Thursday, September 13, 2012

(Post Natal) Depression

Today is "Are you OK?" Day and
this is my personal experience on depression.

I've always considered myself to be positive and resilient hence I never thought I would ever be depress. Perhaps upset and sad but never depress. Well, I couldn't be more wrong.

It took place when I was in hospital after having delivered two healthy and beautiful babies. I was on cloud 9 for 4 days - gawking, admiring, cuddling, kissing the children and my heart was (and still is) overflowing with love, appreciation, gratefulness and pride. One would think - surely, this can't be breeding ground for depression?

Well, yes and it was just the beginning.

You see, when you are pregnant and in my case, with multiples - there's a lot of "happy hormones" and adrenalin surging through one's body. For good reason, it has to see you through the sleep deprivation, the shock of being a mother, the bodily changes, etc. Eventually, those "happy hormones" will go away which leaves a blank and reality hits!

It happened to me on Day 5 - the day we left hospital. I went into shock and have never be that petrified in my life. Petrified to bring my children home even though this was my desire and wish while pregnant (we are so thankful that the children were birthed at full-term and did not require NICU).

I literally stopped gawking, admiring, cuddling and kissing the children.

Allow me to back track here so that the next part of this story makes sense to you.

Whilst in hospital, I had several midwives and there was one in particular whom I became very close to. Her name is Janice. Her care and attention was phenomenal. Every afternoon when the babies napped, she would sit down with Jared and I - go through crucial information such as the physical changes my body will continue to undergo for the next 12 months, contraception and importantly, depression.

She went through the symptoms such as feeling beyond out of control, dark thoughts and being totally out of character behaviours. What I had to do and what Jared needs to do to support me through. Janice read me very well during those few days and told Jared that all he needs to do for me is not to tell me what to do but to hug me and just be there for me. She is absolutely spot on.

Okay, back to the main story.

As with any parents with newborns, despite being overwhelmed and all, we knuckled down and did what we had to do to care for the children. Thank goodness, we read really useful books throughout my pregnancy hence we had a fair idea about the operational aspects of caring for twins. We made the decision for Jared to stay home for 6 weeks and not to have any help because we wanted to work things out for ourselves without getting conflicting and sometimes, outdated advice from very well-meaning friends and relatives. My parents from overseas arrived three days before Jared went back to work so that they could take over and support me.

Fast forward 6 weeks after bringing the babies home, I knew something was amiss with me. Granted, I was very sleep deprived, felt like a cow with the intensive feedings and constant double breast pumping, no time to myself, etc. I just knew something was not right.

I could see and hear what Janice shared with us. Immediately, I rang my trusted local GP to make an appointment (the moment I mentioned the word 'Depression', I was placed on priority and seen within the hour!), rang Jared at work and told my mum who was cooking in our kitchen.

My GP was very supportive, kind and patient. He gave me a one page questionnaire which I had to complete on the spot. He analysed my answers and told me what we both knew -  I had Post Natal Depression. A mild form, according to him. My oh my, if what I was going through was mild what would severe be like! I was also prescribed with the "happy pill" (cut into half) to get my brain into gear. Following that, I saw my GP every month for a chat. After 8 months, I was off the pills.

My mum was with us for 5 months and during that time she was instrumental in supporting me through the day. She ensured that we went out every single day, cooked all the meals and took over all the household chores and importantly, cared and loved my children as much as I do. Oh yes, she was also my listening ear when I felt like talking. She's a wonderful mummy to me, doting grandmother to my children and supportive mother in law to Jared.

Jared was simply wonderful in every way. He knew exactly what to say and not to say. He knew what to do and not to do. He never resented me and in fact was even more caring and loving.

Indeed, I am very bless and lucky.

Now, if you think someone's unhappy or generally out of sorts, ask "Are you OK?" because this one simple question might prompt them to speak to you  / someone. Importantly, it may even save their life.

Support is also offered from the following groups:

The Australian Multiple Births Group (AMBA), to connect with them, click here

Perinatal, Anxiety & Depression Australia (PANDA), to connect with them, click here or phone their national helpline 1300 726 306

No comments:

Post a Comment