Friday, October 30, 2015

ADHD Awareness Month: Antenatal Depression - My Story

We have reached the end of ADHD Awareness Month and although there are a million things I could talk about, one topic in particular is something I wish more people spoke about.

Very few people know about the story I am about to tell. I was ashamed for a long time and every emotion from that time is still so real. But to heal, I have to talk.

After having Liam nine years ago, I thought that being a mother was supposed to be as hard, exhausting and emotional as it was. Having ADD made it that much harder, because I was not only having to remember things for myself, but for Liam too. Then I had Aspen, and things were not at all like when I had Liam. I was happier, calmer, and I seemed to have a much better handle on life, even with all the financial strains we were under at that time.

Then Jesse surprised us and the first few days were a dream, but once we hit week two, my life was a total nightmare. I had to manage three kids, a house and husband who co-incidentally was made to start working shifts at the same time.

It was becoming too much, FAST.

Within a month, I got sick. Just a little swollen gland, seemed like little, but turned into a swollen face that hurt every time I moved and was resistant to the medication the doctors had given me. I ended up in hospital that week, for something as simple and fixable as Mumps!

I had to go the hospital with Jesse, because I was breast feeding, so took a little longer to heal because he would not let me rest or leave his side. I just felt like I was going to crack open and die. I was exhausted, sick, in pain, pumped with drugs and nobody to talk to. I pulled my Doctor one side when he came to visit and told him how I felt. He says “I am prescribing you Anti-depressants”. I was a little surprised. And then he said “It sounds like you had Post-Partum depression when you had Liam too”. Never had I imagined that, that was what my sadness was.

Like all things, it passed and life went on. I never took the meds and although life was a lot more busy and difficult, I stayed away from needing meds for my ADD either. I mean I had coped since grade 8 without them, so I will get by.

In 2003, life was good. Jesse had practically potty trained himself, we had bought our own house and I was going to gym every day. I was happy with my life. I however was not paying close enough attention to my body, and was taken by surprise with yet ANOTHER pregnancy. Hubby did not receive being pregnant with Jesse very well, but he was in total disbelief this time. He was fine with 2, and now we were having our fourth. We fought about it and I pushed him to decide what he wanted. In hind site, I was setting myself up because he was not at an emotional place to make any decisions. Things finally quieted down and we settled in with the idea.

But it was not long, I may have been 12 weeks or so, and I got sick. Nothing big, a little tonsillitis was all. I was booked off work a couple of days so I resigned myself to staying indoors. I sat and watched TV and ate all day. After a few days, if my phone rang, I would turn it off. I logged out of my Facebook and Twitter accounts and I just used the TV for company. I went to work, made jokes with colleagues, and then went home to my TV again.

A weekend came where we dropped the kids off at family and I was alone at home all day. I just did not feel ok, I knew it. I wanted to cry all day. Then I realized that I wanted to cry all day for two weeks already. I wanted to just stop breathing. I just wanted not to be here anymore.

I was back in that dark room. The one I honestly thought I had left and locked behind me. This time however, It was consuming me. I was being swallowed up by the darkness. I just wanted to die.
Hubby came home that afternoon from work and I just walked into his arms and cried. All I could say is “I don’t know what’s wrong with me; I don’t know how to fix it”

I could not talk to anyone. I shut everyone out. I shut myself out. I just lived in that darkness for two to three months. It was my own personal hell. What made it worst was that I was ashamed. So ashamed to even utter the words.

I was having a baby, I should have been happy. The way I fell was going to hurt my baby. I was a bad mother. I was a bad human being for even having these feelings. Why was this happening to me?
I was stuck in sinking sand, and all I could do was move forward slowly in the mud and muck.

One day, the sun came out, and I got through the day thinking a little less about how I hated my life. It became a little more bearable. I could have a belly laugh and it felt ok to enjoy it. I was thinking about the human inside me. Who was he? How did he look? Things got better.

I finally mustered up the strength to confess to a client and friend of mine, as I had to explain why I had gone silent when they were waiting on their wedding shots. It was hard to even let the words out of my mouth. So instead I said that I was sick for a long time and that it was bad.

The ugly truth is that, I as depressed. Not once, not even twice but three times. The third time compounded by the fact that I was pregnant, unhappy and was too ashamed to tell anybody how I really felt. Antenatal Depression is rare Only about 10% of woman get it and it is so easy to miss because it is normal for hormonal changes during pregnancy to cause mood swings, I know nobody who has had it, and I pray that nobody I know will ever go through it.

I am not sure if the depression is linked to me having ADD as it is estimated that up to 70% of ADHD diagnosed kids will suffer with depression in adulthood, but I do know that it can happen to anyone. It seems though that there was no way that it was going to pass by me this time. All the signs were there pretty early on, and I just ignored them.

I have not fully dealt with that dark time in my life, but I was lucky to birth the happiest, calmest and cutest little boy after going through all that. He was the light at the end of my tunnel.

If you think you may be suffering with antenatal depression, you can read about it HERE.

Speak to someone about how you really feel, it can turn your life around.

And more on the links between ADD and Depression, read HERE.

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