Posts Tagged ‘post natal depression’

Depression Series #5: Postnatal Depression

May 28, 2010

For us to understand the mechanism of Postnatal Depression we must first look objectively at the whole process of pregnancy and birth.

From the moment of conception there are many influences that come into play.  The psychological state is at its extreme, containing excitement, fear, joy and uncertainty. The physical aspect is transforming, hormones charging, physical shape expanding, along with bouts of nausea and sickness.

 Overall all feelings are prominent and exaggerated, which individuals will go through on an hourly basis. 

We then come to the birth itself, which is again extremely daunting and exciting, filled with a tremendous fear of the unknown.  Regardless of preparation whether a natural birth, drug free, drug fuelled, or caesarean the whole process of giving birth will never be as you anticipated and emotions will be extreme both negative and positive.

 Immediately after birth there is a calm, a new life has emerged and you rejoice in the arrival of your baby. Then soon after the excitement comes the realisation that life has changed and will never be the same again.

If we look objectively at all elements the whole process of pregnancy and birth contains transformation on every level, mental, emotional, psychological and physical.

It is during this period of trying to adjust and adapt to this new role where it can all feel a bit too overwhelming. Naturally the physical aspect is beginning the reversal process, but her there is the realisation that part of your body is no longer with you, your baby.

Any separation in life can cause us extreme sadness, but this separation is different. Your baby was growing inside of you, a part of you for nine months, and your sole responsibility that you protected and nurtured, where a spiritual connection was made. Now your baby is an independent life, plus grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends are handling your baby. Of course this is expected and what happens in our society, but that doesn’t prepare you for the feelings that you have.

Anger and possessiveness provoke emotions that are very difficult to vent. When you are in it, it becomes impossible to comprehend because at that moment nothing matters, it is as if everything has been lost.

Ultimately this process is just another natural transformation in the long line of events that took place during pregnancy and birth and must be understood as a natural process. 

It is advisable that before birth individuals put all the above into perspective and develop an understanding about this process, it will certainly ease the burden of suffering and will make this period easier to digest and cope with.

The Baby Blues

March 26, 2010

I don’t really like the term ‘baby blues’ because it seems like a very trivial term for a very important issue  – that of postnatal depression.

It is a very common condition, which both Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow battled with. In fact, it is a term that is often banded about, but what exactly is it?

Well, according to this blogAngelina Jolie was on the verge of postnatal depression after the birth of her twins, Vivienne Marcheline and Knox Leon, in September 2008.

Common symptoms of PND include sadness, anxiety, lethargy, mood swings, tearfulness, and problems eating and sleeping. It is thought that as many as 80% of women experience PND in some form or another following pregnancy.

 In 2006, Gwyneth Paltrow suffered from PND after giving birth to her second child, Moses. This was not the first time Gwyneth suffered from depression. In 2002, her terminally ill father passed away, and she experienced guilt at not having done enough for her father while he was sick.

This brings me onto a wider issue about dealing with depression –  according to a BBC news article, GPs are calling for better treatment for depression sufferers.

65% of doctors say they can “rarely” offer psychological therapy to depression sufferers within two months of referral. The survey is part of a campaign by mental health charity Mind calling for better access to therapies.

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends talking therapies to help with mild and moderate depression.

 Mind’s campaign challenges all political parties to make a guarantee in their election manifestos, to offer evidence-based therapies to all those who need them within 28 days of requesting referral.  Mind Chief Executive Paul Farmer said talking therapies could save lives, and it was crucial that people who needed help received it as quickly as possible.

 The programme director for Wellbeing at the London School of Economics, Professor Lord Layard, who is spearheading the campaign, has stressed the economic case for depression therapy, suggesting that successful therapy can help many people return to the workplace.

 So what do we think here at the Mind Clinic? Well, we support the need for faster counselling for depression and believe that these alternative therapies should be available on the NHS. However, we do not consider depression a mental health issue.  We believe that the most important therapy is understanding depression, and understanding yourself, and that this produces far greater benefits than accepting current perceptions about depression. At the Mind Clinic, we believe that depression is an important part of human nature.  A depression marks the end of a specific cycle in our life and the beginning of a new cycle that is waiting to arrive.

 What do we do about depression? At the Mind Clinic,  we teach through guidance and counselling how to consider depression useful rather than destructive. It is all about helping you to help yourself by understanding better your emotions. As every one of us is unique, every depression is unique but the mechanics of any depression are the same. If medication is being used, we work on a medication reduction programme (in conjunction with medical care).

So at the Mind Clinic we do support this campaign, so people receive therapies more quickly, for any kind of depression, from PND to post traumatic stress disorder. The most important thing though is to gain an understanding of your depression, and therefore regain your sense of wellbeing.