Here is the part that makes me want to climb inside the internet and destroy all those pages of ill-advised advice about the dangers of taking antidepressants if you are breastfeeding: You can take antidepressants when you are breastfeeding. I know, because I recently did it. And guess what? It turns out me and my baby are fine...
When you go to the doctor to talk about 'feeling a bit down' they get you to do a Depression Questionnaire - like one of those multiple-choice quizzes you get in magazines, only not as fun. Just check 9 easy tick boxes for your chance to win a prescription for legal drugs and a leaflet on 'talking therapies'. #winning
I can still recall those early days when our second daughter was born in June 2012, endless tears; long periods of inactivity, terrified to leave the house caused by an unbearable anxiety and despite being surrounded by loved ones a feeling I can only describe as utter emptiness and isolation. This is how I remember seeing my wife in the summer of 2012. My heart still sinks when I think that at the moment our little treasure was born a part of my beloved wife died.
Ellie's piece resonated with me on a lot of levels, and I am so proud of her for advocating for something that ALL women and babies, of all socio-economic levels, everywhere, need and deserve. But it also got me thinking that something continues to be missing from this conversation. (I can say this, knowing that Ellie will have my back!)
My dear friend, you're going through a really rough patch, I can see it in your eyes. As a newly-minted Mum, you're still rocked to the core by the brutality of a difficult birth. You still feel like you are watching it over and over again as a third person, suspended from the ceiling in the delivery suite, no longer an active participant in the choices that may affect you for years.
You tentatively get out of bed and as you take each ritual step into the nursery you realise that your steps are a little lighter and the quick sand you feel yourself walking through most days is now more like a muddy puddle. Your head feels, dare you say it "clearer" and the morning routine not as daunting.
I am also not ashamed to admit that I am angry beyond belief that it chose me in the first place. I didn't want this battle. I just wanted to be a mum. I wanted the full Technicolor heart bursting moments, I wanted to be exhausted from night feeds rather than exhausted from trying to keep my panic levels under control.
There is no woman out there who has gone through the life changing and shit scary ordeal of bringing a tiny human, kicking and screaming into the world that can hand on heart say they have not thought at least once that they are losing their mind whether it be the result of one of "those" days or the early signs of post natal illness.
While people from the world of comedy are 'outing' themselves as depressives, I'm left wondering if this is doing the image of mental illness any good. Television programmes encouraging people to tell their work colleagues about their struggle with mental health are good in terms of raising awareness but aren't they potentially exploitative as well?