Today is national Time to Talk Day – the aim is to get people talking about mental health and to keep these conversations going. According to the Time to Change Website 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem each year. Too many people feel there is a stigma attached to mental health problem and they keep it bottled up. The aim of Time to Talk is to do just that, get people talking, offer support and remove the stigma. With statistics showing that so many people are affected by mental health problems the chances are that you know someone affected and you could be the difference they need.
Post Natal Depression – my struggle
Mental health problems affect people in many different ways. In 2007 my first son was born when I was 24 years old. Nothing really prepares you for being a mum but I didn’t expect what happened next. I think the problems started even before Will was born. If I’m honest I wasn’t happy but couldn’t really articulate how I felt. The midwifes came around to talk to me about ‘baby blues’ in hospital but I told them what they wanted to hear. I was exhausted I’d just given birth and my emotions were all over the place.
At my worst I had some horrible thoughts. I thought Will was going to fall out of a window and die whilst I was in hospital, but pushed this to the back of my mind. When we got home things got worse I didn’t know what I was doing and didn’t want to be left alone with the baby. I cried at my husband when he would leave for work in the morning and beg him not to go. It really came to a head in week 3, I asked my husband to make the call to whoever would come and take the baby away. This was a turning point and he realised I needed help.
What helped me
I was lucky I got the help I needed, I was given anti depressants which really helped me. I also had the support of my family. There was a counsellor at my doctors surgery I could talk to and the health visitors also gave me a lot of support. At the time I felt like an awful mother, who doesn’t want to be around her baby? In reality I was very lonely, I was the first of my friends to have kids and I felt alone and isolated. Going to baby groups helped to get me out of the house and after a few months I was able to start feeling normal.
Since having two further children I realise just how much I missed out on with Will. It took a lot longer to build that bond with him. In fact one of the reasons we had Ben so quickly after Will was that I felt I had to prove I could do it ‘right’. I now know there is no ‘right’ way to parent a baby.
Time to talk
I felt ashamed when I had Will at how much I struggled. If only more people talked about how hard it is to have a baby and how lonely it can be. I felt like a failure for a long time. I’m happy to share my story as I want other women to know they aren’t alone. If we all talk about it we can help each other.
Since having Darcey last year I had a bit of a blip, nothing serious but I wasn’t happy. I don’t know why, I had everything in the world I could ever want but I was just sad. Again I talked to my husband and friends and got through it. It was no where near as bad as when I had Will and I didn’t need to take any medication. I took time out from blogging and just took things easy last summer until I felt like ‘me’ again.
So please share, please talk about it. Please reach out and offer support to friends, family and colleagues. You could be the difference.