A digital place for people who access services, carers, staff and partner agencies, to share ideas around care co-ordination & care planning in mental health

How do you tell the difference between postal depression and what’s normal for you when you already have a long standing mental illness and is there a difference? Is depression just depression without breaking it down into categories or subcategories? Surely it’s all the same kinda hell!! Why do we need to label it further? Can’t we just say I am struggling, struggling with life full stop… Or that you are in the darkest place imaginable and can’t see a way out without having to break it down further into a long list of symptoms that will then “define” what is wrong with you. Why do we have to meet a criteria and fit in one box? Why can’t people just take it at face value which is I’m barely holding it together and I need help!!Maria 1

So allow me to explain further. I just had a baby who I couldn’t possibly love more if I tried and thankfully without a shadow of a doubt I have such an amazing bond with her and have done so from the second I held her in my arms. She brings me so much joy and warms me deep inside. I tend to all her needs and surround her with all the love, security, stability and care she requires and not through necessity but because I want to because she means the world to me.

My children are the only ones in my world right now that really make me smile and feel worth something. Sadly though I have for the past few weeks been plagued with unbearable sadness (not sure why) and fallen into a really dark place making life an uphill battle and daily struggle. I have found myself avoiding almost everyone and hiding away as people in general only make me feel worse.

Now to anyone who doesn’t know me they would say I was suffering with postnatal depression and sure enough I have many of the symptoms, often feeling guilty and unworthy etc and if I was given this diagnosis thankfully there would be a treatment path to follow which in hope would see me to recovery. Frustratingly though for those who know me also know these feelings, this pain and suffering is nothing new to me and that annoyingly I have a long standing history of feeling like this that comes in waves throughout the year. This then raises questions and a lot of unknown and frustration not only for myself but those who know me.

How can you tell the difference between postnatal depression and “normal” hell? I have been told the way to know is by looking back and thinking have I felt like this before and if so then it’s not post natal therefore no treatment plan, no medication or support groups to attend but instead to keep going!!! I’m not quite sure what I think this is or even if I’m “depressed” but what I do know is I’m struggling not with being a mother but with my self and sadly there’s no medication that will changed his.

Do you have to have difficulties with being a new mum to have postnatal depression and is postnatal depression much different from being depressed? I’m not wanting another label or to fit in a given box and I certainly don’t want another diagnosiss to add to the one I’ve already got but why do we have to, to be given answers or support?


Comments on: "Post Natal Depression?" (2)

  1. Hi

    This is a really thought provoking piece; it raises valid questions. It makes me reflect about the impact of diagnosis but also about the value of not diagnosing at all and simply supporting people with what they need at the time – much more aligned to recovery principles and person centred care than diagnosis driven care.

    Peri-natal care and services are very topical at the moment, with the recommendations from the mental health taskforce highlighting this as an area requiring investment; I couldn’t agree more.

    I really admire that you share so openly and honestly 🙂



    • mariaht83 said:

      I agree that diagnosing someone isn’t always helpful and actually can be the complete opposite and rather damaging. Yes at times I’ve longed for a diagnosis much like when your sick you want to know what’s making you feel so ill generally so you understand it and can hopefully treat it making yourself better. I wanted an answer a something I could pin all these thoughts and feelings on but in all fairness getting a final diagnosis didn’t given me any clearer understanding nor did it lead me down the right treatment path and in all honesty has caused me many more problems and heartache.

      I’m all for treating someone on the basis of how they are feeling and what they need to help then and there and not treating them how some book specifies you should because it’s worked that way for others with same diagnosis!!


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Dr Sally Pezaro

This is the research blog of Dr Sally Pezaro. Sally is 'The Academic Midwife' working to secure excellence in maternity services. Specialist interests include maternity services, workforce and midwifery research.



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