Post Natal Depression – there is help for you locally

Posted by Kat Heath on 12 Jun 2018

You’ve just had a baby, after leaving the sanctum of your hospital bed and exiting the doors of the maternity unit the reality of your new arrival hits you.  You’re exhausted, overwhelmed and your body hurts all over.  You are dazed and confused.

Once at home the influx of visitors adds to the tiredness despite them having good intentions. You’re crying all the time. There is no routine, life is no longer as it was before your baby arrived. You feel numb and emotional.   This may sound very familiar to most new mums, however when are these feelings and emotions more than ‘baby blues’?

According to most healthcare professionals, ‘baby blues’ are a natural hormonal response to the labour and the beginning of lactation which should not last any longer than a week.  Symptoms are very similar to that of post natal depression however ‘baby blues’ is very short lived. (2-7 days maximum)  and symptoms include:

  • Crying,
  • Irritability
  • Weariness,
  • Exhaustion

However, Post Natal Depression is something which is more complex than ‘Baby Blues.’  Often the sufferer will experience the same symptoms as above in the first week of motherhood and also a feeling of being worthless or not being worthy of motherhood, lack of interest in activities you enjoyed prior motherhood, a sense of darkness or a fog hanging over you, feeling little or no bond with your newborn and more severely thoughts of self harm and suicide.

With both children I have suffered from Postnatal Depression and Post Partum Anxeity.  Both experiences were very different due to how I tackled it.

With my first son, Harry (who is now aged four) I had no understanding of postnatal depression, therefore I was in denial when I started to feel unlike me.  People would say ‘you’ve just had a baby…this is perfectly normal.’  and I wanted to show the outside world that I could do this motherhood thing, I had it sussed and that everything was fine. However it wasn’t.   The daily periods of non stop crying, the endless bouts of anxeity and continually feeling a sense of low self worth started to intensify to the point where my husband said the words I needed to hear:

‘You need help, you’re not well at the moment. We need to tell the Health Visitor.”

He was right. I’d been putting on a facade even to the Heath Visitor.  The next day I rang the Health Visitor and she recommended I had ‘listening visits’ which involved her coming round and letting me off-load any issues that maybe triggering my then current behaviour, low mood and emotions.  She also recommended an NHS online service called Mind Matters.

Mind Matters allowed me to refer myself to the relevant therapist without visiting the doctor which in itself can be a big obstacle for someone faced with depression.  The initial consultation is an online questionnaire regarding your symptoms and wellbeing. From this information a clinical therapist will contact you and book an over the phone assessment at a time convenient to you.  The phone assessment allowed me to articulate what my symptoms were and talk freely about my emotions and how I was feeling.

Following my assessment the clinical therapist recommended me CBT which is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. My sessions were weekly with an NHS therapist in Epsom.  CBT helped me challenge my thoughts and behaviour and how they form the revolving vicious circle of depression and anxiety.
It wasn’t easy and at times I found it hard to take a step back and challenge ingrained behaviours however in time from doing this I felt better.

In February 2018 I gave birth to my second child, Elliott.  Due to my previous experience with PND the staff at St Helier hospital were very supportive and advised me that I have an increased risk of developing it again therefore I needed to be open and honest with my assigned midwife and Health Visitor if symptoms were to resurface.

As predicted they did. My Health Visitor acted on it with such efficiency, she contacted my GP and I was offered an appointment within a day to discuss my treatment options. He recommended Mind Matters which I used previously, from which I made the necessary steps to be referred the correct treatment.

The therapist suggested an online treatment centre called Silver-Cloud which is a module led CBT course online run by the NHS and every few weeks I receive a review from the assigned therapist.
I set time aside to complete the modules usually when Harry is at nursery which allows me time to think and utilise the service fully.

In addition to this my Health Visitor enrolled Elliott and myself onto a NHS baby massage course held at one of the local sure start centres. It’s time for myself and Elliott alone without any distraction and enhancing the bond between us.

This time round I acted on the symptoms much sooner with the help of my doctor and health visitor and I’m pleased to say with the correct treatment I’m feeling myself. Well nearly!

If you feel you maybe suffering from Postnatal Depression or anxeity speak to your Health Visitor, GP or visit the Mind Matters website.

Other services include:

The Safe Haven.
Offering an informal space to discuss any issues surrounding mental health. No appointment needed.
The Larches, Waterloo Road, Epsom, KT19 8EX.
Opening times: 7 days a week 5-6pm

Mums in Mind. (Reigate)
An NHS funded group led by Cognitive Behavioural Therapists where you can share experiences with other mums who may feel the same as you.
Either contact your GP or Health Visitor for a referral or you can self refer by calling: 0300 012 0012.

Homestart (Epsom)
Founded in 1973, Homestart is the UKs leading family support charity which works closely with the NHS.
Offering home visiting support for parents suffering with depression or anxeity which may be affecting their daily lives. Volunteers will help with day to day chores and offer support.
Contact: 01737 379 902

Pregnancy and Birth Discussion Group.
A monthly group (2nd to last Saturday each month) where you can discuss positive stories surrounding birth. Ideal for mums to be suffering with prenatal anxeity which can lead to PND.
Epsom Downs Family Centre. KT18 5RJ

The Surrey Downs NHS Crisis Line: 0300 456 8342

If you feel you are in danger of harming yourself or others always contact: 999.

Kat xx

Kat Heath
Kat Heath is a qualified beauty therapist and a mum of two boys, Harry and Elliott.

Kat also has been a marketing ambassador and blogger for many on-line mummy sites as well as working as a therapist for Decleor, Clarins and Guinot within Selfridges, Peter Jones and John Lewis.

Her passions are fashion, interiors, wellbeing and food!

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