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  1. #1
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    Default How to help someone close to me with PND

    Someone who is quite close to me has PND, her child is 10 months old but it comes and goes and she's quite low at the moment. She doesn't open up to me about it, someone else has given me this info. All she has directly told me is that she's being treated for it again. I'm just wondering if those who have suffered from it themselves would share what those around them have done which has really helped them, if anything?

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    RoseKathleen is offline ...Yes - motherhood is a full-time job!
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    Hey,

    I was diagnosed with PND when DD was 9 months old. The first thing I need you to understand is that PND hits people differently and we all respond differently, so just observe your friend and look for where you can help.

    My story is that I suffered (and suffered and suffered) in silence for months and months before getting to a GP. He gave me a prescription, I spent two days in la-la land while getting used to them and on Day 3 it was like the fog cleared for the first time in AGES. I never looked back. I got my life on track and two years later weaned myself (rather accidently) and I have been fine since. Anti-depressants were a charm for me - and I never had any other therapy.

    But thinking back to those dark dark days there were a couple of things I would've appreciated:

    (1) someone to say "Hey, you need help. Let me make you a doctors appointment and I'll come and pick you up on the day." Just getting myself sorted enough to say that I needed help was atrocious. But if your friend is already receiving help, then she has taken the first step.

    (2) someone to non-judgementally help me around the house. The thing with PND with me meant I spent hours moping around the house and crying, but I never could get "time" for housework - which made me feel even more inadequate and terrible. A friend who dropped in for coffee and did my dishes while I folded my washing would've been a great comfort.

    (3) someone to take me somewhere. I was moping and coping with two small children. Thinking about doing something "fun" was too hard. I would've loved a friend who would say, "Hey, lets go to the park. I'll bring coffee, you bring a picnic rug and I'll pick you and the kids up in ten minutes." It meant I was getting out of the house, that someone was there to help me with the kids and I didn't have to think or organise it.


    So go and do something fun with your friend, but don't mention the PND unless she does. She obviously doesn't want you to know. To me, PND was a shameful thing because (a) it was like admitting I wasn't coping and (b) my father was dying - he won hands down in the sympathy vote, I didn't want people to think I was whining when there are worse things in life like dying. Just act normally with your friend and that is helping.

    Good luck.

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    I can only tell you about how it affected me and like pp said it affects everyone differently. I isolated myself from everyone. I was embarrassed, ashamed, scared, felt hopeless like nothing was ever going to get better. I used to have anger outbursts when I couldn't cope which used to start a cycle of guilt, shame and then depression. My advice is to be kind and forgiving and encourage them to be kind and forgiving to themselves. Remind them to separate themselves from the illness. They may act or say horrible things but to remember it is the illness. Encourage hope. Tell them to live in the moment, practise mindfulness. And most importantly they will recover from it. Tell her not to be ashamed or embarrassed, join a support group, attend a mental health day program, see a mental health counsellor.

    i recently heard about a lady that was married to one of my old school friends took her life last week after a battle with PND. I found out she lived just around the corner from where I live now and it absolutely rips my heart as I remember feeling that low. Now I have recovered I can't even comprehend how I could feel/think/say/do the things I did when I was unwell.

    i hope your friend gets better....

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    RoseKathleen has posted some great advice already.

    I had PND after having DD, mostly brought on by breastfeeding issues and an unwell baby. I was a total mess!!! The best thing for me was just having company. My DH would call my best mate because he was worried about leaving me home alone and she'd drop everything to spend the day with me even though she had her own 1yo to look after. I am forever grateful for the support she gave me.

    So I guess my advice is to look for subtle cues. Seize on any hint that she needs company or to get out of the house and make it happen. Make sure she knows you're there if she needs you do she doesn't feel isolated. Maybe talk to her partner and see if there's anything you can do - bring over some meals, help around the house, take her out for coffee, organise a night to lie on the couch and watch chick flicks...

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    Awesome, thank you so much for the advice! I have an 8 week old baby so can't help much with her kids, but we have been exercising together a few times a week and shes been exercising alone and with her hubby and she seems so much better just since starting this. Her husband has been off work due to having surgery and he's been a big help with their kids and is returning part-time next week so I think she might have another low period when he goes back so I'll be sure to keep our plans to exercise going then.
    Thanks again :-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by RoseKathleen View Post
    Hey,

    I was diagnosed with PND when DD was 9 months old. The first thing I need you to understand is that PND hits people differently and we all respond differently, so just observe your friend and look for where you can help.

    My story is that I suffered (and suffered and suffered) in silence for months and months before getting to a GP. He gave me a prescription, I spent two days in la-la land while getting used to them and on Day 3 it was like the fog cleared for the first time in AGES. I never looked back. I got my life on track and two years later weaned myself (rather accidently) and I have been fine since. Anti-depressants were a charm for me - and I never had any other therapy.

    But thinking back to those dark dark days there were a couple of things I would've appreciated:

    (1) someone to say "Hey, you need help. Let me make you a doctors appointment and I'll come and pick you up on the day." Just getting myself sorted enough to say that I needed help was atrocious. But if your friend is already receiving help, then she has taken the first step.

    (2) someone to non-judgementally help me around the house. The thing with PND with me meant I spent hours moping around the house and crying, but I never could get "time" for housework - which made me feel even more inadequate and terrible. A friend who dropped in for coffee and did my dishes while I folded my washing would've been a great comfort.

    (3) someone to take me somewhere. I was moping and coping with two small children. Thinking about doing something "fun" was too hard. I would've loved a friend who would say, "Hey, lets go to the park. I'll bring coffee, you bring a picnic rug and I'll pick you and the kids up in ten minutes." It meant I was getting out of the house, that someone was there to help me with the kids and I didn't have to think or organise it.


    So go and do something fun with your friend, but don't mention the PND unless she does. She obviously doesn't want you to know. To me, PND was a shameful thing because (a) it was like admitting I wasn't coping and (b) my father was dying - he won hands down in the sympathy vote, I didn't want people to think I was whining when there are worse things in life like dying. Just act normally with your friend and that is helping.

    Good luck.
    Wonderful advice...
    However....!
    When I suffered from PND and currently feeling very low 3 weeks after giving birth this didn't/wouldn't work for me.
    I would be sent into an absolute panic at the thought of being 'told' to leave the house. My anxiety wouldn't have coped with someone 'popping' in.
    I would have been an absolute mess being told that someone was picking me up in 10 minutes. And I mean an absolute mess.
    I found it very overwhelming asking and receiving help and if someone came on to strong or forceful it would actually make me retreat and withdraw even more.
    Just something to keep in mind as everyone is so incredibly different with their own PND journeys.
    Good luck!

  7. #7
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    For me, just company. I have never wanted to talk about my depression or to be "helped" but a bit of mindless adult conversation is wonderful.

    Someone coming to clean my house would make me feel inadequate.


 

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