Post-Natal Depression can creep up on you… but it can be treated. Recognising the signs can help you gain access to treatment quickly and hopefully prevent it from becoming too severe. But how can you recognise that you have PND?
It is important to note that everyone experiences the symptoms differently and just because someone didn’t experience it the way you did, it doesn’t mean that you both experienced it. You may not even experience all symptoms.
The main symptoms of PND are:
- Low mood that is persistent. Sadness. It doesn’t matter how happy everyone is around you, the sadness just won’t go away.
- Low energy and tiredness. You could sleep 24 hours a day and it still wouldn’t make a difference.
- A loss of interest in the world. You don’t enjoy the things that you once did.
Other symptoms can include:
- You are unable to sleep at night but feel tired all day.
- Indecisiveness and lack of concentration. At my worst, I couldn’t even make a decision as simple as whether to have chips or mashed potato for dinner.
- You either have a poor appetite or comfort eat.
- Feeling agitated or apathetic (or both). Constantly. I, personally, couldn’t be bothered to do anything but then would feel agitated that nothing was being done. It is a vicious cycle.
- Lack of self-confidence. “I’m no good” featured prominently in my daily life. I didn’t feel I was a good mother. This leads onto the next point.
- Feeling guilt and self-blame. You feel that it is your fault if things don’t go to plan.
- Suicidal/self-harming thoughts. These are serious and if you are feeling this way please seek help quickly.
- Infanticidal thoughts. These can be frightening but are common. Only in a very small minority of cases are these thoughts acted upon.
Recognising PND in a new Mum
These symptoms are all well and good, however, new Mum’s who are feeling this way rarely talk about how they are feeling for fear of being thought badly of. It is important for those closest to a new Mum to recognise the signs. Be vigilant and watch out for:
- Frequent bouts of tears caused by nothing in particular.
- Lack of her usual sense of humour.
- Lack of bonding with her baby.
- Neglect of her basic needs.
- Constant worrying that there is something wrong with her baby, despite being reassured otherwise.
While you can recognise these signs, you will know your partner/wife best, if you notice any change in her please take note and support her.