The Happy Mum That Wasn’t Happy

by Renee Greenland

I was diagnosed with Post Natal Depression when my first child was 6 months old; but I struggled for a long time before I finally went to the doctor …

When I was pregnant, I ensured everyone in the family (especially my husband), knew that I might get Post Natal Depression. Our family has a history of anxiety, and Post Natal Psychosis; so it was really important to me that I just put it out there in the open.

As much as I was ridiculously over the moon excited to become a mother, nothing prepared me for the moment when my daughter was born. Suddenly I was thrown into a situation where I had never been before – holding something that I had grown inside of me.

It’s never going to be the same

I didn’t recognise her. I didn’t know who she was and I believe this was the moment things started going haywire in my head.

I also struggled big time coming to terms with the fact that my life prior to children, was over. Every day I sat there very sad that it was never going to be the same. It was like I was going deeper and deeper into a dark tunnel and I couldn’t see any light.

Sleep deprivation almost killed me. My daughter was also a happy spiller, which meant nothing was wrong with her, we just had to wait for her to grow out of it. However, because she spilled all of the time, I felt like I couldn’t go anywhere because it would literally get EVERYWHERE. So that made me sad too.

Weeks of being sad, turned into months until suddenly the sadness turned into anger

An uncontrollable rage that would come over me and blind me. I couldn’t see outside of the rage.

I would yell, and scream, and cry, and punch things (the wall, the fridge) … it was terrifying. I couldn’t see how to get out of it. Along with the anger, came the thoughts of failure. Of guilt. Of ending my life.

I felt like no one, especially my husband, understood how I felt. I felt so alone. So it just got worse.

Finally, one day I just couldn’t do it anymore and I lay on the ground screaming and crying and thinking terrible things about myself.

That’s when I realised something wasn’t right and made an appointment to see my doctor.

It wasn’t just me – it was my brain

When he asked me the questions and looked at the results he said “I can see you’ve been struggling for a while” and I burst into tears.

Finally someone understood and had acknowledged something wasn’t right. It wasn’t just me – it was my brain.

It felt like a cover had been lifted, and I was suddenly relieved. When I first took my medication I believe it worked from day 1 (even though it didn’t) – because I felt better about everything.

5 years on and I still struggle

Usually it’s around feelings of failure as a mother, or just because of the overwhelmingness that is children – the constant bickering or asking the same questions over and over. If I’m having a bad day then those will affect me so much that I almost won’t be able to function.

To deal with my post natal depression on a daily basis, I make sure I communicate how I’m feeling ALL THE TIME. If I’m having a bad day, the first thing I do is phone my husband and let him know. That way when he gets home it’s not a surprise. My husband is honestly my absolute rock, and has helped me through many bad days.

I also try and eat as healthy as possible. I have recently been diagnosed with Coeliac Disease and have found that when I eat gluten, my mental state worsens. I get quite moody and irritated when I eat anything with gluten in it. So if I stick to a gluten-free diet, and eat healthy, it certainly helps.

I love telling the story of my journey with depression because the more we talk about this, the easier it is for others to speak up about how they’re feeling. Thank you Renee for allowing me this opportunity.

Maria ~ Happy Mum Happy Child

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