I hadn’t intended to post again so soon, but I heard snatches of a programme on Today FM this morning (the podcast isn’t up yet but hopefully it will appear here – http://media.todayfm.com/podcasts/popup) that got me thinking. Three women were being interviewed about their experience of PND, and all spoke very openly and honestly. I didn’t catch the full interview, but from what I did hear there were some common themes that really resonated with me – anger, fear of admitting to it, and partners bearing the brunt of it. It really made me think, and all of this I can identify with, in particular the anger.

For me, anger played a huge part in my PND. It was for the most part completely irrational, and would blow up over nothing. It wasn’t the kind of anger you get when someone cuts you off in traffic, or the skybox doesn’t record the last 5 mins of the last episode of Homeland (although that is truely frustrating) It was all consuming, instant, explosive rage, terrifying, usually out of the blue and extremely hard to handle. For me, it tended to come up when I felt I had nowhere to turn, and was often fuelled by exhaustion, feeling out of control, and an inability to soothe a screaming small person. Inadequacy was also a factor here – why couldn’t I give my baby what he (and later she as PND happened after both) needed? Why couldn’t I stop the crying? (And my god there was a lot of crying – they both had chronic reflux).Why couldn’t I cope with the crying? In the early days, I’d call Hubby, but really what could he do? For starters he was usually at work and so not able to get involved in lengthy conversations with a completely irrational wife. He also struggled to understand the extent of my anger, and really was at a loss as to how to deal with it.

As time wore on, the anger started to turn inwards, and Bitchface really came to the fore in a big way. There was nothing I said to myself that was positive, self affirming, gentle, kind…….and I mean literally, nothing. As far as I was concerned, I could do nothing right. I made completely unrealistic comparisons with other people, and constantly came up wanting. I was a failure as a wife, as a mother, everything. When the anger came, I would internally roar at myself and what I saw as my multiple and profound failings. It just got worse and worse. After D, my first, I struggled for a long time on my own, and when he was about 5/6 months, it was actually anger that prompted me finally, to go to my GP. There had been plenty of tears as well, but the anger scared me, because I started to physically take it out on myself. The only way I could break the hold the rage had on me was to hit myself, hard and repeatedly. Usually it was on my head, but I would also hit my torso, my legs, anywhere I could reach. It wasn’t a planned action, usually I would have done it before I was even aware I was thinking of it. Thankfully it was always in private, and now that I think of it, usually the bathroom, and never around the kids or Hubby. As far as I’m aware, no one has ever witnessed this, and for that I’m extremely grateful. However lost I was, I still wanted, and managed, to protect my kids from it. When I knew the anger was reaching a point that I couldn’t handle any more, I took myself away from everyone.

This anger didn’t resolve over night. Medication didn’t make it go away. It took work, so much painful, slow work, and a lot of tears and frustration. It wasn’t really until I met Therapist that I managed to address it properly, and even then it took years. It lessened between babies and then came back with a vengeance after M. Thankfully now I have much more self control, and I haven’t experienced that kind of intense anger in a long time. The last few weeks I’ve certainly had reminders of it, and I guess for me it will always go hand in hand with depression. It’s another flag, another warning sign that things are slipping. But, I know that now. I’ve done the hard work, and if I can continue to be mindful of myself and how I’m doing, I’m optimistic that that particular aspect of me is well and truly consigned to the past.

This article has 5 Comments

  1. So proud of you Fi, and how far you've come. Your two little smashers are testament to the woman you are – the most patient, devoted, loving and protective mother I've ever seen, whatever Bitchface might try and tell you 🙂 If I can be half the mother you are, Aoife will be a lucky child. Love you x

  2. GREAT TO READ THIS IM CRIPPLED WITH ANXIETY AND PND AT THE MO.THIS HELPED TO KNOW IM NOT ALONE IN FEELING THIS WAY..TIME TO TAKE A TRI P TO THE DOC,AS IM TIRED OF FEELING THIS ANXIOUS FEELING IN THE PIT OF MY STOMACHE DAILY ,IT DOESNT GO WAY,PANICKING ABOUT EVERYTHING .I HATE FEELIING LIKE THIS.MY SON IS NEARLY 3 MONTHS OLD AND HAS ACID REFLUX AND WIND THAT CAUSES HIM TO CRY ALOT..TS VERY STRESSEFUL.:( IM A CRANKY PANICKY MESS

  3. Hi I hope somebody reads this and that it will help them. I have two children, 2.5 yr old and a 2 month old. Last year, while pregnant with my second, in hindsight, I came to the realisation that I probably developed pnd after my first child, and that it hadn't really gone away. Work stress didn't help matters. Previous to this I would have suffered pretty badly with pmt.

    Anyway last July I went to my naturopath for a remedy, she treated hormone imbalance, and it worked a treat. I had just had a miscarriage at the time. I quickly got pregnant again, yay, and at the end of March gave birth to a beautiful baby girl.

    In the last few months I have been slowly slipping into negativity. The only way I can describe it is a feeling of numbness. When you're in that place, you don't actually know that you ARE in that place, until it passes. Then you wish you had been more aware, or be able to step outside yourself so that you could stop the negative feeling, or turn back the clock.
    The other night I finally spoke to my partner about it. At first I think he wasn't taking me seriously but eventually he did have to and then he was worried. I think I only have a mild case of pnd but it's enough! I first thought I would go to the doctor but I knew from previous encounters that the first thing he would suggest was anti-depressants and I just didn't want to go down that road. I just knew my problem was hormonal and I couldn't accept that anti-depressants could be the answer. The problem is way more subtle than that. Some women feel amazing with the help of anti-depressants, it changes their life.

    I decided to go to my naturopath. She diagnosed low progesterone, which is what she diagnosed me with the previous visit. This can cause women to miscarry. Also I have other symptoms which can be caused by low progesterone, dry itchy skin, allergies. I read elsewhere a doctor who suggested that some women with pnd may be helped with progesterone injections. This herbalist has given me a remedy containing a comination of herbs, one of which encourages the production of progesterone, also the adrenals.

    I just decided to contribute to your blog because I thought if my experience helped only one woman it'd be worth it. I will let you know how I respond to the remedy.

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