What does being ‘recovered’ from PND look like?

I have a recovery goal list.

I drew it up with my therapist over 5 months ago and slowly I have been ticking off each goal as I pass it.

When I drew it up I imagined that when I had ticked off all the goals I would be fully recovered. No more anxiety, no more low moods, just me enjoying motherhood as a new mum should.

But as I’m getting to the end of my goals list I realise my anxiety and low moods still haven’t left me. And its made me question…

what does recovery from postnatal depression look like?’

Over Christmas me and the kids traveled home to Belfast to see our family. As I stepped off the plane, kissing the ground and sighing relief that I had made the flight to Belfast on my own with two kids, I had a thought…

I had conquered one of my biggest fears, I had traveled with two children on my own and we were all safe, but I still was in the clutches of anxiety. If I had just ticked one of my biggest goals off why was I not recovered?

Or was I recovered?

Was recovery just me living with anxiety? An unwanted leaving gift from PND, just so I wouldn’t forget her.

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Flying home with my babies

Even through anxiety I have been having a lot more good days than bad. So it didn’t scare me so much when I missed my medication one night whilst in Belfast, if this was me recovered maybe I wouldn’t need my medication so much anymore. However 2 days later and another two nights of medication missed, I realised that recovery still may be a long way off.  The first hurdle that came my way I stumbled. And not just a little, my face hit the dirt.

It amazed me how quickly my mood plummeted, that the tears, self loathing and thoughts of how much better everyone would be without me here came in.

So now I’m stuck.

My list of goals is quickly ending but my blip has shown me just how much my recovery is dependent of my medication.

Why am I not recovered?

What does recovered mean?

I’m so confused.

But not knowing means I don’t know what I am working towards. I feel I need to know what recovery I can hope for in order to find peace with it in my battle.

So I did the only thing I knew how.

I asked Twitter.

The #pndfamily to be precise. (How did we ever live without the internet and Google)

This group of PND fighters, survivors, supporters and campaigners are one of the greatest lifelines I have found in my recovery. If you have a stumble they are there to offer advice and to pick you up.

According to the PND family recovery is..

  1. A journey

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I thought this was a beautiful way to describe recovery, that we are ever changing and perhaps what made us happy before, no longer does. Our happiness is changing as we do. It gives me hope that my recovery may not mean going back to the old me, but its a journey to the new me, a better version maybe.

2. Recovery means coping

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The butterfly mother wrote a beautiful post on accepting the journey to beat PND. That there may not a set recovered stage but that we learn to manage our feelings and accept just being you, the you you are now, not the old you. I have been afraid that ‘recovered’ means I’m stuck carrying the bitch that is PND. If it is the case, Maybe I’ll gain the tools to manage my feelings, carting PND with the support of a baby carrier rather that trailing her along with my bare hands.

3. Recovery is when you have the ability to fight it.

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Perhaps we can say we are recovering once we gain the bravery to stand up to PND and say, ‘OY, you cow, fu@k off!’. I do agree that since the moment I’ve stood up and wanted to kick 50 shades of blue out of my PND I have felt better. And that does increase as the weeks go on.

4. Recovery will include scar’s

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As I have been recovering I have noticed the fact that PND has left me with a few war wounds. Not only has PND gifted me with anxiety, certain smells, places or noises can trigger me back to my worst days and leave me feeling scared. I don’t think I will ever get over these but this may not mean I’m not recovering.

5. Recovery isn’t a straight road

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Honest Mumma beautifully writes how recovering from PND is a journey of highs and lows. One day we might feel brilliant, the next we’re back in bed wondering if its possible to marry and start up a life with your bed covers. Maybe we will never get back to where we once where, perhaps we have to keep travelling forward, to a new us with more wisdom and thankfulness for life.

But what do I think?

From the help of these amazing people, I’ve came to my conclusion about my recovery. Looking back at the start of my journey over 3 years ago and where I am now I can say that I’ve knocked the shit out of PND more than she has me and that maybe, just maybe, I’m out of her grasps. She’s took a beating and is holding onto me for life, but I’m stronger and I can carry her. So I keep moving forward ever so slightly loosing her bit by bit. However her claws have left me with scars. They will heal, but they will always hurt when touched.

I no longer believe in a miraculous recovery back to the person I was. Instead I’m heading in a new direction, towards a new me. I already feel like a better me. Im more empathetic, and understanding.

I may never come off medication, its my crutch. But right now I dont think that bothers me. If I had a heart condition or diabetes I would be taking medication for life to keep me alive. So why can’t it be the same for mental health. My medication keep me alive. And that’s how I want it to stay.

So come on PND get in the baby carrier, I’ve got a fucking mountain to climb! And I’m throwing you off at the top of it!

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Thank you to all those who helped me find my theory of recovery xx

@EmmaWilcock1

@Yourcomforter

Mummyame

The butterfly mother

Honest Mumma

Rural_Rover

7 thoughts on “What does being ‘recovered’ from PND look like?

  1. butterflymum83 says:

    Sorry, Hun, only just got a chance to properly read this. What a beautiful post! I’m so glad you are reaching a place of more acceptance, that has definitely been a godsend for me. And thank you for the shout out to my blog too, bless you. Take care, and I hope things continue in the right direction for you. And remember, a little dip doesn’t mean you are back to square one – it is just like snakes and ladders, but you are always headed in the right direction xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. PND Recovery says:

    This is lovely. Such a great post. I particularly like how you write – heading towards a new me. As horrible as PND is, as we recover our only option is to grow, we can never undo what’s been done, we can only learn and move forward with our life with these lessons. I like to think our children will benefit from the things we have learnt on our journey, they will have stronger parents because of it xx

    Like

    1. gdevaney87 says:

      Thank you, it’s took me a long time to realise going forward is a good thing and accepting that I can’t go back. I definitely think that is PND survivors have a strength like no other. We’ve fought from the brink to come back and be the best we can for our children. I hope if anything I can teach my daughter to believe in her strength xxxx

      Like

  3. twohandsstrong says:

    A great post! Timely for us who are trying to scramble out of the darkness of initial realisation. I like the idea that we can can learn something from this experience, in some way, be a better version of ‘me’. I think the ideas you put forward about medication are useful and so vital in fighting the stigma that surrounds us in our recovery. You’re doing great xx

    Like

  4. haveyouseenthatgirl says:

    Love this! I am so struggling with this at the minute – I want myself to be further along the journey than I am. Trying to be patient with myself, but some days are easier than others. I do admire you being on the plane with the kids – I WISH I could tackle this but I am still too anxious about the idea…and I only have 1 little one!!! I take my hat off to you. I see you hail from Belfast – thats where we live. If you ever fancy sharing some of your story on my blog I’d love you too – I’m on look out for ‘locals’ as we try and raise awareness of PND etc here. Take care and look after yourself xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. gdevaney87 says:

      I got dissapointed in myself when I had my big fall but I took real hope in reading the other girls recovery stories. It so easy to keep putting ourselves down, especially about how we are recovering. Some day PND will hit us hard, other days we will come out on top but I realise now no mater how long it takes we are always going to win the war! The flight was hard and sprung on me by my husband as a Christmas surprise. It really wasn’t easy but Iv been trying to just say yes to things and working through my panick attacks. It helped a lot that a lot of people helped me on the plane with the kids especially when I panicked, I couldn’t have done it otherwise. I’d love to share my story on your blog, I think that mental health is such a taboo subject especially in Northern Ireland and that’s why I wanted to do this. Just drop me an email gdevaney87@yahoo.co.uk with more details. Wishing you all the best xxx

      Like

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