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Dealing with PND

The first step towards recovery is recognising the illness and seeking help

Posted: 17 August 2005
by ThinkBaby

Post Natal Depression is a relatively common illness affecting between 1 in 10 and 1 in 7 of mothers. Even if wholly untreated PND will usually clear up in time, but the first step towards a faster recovery and limiting its impact is to recognise that you are suffering from an illess, not a weakness, and to seek help from family, friends and health professionals.

Dealing with PND

  • Speak to your doctor, midwife or health visitor - They should be able to offer you practical advice and support, arrange counselling or psychotherapy if needed, and in severe cases, antidepressants. Don't play down your symptoms when you see them, being as honest as you can about your feelings and behaviour will help you get the best treatment. In recent years PND has become far better recognised by the medical services, but you may possibly encounter a health professional with limited training or experience of the illness: If a health professional isn't taking your illness seriously then see someone else

  • Ask for help - If you feel that you can't cope with everything then ask family and/or friends to help out with household chores and caring for the baby

  • Find a friendly ear - Having a reliable and sympathetic ear to talk to is very important in coping with PND. You might feel that you can't talk to your partner or to your family about it, but there are health visitors, nurses, volunteer organisations and counsellors who will either be able to help you or point you in the right direction

    Useful contacts

    The Association for Post Natal Illness
    Tel: 020 7386 0868

    British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP)
    Tel: 0870 443 5252

    British Confederation of Psychotherapists (BCP)
    Tel: 020 7267 3626

  • Sharing experiences - You might feel that you don't want to go out and meet other mothers, but remember that PND is a common illness and hearing about other people's experiences can help you deal with your own. You can use organisations to put you in touch with other mothers in your area, or for initial anonimity you can look to web-based communities for shared experiences and support

  • Set goals - If you feel as though everything is too much and you're not able to make even simple decisions then try setting a couple of small goals for each day and reward yourself when you manage them. They could be going for a short walk, eating a proper lunch, calling a friend or even just washing your hair

  • Try to eat well - You may be suffering from a loss of appetite, but not eating will only sap your energy more and make you feel less able to cope. If you're not eating much then the quality of what you do eat becomes all the more important. Try to follow as well-balanced a diet as you can and maybe speak to your doctor about what vitamins you may be running low on

  • Sleep and rest - Take whatever opportunity for rest and sleep that you can

  • Exercise - Exercising releases endorphins, makes you feel good, and will also stimulate your appetite and give you energy, so try and get some gentle exercise. Exercising might also provide you with a much-needed opportunity to have some time to yourself

  • Get out of the house - While you might want to avoid the society of other people and the great outdoors, both can be a good tonic for helping to overcome depression. If you need drawing out of the house then rope in a friend to make sure you get out, even if it's only for a brisk walk

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