I didn’t believe it could happen to anyone, let alone me. I was blissfully happy, a loving husband and now a beautiful baby boy. Everything was fine at first (motherhood was a challenge and I felt deprived of sleep of course) but as the weeks went on I didn’t feel like me anymore – detached from reality - and then around the time when I stopped breast feeding all descended into chaos as the living hell of the illness took over my mind. I can only describe it as a period of madness. I was constantly frightened, convinced that I had lost my mind and myself forever, that I couldn’t be a mother and that I shouldn’t have had a baby.
I was fortunate to have never been depressed or had a psychological illness before- but as I now know this means nothing – the illness does not discriminate – it can strike anyone.
I was sent to psychiatrists, put on medication, was an inpatient in psychiatric wards several times. I was desperate and felt I couldn’t live like that anymore. It was tearing my family apart.
I couldn’t accept it was post natal depression – depression isn’t madness surely? But it was, and finally the wonderful Mother and Baby Unit in Bristol (New Horizons) reassured me that what I was experiencing was all part of the illness and I would be totally better again. I was referred for ECT to speed up the recovery – it did – and by about 7 months after falling ill I was feeling normal again and even getting back to work. I adored my baby boy, who is 5 now, and being a mother was the most wonderful thing in the world. I have been totally well and me ever since.
Please believe me- however it may be affecting you – you will get better – I promise – I did.
Louise, Bristol (Thank you to my beautiful husband and brother – for everything).