When it comes to depression, it’s incredibly important to have a place to be able to talk openly and honestly about how you are 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 struggle. Or maybe perhaps, there isn’t anywhere a person feels like they can go where they can open up, and talking to their family isn’t something they feel comfortable with either. That’s where the internet 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.
I’ll admit, that I found online support pretty late in my postnatal depression, and by the time I stumbled upon things like the #PNDHour 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, other people’s recoveries, and most importantly, it helps just being able to get things off your chest in an open, accepting environment.
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. So having other people tell their stories, all coming from various stages as parents, can help prepare you for what lies ahead, and help you to put your situation into better perspective. 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 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.
At the moment, I use two places for postnatal depression support online. One is a Facebook group, and the other is the #PNDHour that’s hosted every Wednesday between 8 and 9pm on Twitter. Rosey, the founder of the #PNDHour and PNDandME said this about the 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”
The great thing about online support is literally any person, from any place, can find help. You can be utterly isolated, have absolutely no physical support but 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. If you don’t, then what do you do to waste time online? Or are you just really efficient and don’t procrastinate like I do?
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.