For whatever reason, I’ve been a little reflective of my postnatal depression this week. I think it was down to the fact that I was actually on Twitter for the first time during a #PNDhour, (which is Wednesdays between 8-9pm) and I obviously got talking to a bunch of people about postnatal depression.So I thought I’d sit here and give an update on where I am now, almost 6 months after I first started experiencing it.
Postnatal Depression: Where I am Now
Personally I feel like it’s important to not only hear about people’s struggle with PND and the battle they went through, but also to hear something from those out the other side. After all, that’s what everyone wants, to be on the other side.
Depression is not a constant thing
My point here is going to be very simple: depression is not a constant thing. I think people get bogged down in the label of depression, and people often feel that when you have depression you are just always going to be depressed. But depression is not a constant thing. No emotion ever is. And, whilst we don’t really get much say in how we feel, we can help ourselves to feel much better.
So that’s what I’ve done. It wasn’t always easy, but I worked for this. I’m not lucky that I’m out the other side, I’ve earned it and I probably deserve it. All the mornings spent playing with Isabelle when I didn’t want to, the nights bathing her and drying her when it would’ve been so much less stressful to just let Rachel do it. Taking her away, constantly using the baby carrier and abandoning the pram, reading to her and all the other things I’ve done to create and build a bond have all paid dividends.
I know Depression is far more complicated than that
I’m not saying that all it takes to beat depression is the desire to be free from it. There’s much more to it than that. You can try everything you can and it’ll still be there. It has a horrible way of being like that. But I know from years upon years of experience, that it all starts with wanting to be free from it. And I mean deep down really wanting to be free. You have to find the motivation to get out of the dark place you find yourself in. This isn’t just about postnatal depression, it’s about depression as a whole.
This means fixing the things that you know don’t help. I learned a long time ago that it’s all down to me. Keeping myself on a healthy, low-sugar diet, getting regular exercise, limiting technology use, finding time to mediate or just breathe in and out for ten minutes with no distractions. It’s all a game of momentum. You get it going towards feeling good, you can keep it going. Does it work all the time? Will it rid yourself of depression quickly? Of course not, this might take a long time. But it takes persistence, discipline and something worth fighting for.
I can’t say I’ll always be free of depression, I know it’ll make the odd appearance every now and then, but I know how to handle it. When it comes I just accept that it’s there and know that it will pass. It’s as simple as that. But I think I’m free of the postnatal variety of depression. I can’t imagine myself ever disliking Isabelle ever again. I’ve always said that when I’m in a bad way, the only person I care anything about is my wife, Rachel. But now, I think I can add Isabelle to that small list, and that feels pretty amazing.
I know this isn’t the end of Depression for me
Despite my current positivity and the feelings I currently have towards Isabelle, I know depression is still lurking. At some point it will take over me again. It might even cause me to dislike Isabelle again. But I think I’ve grown to accept that depression is always going to come and go, I just have to learn to extend the good days and find more ways to stay ahead of depression. Right now, I feel like I’m well ahead of it. Let’s just hope it lasts.
As usual, here’s another vlog for this week. It isn’t the best, but I’ll get better:
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