So I’m writing another personal post… I don’t know whether it’s the hormones or something else, but I’ve been feeling drawn into writing content that is a bit more sensitive (well for me anyway).
Since I was a young teen, I’ve suffered with depression. Everyone goes through it at some point in their life and a lot of the time, people tend to shy away from the topic. The word ‘depression’ itself sounds like one ugly drag and if I’m honest; I really don’t like the word. Tbh, I’m not the sort of person that tends to talk about things like this and if you know me or if you’ve ever met me in real life.. I just love a good time! However, I thought that I’d talk about this topic simply because although pregnancy is such an amazing event in one’s life.. it isn’t a walk in the park and even though we as women talk about the physical aspects of it, sometimes the mental aspect gets brushed aside.
Does antenatal depression even exist?!
Research has shown that women who develop postnatal depression are likely to have had antenatal depression. We’ve all heard of postnatal depression, but antenatal depression? I didn’t even know antenatal depression was even a thing! It is said that 7% – 20% of pregnant women suffer with it (thanks Wikipedia.. Idk how accurate that statistic is…) When I found out I was pregnant, my life wasn’t exactly in the best of places. Tbh, I recall my first thought being “You’ve got to be having a laugh. This is probably the worse timing!“. I genuinely remember when my partner and I found out, we had to actually laugh out loud. So much was already going on in our lives. Obviously, as time went on we saw it as such an AMAZING blessing but it was during the adjustment periods that I felt my lowest. Thanks to my hormones, the negative thoughts and feelings that I had were 1000x magnified. I honestly felt lost. It was such a painful and confusing time. I went a good few months feeling like one walking poo. There were so many things going on at the time, and the bottom line was that I was a 20 year old student in her first year of uni. I had so many plans for the summer, for my life etc – I was a selfish student who just wanted to enjoy her youth. There were so many factors that contributed to why I felt the way I did and it’s only recently that I started to get to grips with all the amazing changes and adjustments. It’s not to say that I don’t have my off days, but I’ve learnt to cope a lot better.
So with that being said, I thought that I would write my top 5 tips which have helped me.
MY TOP 5 TIPS TO HELP WITH ANTENATAL DEPRESSION (or depression in general):
- FAITH – This year alone, my relationship with God has improved a lot. He is the number one reason as to why I’ve overcome the trials that I’ve faced. As I said, this year hasn’t exactly been the easiest or best in the slightest. Sometimes we find that confiding in other people such a hard task (well I do) and we’d rather just keep it in. Majority of the time, I hate outwardly talking to people about how I feel and I’d rather just keep it moving. During this year, I’ve learnt that instead of keeping it in.. just talk out loud. I’m a Christian, and it was during my hardest times that I saw God’s love for me. Remember: it’s His timing, not yours. Every night I’d speak out loud to him and honestly, it helped me in ways I didn’t think was possible. You may not believe in God, but even just talking about your problems out loud with no one there can help. Get it out in the open.
- RELATIONSHIPS – The relationships that you surround yourself with have a huge impact on how you feel. The support that each relationship gives plays a huge part on your outlook in life. For me, at the start of my pregnancy my friends were genuinely my foundation. They were the only people keeping me sane and the support they gave/continue to give me was and is priceless. Sometimes, when the people you’re closest to are in initial shock they forget that you’re the one going through the physical and mental changes and it’s hard to go from day to day without that support from them but I promise, things do get 100 times easier! I’m so blessed to have my partner and family, in addition to my friends. Surround yourself with the right people. What’s the point in living life surrounded with people who don’t bring positive vibes to your life?
- PROFESSIONAL/MEDICAL HELP – I’m honestly grateful to the NHS for the support they offered me. I know that from talking to other people, getting help for mental problems from the NHS isn’t easy. The waiting list is long and you get appointments a year later etc. I do feel like mental problems need to get more recognition and there needs to be a little more free support for people in general. However, from my recent experience; I was shocked at how helpful and supportive the NHS was. Maybe it was because I was 20 or pregnant or a combo of both, but they were really efficient. I had appointments booked, therapy sessions I could take and I was prescribed medication. Tbh, me being the stubborn hard head that I was – I only went to a few appointments and didn’t take the medication. I was determined to sort it out all by myself. Nevertheless, it was nice to speak to someone who I didn’t know and good to know that help was there if needed. So be honest with your midwife or doctor if you feel like you’re not coping, you never know.. the help they provide may actually do you some good!
- SET SOME FUTURE GOALS/PLANS – There were days where I couldn’t get out of bed, I didn’t want to get out of bed. In retrospect, I probably have had more off days than on during pregnancy. I always found that setting myself future goals (can be as little or as big) got me excited for the days to come. Get out, get active. From going baby shopping to starting a blog, anything that gets your mind excited.. Plan it then do it.
- TAKE TIME OUT FOR YOURSELF – Do things that make you happy! No matter how small or silly they are. This can range from watching Netflix to taking a nap (yeah not a really big contrast there tbh, but both things I enjoy doing). Personally, I try to look better than how I feel and honestly it works… So pamper yourself!
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Doing simple day to day tasks can be so difficult when your mental health isn’t in check. Of course, it’s all easier said than done – but making the conscious effort to keep yourself happy and motivated, whatever that may be, goes a long way!
I hope this has been a helpful read!