate to that helplessness and feel for every mother who experiences the same. The time it robs from our ability to share positive moments with our children is just plain cruel… No one’s parenting journey should be clouded by this kind of pain and suffering. Thank you for your honesty and your wonderful way of writing. Big hugs. xx

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