Saturday, 8 March 2014

Postnatal Depression

I have decided to write about this subject in light of the compelling episode on Call the Midwife which I felt was handled so sensitively last week.
As a sufferer of PND I still find it so hard to understand why so little is known about this illness and feel strongly that more needs to be done to raise awareness, and indeed educate people, particularly when you consider how it can often be fatal to the suffering mother. When you consider that this illness comes along just when one is supposed to feel elated and joyful, I find this element of hormonal depression particularly cruel and brutal.

Here's what we do know.

PND is irrespective of circumstances or social standing and is not a state of mind but a biochemical abnormality so therefore an illness.

PND often starts with a manic episode and then rapidly descends into severe depression which can sometimes lead to suicidal urges.

PND often disguises itself  with severe irritability, mood swings, panic attacks, nightmares and episodes of depersonalization ( feeling strange and as though you are in a dream  state). It can also show symptoms of OCD and heightened behaviour. Feelings of being overwhelmed and tearfulness are sure to follow as the illness takes hold in the days and weeks after birth.

PND can escalate rapidly and as shown on Call the Midwife, the lady ended up with Postpuerpal Psychosis which is a serious condition which often requires hospitalization. This is a result of the massive hormonal fluctuations after birth which somehow, again leads to a change in brain chemistry. Whenever I hear of any women suffering from PND or worse, PPP my heart breaks as I know only too well that it ruins the time you have with your baby and is the most awful of postnatal tragedies.
My hope for the future is that more women will be diagnosed quicker which can often shorten the duration of the illness and hasten recovery. This is difficult to achieve as often many women will hide their real feelings and have a sense of shame and even wonder if the baby will be taken from them.

Part of my strategy when I decided to write my book was that I would do it for all suffering women and I am now heavily involved with Action on Postpuerpal Psychosis at Cardiff University and also NAPS which is the National Association for PMS. These amazing medical professional are desperately trying to isolate the genes that are responsible for causing so many women to become so very poorly in what is essentially the most critical years of their lives.

If you think you may have PND or any other form of hormonal depression, don't hide it as it will only get worse if left untreated.  Tell somebody, anyone and the help will come as there is often many treatments available. You can also call the Association of Postnatal Illness who will help and comfort you enormously on 0207 386 0868.

I hope you have found this blog helpful. Please leave a comment in the box as any feedback is greatly appreciated.
Happy Saturday
Suzi xx

1 comment:

  1. I did not suffer from PND myself but I know women that have. It is just so awful that women and their families have to go through this. Its a shame that these things cant be taught in schools. Thank you Suzi for the work you are doing to bring this and other 'womens' issues to peoples attention. x