When it comes to postnatal depression, it’s incredibly important to have a place to be able to talk openly and honestly about how you’re feeling. You have to be able to find support from others who have been where you are or empathise with your situation. The only problem is, that people often find it difficult to open up in front of others, face to face. I know I would. There’s also the the fact that not everyone has local support available to them. That’s where online support comes in.
These days, it really doesn’t matter where you live, chances are you can find access to the internet. I believe the mere fact that you’re reading this is testament to that. And if you can, then you can open yourself up to a world of support.
How Has Online Support Helped with Postnatal Depression?
I’ll admit that I found online support pretty late in my postnatal depression journey. By the time I stumbled upon things like the #PNDHour or the support group on Facebook I was on the verge of fully recovering. Or so I thought.
Even now I still have off days. I guess I’m never really going to be fully clear of depression, and I’ve accepted that. I also know that I’m not the only person that the previous sentence is true for. But going online and talking to others who are experiencing their own version of depression helps. It helps reading about other people’s struggles. Reading about people who have recovered, and most importantly, it helps just being able to get things off your chest. Especially in an open, accepting environment.
We’re All In It Together
Let’s be honest, having a baby is hard work. It doesn’t matter what stage you’re at in the parenting journey, difficulties can arise at any time. I know postnatal depression is usually something that is assigned to someone shortly after the birth. But depression related to being a parent is still a real thing. Maybe it doesn’t count as postnatal depression if you’re struggling with a five year old. But it doesn’t matter.
Depression can show itself at any time in a persons life. So being prepared, and having people out there who can help can be invaluable when you find yourself in a place of need.
I may not feel like I necessarily need online support that often these days, and I have a pretty open dialogue with my wife, so I tend to talk to her about things. But I still try to involve myself in it when I can. I like to think that I can occasionally help others, or at least be there if needed, and when something isn’t quite right for me, then I already know help is on hand.
Online Support on Twitter with the #PNDHour
When it comes to online support for postnatal depression, the first place I think of is Twitter. And more importantly the #PNDHour. It’s hosted every Wednesday between 8 and 9pm with Rosey, the founder of the #PNDHour and PNDandME. She said this about the PND hour and online support in general:
“I set up PNDandMe and subsequently #PNDHour as a result of experiencing postnatal depression with each of my three children, and having no access to in person peer support. It has helped me to connect with others who are either recovered or just starting their journey with mental illness as a parent. We connect and support one another to seek help and to ultimately not feel alone. There is real power in the words, ‘Me too’ when it comes to suffering with a mental illness as a parent”
If You’re Struggling Just Reach Out
The great thing about online support is literally any person, from any place, can find help. It’s easy to find yourself isolated, have absolutely no physical support but you can still find people out there who are willing to help and listen. All you need is the internet. Well, then maybe a Twitter and Facebook account, but I dare say you already have at least one of those.
Either way, if you do find yourself struggling, please reach out to someone in some way. If you’re not the type of person who likes vocalising your feelings in person, then come along to one of the online groups and share how you’re feeling.
This post was written as part of my Postnatal Depression Toolkit. It’s basically a page with all the suggestions, like this one, on ways to help with postnatal depression. I suffered it shortly after Isabelle was born, and I really want to help others recover from it like I did.