MENTAL MONDAYS | Postnatal Depression & Me
How Photography Saved My Life
Postnatal Depression by Louise
After I gave birth to my first daughter, Isla, 6 years ago, I can admit now that I behaved out of character. I was erratic, unpredictable, and downright crazy. I had Postnatal Depression. I had some really dark weeks back then and I went to some really horrible places in my head with some very horrible thoughts. I’m not sure I would have been here today without my husband, family and close friends. I expect that I was really hard to be friends with or even be married to and I have lost friends because they never really understood what it’s like to have this illness.
I was tired of being told to ‘cheer up’ and always and it was exhausting to have to put on a smile around everyone. It was incredibly draining. I don’t think people fully understand PND unless they have experienced it first-hand. You aren’t yourself and you aren’t behaving how you normally would.
I now choose to be around people that like me – anxiety and all – it’s so much easier and a much healthier way to live!
Since having my second daughter, Elodie, and starting on Citalopram I can see now just how ill I was. I now have a really healthy outlook on the future and I’m the happiest I have been in a really long time. Not only do I put this down to the drugs, but also my love of photography.
Photography has always been a huge passion of mine and it’s been something that I have been able to focus on. It has taken me away from the dark thoughts on many occasions and given me a positive distraction. I’m the sort of person that can’t sit still. I can’t relax and I’m always thinking. Now, instead of thinking and obsessing about some ridiculous scenario that my anxiety has created in my head – I can channel this energy into new marketing ideas for my business, or new ideas for mini shoots in the studio, or a new set up that I want to try. I spend most of my day now thinking about photography and learning more about how I can be better at what I do. I barely have time for negative thoughts (though a few sometimes sneak in some days). What I’m trying to say is, this new hobby-turned-business has been my therapy and I will never take for granted where it’s taken me both professionally and personally.
I wouldn’t have dreamed that 6 years ago I would be doing this – I could barely get out of bed. I feel so lucky and proud to be in this place.
I just want to say that if someone you know isn’t behaving how they usually do – they seem down, easily offended, paranoid and generally not happy – then don’t judge them or walk away from them. Talk to them and ask them how they are. And then ask them again. They most probably need you more than ever.
We’d like to thank Louise for her contribution to our Mental Monday’s series.
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I’m a primary school teacher and I’m a mum to a beautiful, bright and bubbly six-year-old. I witness the ups and downs of wellbeing in children every day. Every parent faces the same dilemma – how to ensure the wellbeing of our children – particularly from a mental health perspective in a world that is more pressured than ever in more ways than one.
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