When Heidi from hit92.9 asked me to write a piece about my story with Depression and Anxiety for her Website I did not think twice and immediately said yes. Mental Illness is a topic I feel so strongly about and think it should be spoken about a lot more.
After I had my baby boy and continued to have medical issues I knew that there was I a chance it could lead into Depression and in February (6 months after my son was born) I finally admitted to my husband that I thought it was time I got help. I remember feeling scared, numb and very nervous about going to my GP as a huge part of me was in denial and didn’t want to believe that I could have a problem. In the lead up to going to my GP, I was struggling with a lot of things such as- constantly wondering and worrying if I was a good mother to my baby, good enough wife, taking almost a week every week to do the housework, staying home constantly and not wanting to see anyone. The sleep deprivation and the problems I suffered during and post pregnancy also contributed. Looking back now, one thing I regret massively is also not going to my mum or my mother in-law to talk about what I thought was going on with myself.
The day of my appointment with the GP arrived and I woke up feeling so nervous and scared particularly because my husband wasn’t going to be at my appointment with me. I walked into the doctor’s office and she took one look at me and said: “this isn’t the Daniela I know, there must be something going on”. As soon as she said that I broke down into tears. As hard as it was trying not to cry in front of my son, I couldn’t help but cry. Once I eventually calmed down I completed the Edinburgh Depression Questionnaire. This is where you answer questions about how you felt within the last 7 days. After I completed the questionnaire, I looked at the doctor and could tell what she was about to say. When I heard the words “you have Post Natal Depression” I instantly went numb and felt so upset as I felt that I had failed as a mother. After going through the different options on how to treat the depression I decided the best thing for me would be to go on medication (I do not feel ashamed to admit that I am on medication for a few months).
I have been on Medication (Anti-Depressants) since February and will continue to be on them until my doctor is satisfied there has been progress. Since starting there has been some improvement. I have to admit before starting them I was very wary about taking the medication as I didn’t know if they were going to work or if they would have any side effects on me. I was also so worried about people finding out as I didn’t want anyone to think differently of me or not want to be friends with me because I have depression.
At this point, no one knew what was going on except Matt and a couple of really close friends who I trust immensely. Not even our immediate family knew. Two weeks after starting the medication I had decided it was time to tell both sides of our families about what was going on. Thinking back about it now I have no idea what I was so worried about telling them because when I did tell them they were so supportive and very understanding of my situation. Both our parents have been absolutely amazing through this whole thing and I’d be so lost without them in my life. Up until a month ago, things were looking up for me and I had begun to feel a bit more of myself. I was beginning to get more of my self-confidence back, enjoying things again, started to learn how to not let negative things said to me get to me. I had also joined to gym again to get myself back into shape. Between March and now Levi has started to learn more developmental things and I was really enjoying him grow more and more every day.
I knew that even though I’m not completely cured yet that things were improving and looking brighter for me. Things started to go downhill a little for me from the beginning of April which had taken a toll on me physically and mentally.
As things were beginning to look up for me, there was so much going on with my young family that had begun to take its toll on me physically and mentally. Between March and April our son had started to have a few medical issues (which I will not go into detail about). I began to stop looking after myself and was so focused/worried in making sure he was ok and getting the help he needed.
When my husband and I found out he required surgery, I immediately broke down and kept asking why is this happening to him at such a young age? When people found out he required surgery they couldn’t understand why Matt and I were so concerned and worried as it is a simple and very common surgery. What people didn’t understand was that even though we knew it was a very common surgery which is very common in young children it was not very common in young babies as young as our son and when it’s your own child having surgery who has no idea what is going on, it makes things very difficult.
A month leading up to it I was feeling ok and prepared but on the Sunday before his surgery, I had sudden onset chest pain (around the heart), couldn’t breathe properly, tingling up and down my left arm. I thought I was having a heart attack and was going to die. I was taken to a hospital via ambulance and after multiple blood tests I was told that it was nothing cardiac which was a huge relief but the blood tests had come back a little raised so wanted to do a CTPA (CT scan with dye) so they could check if there was clotting on the lungs. Thankfully though that scan came back all clear. After spending 30 hours in hospital it turns out that I, in fact, had a massive Anxiety Attack and it finally hit me that Levi was having surgery. After discussions with the doctors and Matt, we thought it was time, I went to get extra help.
I went to my GP and said that as well as being on medication I needed extra help. It was there that she put me on a Mental Health Plan and referred me to a Phycologist who specialises in Post Natal Depression and Anxiety. I have been to a few counselling sessions now and I have to admit it’s beginning to help me a great deal.
I am still on medication and I hope in the next month or so I can look at slowing it down. I still have my ups and downs but things are finally looking brighter for me and having the most wonderful support io have is the best thing in the world.
Do not be afraid to speak up and admit you may need help.
You are not alone
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