So up to now I have discussed various topics, including Stereotypes of mental illness, how hurtful comments can affect you and many more. All the posts I have written have a common theme – my personal experiences.
I feel the most powerful tool in ridding stigma towards mental health is to use personal experiences and tell your story. We have all lived through different experiences and we are all experts in our own lives, thoughts and struggles. Due to this, we all have the power to really make a difference and smash every ignorant view out of the park.
The only negative I have found however, is that with only having my own experiences, I can only discuss my own illness. What I can’t do is discuss the many other mental health conditions because I don’t feel qualified to do so without any experience. This is where interviewing came along.
I have asked some questions to various other mental health sufferers about their condition in order to gain slight insight to their views and experiences. I believe we need to support each other and remember that mental illness come in all sorts of different variety’s – just as physical illnesses do. As well as blogs on my own experiences I shall be doing a short series on other people’s experiences – starting this week with Post Natal Depression.
I have spoken to a lovely young woman about her experience of Post Natal Depression which is described on the NHS website as a ‘type of depression that many parents experience after having a baby’. For more information or advice on this matter please click NHS Post Natal Depression page. I am really grateful to of been inspired by this person to broaden my horizons in terms of MH blogging and would just like to thank herfor inspiring me to write this and for being so courageously open. The interview went as follows;
1. How does PND affect your daily life
My PND affects my daily life quite heavily. I suffer with really bad anxiety to the point where I cannot leave the house some days, I constantly worry and have intrusive thoughts about my two children being taken from me if I turn my back for 2 seconds so I much prefer to go out with my partner with us. I also wake up every night in a blind panic that I will find one of them not breathing or their beds empty. These are things I know are very unlikely to happen but I can’t help but think these things. I also worry about day-to-day, general things too such as them choking or furniture falling on them, I have ‘visions’ of these things happening at least 3 times a day.
2. What are common misconceptions about your MH Condition?
When I realised I had some form of PND I was so worried that people would think I don’t love my babies or that I can’t look after them properly, which is not the case, I love them more than anything just like any other mother loves their child. This is why I didn’t tell anyone about it for over a year after my first baby was born. I was also worried about telling the doctor as I thought it meant I would be automatically referred to the social services as an incapable mother. For anyone else worrying about this or similar, this is not the case!
3. Have you found anything that helps your symptoms?
Exercise definitely helps my anxiety and stress levels significantly. I do a short work out every day and go to a class every Wednesday night and I find it really lifts my spirits if I’ve been feeling particularly anxious. I also have a self-help book on anxiety, given to me by my sister who suffered panic attacks a few years ago and it has helped me look at it from a different perspective. I definitely recommend reading about what you’re going through as it helps you feel more ‘normal’ as you realise so many people go through the same thing you are
4. Do you have a message for anyone else suffering with PND?
My message to anyone else suffering with PND is ‘post natal depression is an illness and not a reflection of you as a mother or as a woman.’ I found this quote on Instagram and it really helped me.
This is the first of many interviews I will be holding to try to raise awareness and rid stigma in all aspects of mental health. Remember that it’s okay to talk and no matter how you may sometimes feel – you’re not alone