Just over four months ago I was diagnosed with Post-natal Depression. I had been very open on social media through my business before my diagnosis about how I had struggled with the transition into motherhood, but I never expressed just how much and underneath everything I was really struggling. I didn’t tell my friends, my family or even my husband. As the days and weeks went on, I knew I couldn’t hide it anymore, I knew I didn’t want to go on feeling empty, regretting having my daughter and like I was going through the motions rather than being fully present. Since being diagnosed I’ve been writing about my journey in the hope that it will not only aid my recovery but also that it may help some other mummies out there.
A week after seeking help I made the decision to post about my diagnosis through my business social media. Posting that very vulnerable, honest and open post I was scared about the reaction. I felt incredibly embarrassed to be posting about my diagnosis and I wondered what people would think, would they judge me because I had chosen to share, would they think I was a bad mum?
But the love, support and messages I received were immense and incredibly overwhelming. There was no judgment (at least not from those commenting or messaging), just overwhelming support for a mum who was struggling. Since that point I had continued to be very open and honest about my diagnosis, my struggles, the process of receiving counselling and my road to recovery. The kindness and support from mostly complete strangers has been incredible. I’ve only to this day received one negative comment from someone I knew, who expressed their concerns for me posting such things online. People have asked questions, some I think have felt ashamed for me or not known how to ask how I am, some I think do not believe the diagnosis, some have asked about medication, but most have been very supportive!
The reason I made the decision to share my diagnosis and experiences, was a personal one and is obviously not something everyone wants to do but I knew for myself and my recovery talking about how I was feeling, how I had been feeling and how I was struggling it was important. I knew that by speaking up through the platform I had worked hard to create would be tough but I also hoped that somewhere within me sharing my struggling I may also help other mums who were struggling or who had been struggling to seek the help they needed.
For me, being open and honest about my experiences and exposing the very vulnerable elements of myself I have found myself better able to cope with how I have been feeling, acknowledge those feelings and move forward. I’m a big advocate for talking, especially when it comes to how I’ve been feeling. Posting throughout the first few months of my recovery, massively helped me to pinpoint the triggers, the emotions and the effects of certain situations or events.
I know that I have nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about. Having PND makes me no less of a mum or a human being. One in three mums suffer with PND. The stigma attached to mental health needs to be broken, so many parents suffer in silence, and afraid of what others may say, what may happen to their baby if they admit they need may need some help. It shouldn’t be this way. And I hope by sharing my experiences it may help other mums and dads to feel safe to go and seek the help they may need or just open up that conversation with someone whether through social media or face to face. Talking is such a great tool and I really believe that it’s the first step to recovery.