I was at the doctors for my sick baby with my toddler in tow, her hand in a cast. She had undergone surgery on her finger the day before, going under general anaesthetic. It had been an exhausting 48 hours for all of us and the baby was totally congested with conjunctivitis. I had barely slept, likely hadn’t had a shower or any breakfast. I had scored an appointment with 10 minutes notice so had to wake the sleeping children and get them dressed in record time and bundle them into the car. We made it. A few minutes late but we made it. The baby was checked and then I had a question for the nurse about Jessica’s cast. I was on auto pilot so it was a bit surreal as I uttered the following words: who is best for me to talk to about post natal depression?
Cue kind questions, a concerned face *tears* and an appointment in half an hours time. My GP is a kindly old gent who gave me a blank stare as I was trying to describe my haemorrhoids one time so I was seeing someone else. It was a relatively quick appointment. Questions and my babbling and crying. The two kids right with me. The 3 year old concerned: don’t be sad Mum. You need to be happy.
I mean what do you say. “I will be ok darling. Mummy is getting some medicine”
And so I started on antidepressants. There was no discussion about side effects and I didn’t think to ask. I was instructed to take them in the morning and boy did I feel zonked for the first 3 days. I probably should have been warned as corralling two juniors is that much harder when you can barely keep your eyelids open and everything feels in slow motion. Dr Google and a PND support group helped me to realise that it takes about two weeks to adjust and drowsiness can be a side effect. I also had nausea. However I felt different (relief) immediately. More even. Situations feel less high stakes. My reactions less intense. The drowsiness and nausea lifted after 3 days and now I’ve just lost my appetite and thirst so I have to make a point of eating and drinking. I also feel like grinding my teeth. But I now realise how bad things were. Even when I thought I was OK. I am worried I’m losing bits of myself. I feel very withdrawn whereas I normally like to be around people. I feel like I’ve been taken down a few notches, which was needed, but I’m feeling very subdued and like I’ve lost my spark and passion.
It’s less than a fortnight in, so early days. Perhaps I have some more adjusting to do. I do need to make an appointment next week to review so I’ll go armed with questions.
I know most people keep these things to themselves but this is an important part of my journey. I’m sure I had PND first time around too, but it was hard for me to differentiate between stress and depression. The Edinburgh questionnaire was an eye opener, but I think they are missing some key questions. Anger is a major symptom for me and it’s not covered.
I do feel better for it. I’m glad there’s something practical I can do to make a difference to my day to day. I just need to adjust to my new normal.