At 30 weeks pregnant, I was diagnosed with antenatal depression (you can read my diagnosis story over at Mumsy Midwife). I can’t describe what a crushing blow it was. Even though on some level, it was a relief to hear that there was a reason behind my debilitating mood, hearing those words made me feel like a complete and utter failure. I thought it was my fault. I cursed myself for already being a ‘bad mother’ and was determined – for my sake and Pickle’s – to turn things around as quickly as I could.
Although any form of perinatal depression is more common if the patient has a history of mental health concerns, it wasn’t something I had ever experienced before. I didn’t really know how long it was likely to last, and how I’d feel on the medication I’d been given. I wanted to feel like there was a light at the end of a tunnel, but without having an accurate measurement for how long the tunnel was, it was difficult to feel hope was coming any time soon. However, I knew what I could do to help myself feel a bit more like myself again. I knew I needed to make myself feel a bit more proud of my achievements (however small!), I knew I needed to get some better nutrition and I knew being honest and open with my friends and family would make me feel less alone…. So I made myself an action list of things I wanted to do – some daily tasks, some weekly or some one-off – that I hoped would pull me out of the depression cloud quicker.