Hello my lovelies!
Many of you will know that today, 10th September is R U Okay? Day in Australia. This is a day where people are encouraged to ask family members, friends and even strangers, are you okay? Three simple words could change someone’s life. I encourage you to ask at least one person today if they are okay, even if you don’t think you know anyone struggling, still ask. As someone who suffers from anxiety and PND I know that you can hide it extremely well from mostly everyone. Someone who may appear fine could be struggling internally and desperate for someone to show that they care. As a follow on from my blog post last week where I shared My story with Post Natal Depression, I thought I would share the signs of PND, some possible causes and some ways you can help if you suspect someone you love is struggling with PND.
Did you know that 1800 parents are diagnosed with post natal depression every single week? That’s almost 100,000 people a year; this includes 1 in 7 new mothers and 1 in 20 new fathers in Australia alone. Keep in mind that this only includes people that seek help; this doesn’t include those who are too scared to ask for help. Which is why it is so important to ensure you offer support if you suspect someone you know is suffering from Post Natal Depression. I have listed some of the most common signs to look out for;
- Change in appetite
- Crying for no reason OR feeling like you want to cry but cant
- Feeling overwhelmed or like you can’t cope
- Frequent Negative thoughts
- Fear of being left alone OR withdrawing from friends and family
- Memory difficulties
- Feeling guilty or like you aren’t good enough
- Low self-esteem and lack of confidence
- Feeling exhausted
- Feeling miserable
Not everyone will have every single symptom on this list. For example, I was extremely irritable, anxious, feeling guilty and miserable and often crying for no reason; however my appetite didn’t change, I didn’t feel exhausted and I didn’t have a fear of being left alone, nor did I have memory difficulties. Now obviously a lot of these symptoms you wouldn’t pick up on in someone else unless they told you but there’s a few signs that you may notice such as irritability – they might be snapping or getting worked up over little things, being withdrawn – maybe they don’t answer your calls or they keep declining to go for coffee etc. and they might seem to be more negative than usual. If you notice these symptoms in someone you care about, I suggest sitting down and very gently approaching the subject. Ask them straight out, “Are you okay?” I honestly feel like that is the most direct, yet gentle way to ask the question. If they admit they are struggling, here are a few ways you can help;
- Suggest they see their GP to discuss treatment options – such as seeing a psychologist or medication if required
- Offer to take care of the baby so that Mum can have a break
- Encourage Mum to have a long bath and/or take a nap while you watch bub
- Encourage her to go for a walk and offer to go with her and push the pram for her if she doesn’t want to go by herself – sometimes some fresh air and gentle exercise can make the world of difference
- Offer to help tidy up/do washing/dishes/cooking or even do the grocery shopping – especially if she is suffering with anxiety as this can make it extremely difficult to leave the house. Even offer to just come along with her while she does the groceries so she has the extra support there if she were to become anxious.
- Try to be there for her as much as possible and remind her that you are there – it can make such a difference just knowing you have someone you can confide in when you are really struggling
While it isn’t exactly known why some women develop PND and others don’t, there are a few factors that contribute to it such as the following;
- Previous mental health issues
- Lack of support from family/friends
- Difficulties with money, housing and/or work
- A difficult or traumatic delivery and/or health problems with yourself after delivery
- Having a baby who is born prematurely or unwell
If you know someone who is dealing with any of the above issues, even if they seem fine, ask them if they are okay. It won’t hurt and could actually save their life.
Hopefully you can take something away from this blog and feel like you are more aware of the signs of PND.
Please remember you are ALWAYS more than welcome to send me a message on Facebook if you need support or just for a chat.