Six weeks after my friend’s wife gave birth to their first child, she was diagnosed with Postnatal Depression (PND).

 She doesn’t remember a great deal about this dark time except being worried that her GP would tell her to pull herself together and send her on her way. Luckily, he was (and still is) incredibly supportive.

 She was prescribed Citalopram and slowly started feeling better. Just after a year she felt it was time to stop taking the medication. She said her main reason for this was that she wanted to know that she could “do it on her own”, without depending on chemical assistance. So under her doctor’s supervision she weaned herself from the tablets. But it wasn’t long at all before things started to fall apart. One evening she and her husband went to visit their friend’s newborn baby in hospital. She told me she remembers walking through the post-natal ward and feeling some horrifying memories come flooding back. She said it felt like a panic attack was on its way but she did her best to push it away. She couldn’t stop crying and felt incredibly anxious. The following day she was back on her medication but it took quite a while for her to start feeling normal again. Six months later, she was off her medication and her anxiety under control. When I asked her what helped her the most, she said it was reading. She was supported by the blogs and articles out there, where people speak honestly and truthfully about what they have been through. Because PND is very closely tied in to feelings of failure as a mother she felt that admitting it was like admitting failure and inadequacy, as though she wasn’t good enough to be a mum. I’m so proud that she conquered this.

 If you’re experiencing PND, you may be having one or more of the following symptoms. However, it is unlikely that you will go through all of them.

 - Sad and low

- Tearful for no apparent reason

- Worthless or hopeless about the future

- Tired and unable to cope

- Irritable and angry

- Guilty, hostile or indifferent to your husband or partner

- Hostile or indifferent to your baby

 If you recognise any of these in yourself, please talk to your doctor. There is a way out.