Postnatal Depression can feel like an attack on the mind and whilst the traumatic experience takes effect, feelings of loneliness become all-consuming. Masking all the signs with constant smiles and repeatedly telling anyone who asks that everything is fine becomes the norm.
It started to occur to me that I was experiencing PND around five months after the birth of my twins. Due to my current relationship, extreme sleep deprivation and limited help, I found it hard to consider at the time. Given the circumstances and my lack of awareness of postnatal depression, I could only assume those feelings were all rational.
The wickedness of postnatal depression was like an intruder had entered my head. I had previously likened the experience to a virus and we all know what a virus does to a computer. We, therefore, give it the necessary clean-up it requires to fix it.
Parenting at the best of times can be tough, alone with twins, no help and unsupportive doctors left me feeling remarkably isolated. Depression isn’t alien to me, but PND was on a whole new level and was petrifying.
The stigma that surrounds postnatal depression can indicate rejection of the child and parenting. This much is true I am sure, but that’s not what I encountered. Engulfed in high anxiety and paranoia, to the point that I didn’t want to be away from my children. If they went out of my sight for one second, I would flip and freak out.
Separation anxiety was a beast and something I had to try and resolve. The children were around fifteen months old and had never left my side. I felt smothered, like I was slowly losing my mind and in dire need of some space. The mentally abusing, distant and unloving relationship with their father was on its knees. I just wasn’t strong enough to deal with it, and I needed to get my head straight.
One Friday afternoon when the girl’s dad arrived home early from work, I took that opportunity to give myself that space and went to the local coffee shop. As I sat alone with my hot chocolate, I documented the moment on Instagram. Messages of encouragement came through from followers which instantly lifted me. I vowed that day I would make it my mission, to do something that was just for me at least once a week.
Since then, I have gone on to recover from postnatal depression as well as guide others in a similar situation. I feel very fortunate that I can communicate my experience via my blog, www.katrinabruni.com, and business, Goodness Gracious Gift. Both of which highlights the importance and urgency of self-care for women.
One of the most effective ways I can motivate others is by practising what I preach. Over the past eighteen months, I have made taking care of my mind and body a top priority. Also in this time, I started a new blog, a business, quit alcohol, and went vegan. By sharing my message and experience it has encouraged women to share their self-care moments. This has been truly wonderful and hearing how I have inspired others, inspires me to keep sharing this crucial message.
Self-care can be followed in numerous ways and can range from having a hot bubble bath by candlelight, exercising daily mindfulness or meditation. In addition, quitting bad habits such as smoking, drinking and over consuming refined sugar; meaning further positive lifestyle changes through the power of self-care.
It can be as big or as small you need it to be, it’s a case of making sure you incorporate it into your everyday plans. Personally, I make myself accountable by combining my self-care actions to my general to do list.
Postnatal depression will differ from person to person. It is imperative that you seek medical advice if you suspect you have PND. Self-Care is a wonderful supplement to traditional and conventional therapies.