My Three Closest Friends: PND, Depression and Anxiety

By Kelly Rose

You think you hurt me, you think you control me, you try to confuse me. You make me empty. Sad. Confused. Lost. Emotional. Angry. But I won’t give up, I won’t give in, I am going to vanish you!

They say keep your friends close and your enemies closer, well post natal depression (PND), depression and anxiety are three of my closest friends. Anxiety and depression have been my close friends since I was a teenager, and I have been on a battle field with them for quite some time.

This subject about PND and anxiety is one that I feel I need to talk about. It is so very easily brushed aside, ignored and not acknowledged. It is controlling, painful and time consuming. Life is far too short as it is, so having it taken away by these three unwanted friends is just an absolute pain in the butt.

Depression for me is like I am in a deep, deep, deep, dark hole, where I cannot see an out, and the sides of the hole keep coming in closer and closer, eventually going to squash me. I feel sadness, anger and confusion. There could be absolutely no reason at all, and these feelings flood in and take over. I snap at my husband, my patience is very short and I end up with sleep insomnia and ulcers.

Anxiety for me is like living on a thin rope over a massive cliff with a toddler, with a knife trying to cut it (the most unpredictable thing I could think of). You sit there in horrible fear wondering when the toddler will make the cut through and you will fall. I live every day so paranoid about what others think, what others are doing, if what I’m doing is OK. It’s horrible, I pretty much live my life in a way where it is influenced by what others think of me…crazy huh?!

Every decision I make, I ask myself first, “What would so-and-so think or do?” I never actually stop and ask what I would like or what would make me happy. I did try once, and I ended up so confused and scared that I had an anxiety attack…so I went back to my old tactics.

When I became pregnant, those feelings were still there, but even stronger. I struggled with severe morning sickness, ending up in hospital on the drip for a few days (that’s another post for another day), and as you could imagine, I fell hard and fast into that deep hole again. I began blaming the baby for making my life horrible, I wanted out. Then towards the end of the pregnancy I had anxiety attacks that I wouldn’t love my baby, and that I would be a horrible mum.

Then when Miss Amelia was born, I received a 3rd degree C tear which took a 2-hour surgery to repair and Amelia presented herself with breathing difficulties and a diagnosis of Choanal Atresia. We lived in hospital for weeks at my newborn baby’s bedside; it was absolute agony wondering where it all went wrong. So as you could imagine, I hit post natal depression like a magnet to a fridge!

So to all those people out there who live with these “friends”, I hear you, I understand you, and I want to help you! I am in no way ashamed of it, if anything I am proud. It is an extremely hard thing to live with, it takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get up each day and front the world. It takes a lot of courage and strength to face these random demons in your head trying to make you miserable.

People always get so shocked when I say I suffer from depression and anxiety, they always respond, “But you always seem so happy and bubbly”, “You’re always smiling and full of energy”, “Your life looks amazing!” Well that is my best skill yet, “fake it till you make it”. People who seem the happiest on the outside, are the ones who are hurting the most on the inside.

See next page for a list of tips and tricks for dealing with these “new friends”…

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