Mum of three, Jennifer Kurt, has kindly and bravely shared her very personal experience of postnatal depression and tells us how the support of the people closest to you can be integral to getting better.
When did you realise you had postnatal depression?
About 2 months after my second daughter was born. My baby was admitted into hospital for bronchiolitis at 10 weeks and I had severe lower back problems after the delivery. I could hardly walk and the pain was horrendous. A mix of the two possibly triggered the depression.
What symptoms did you have
I was feeling anxious, tired, angry and negative all at the same time. I felt like looking after two children was just too much for me. I was giving up. I was crying for most of the day. My feelings and emotions were all over the place and I just didn't want to be here.
I felt very lonely, I didn't want to see my friends or family and everything seemed like a real effort. I put a brave face on in public but as soon as I came back home it was all too much. It was affecting my relationship with my husband, toddler and baby. The situation was becoming unbearable so I decided I needed to take some actions.
What help did you get for your postnatal depression?
I went to my GP and discussed how I felt, she gave me a questionnaire to determine the level of my depression and it turned out to be very high. She referred me to some group therapy and prescribed medication. I was very reluctant to take the medicine at first but I felt it was the only thing that would make me feel better. I didn't do the group therapy as I didn't feel comfortable talking in front of people I didn't know at the time.
How do you manage your postnatal depression now?
I take my medication every day, some days are better than others, but it is manageable and I have started to enjoy life again. I write in a journal and I started pen palling, which really helps me deal with it. I have strong family support and I talk about how I feel to the people close to me. It's important not to feel lonely. Exercising has also helped me to stay positive.
What are your top tips for other women who are suffering with postnatal depression?
Don't be afraid to look for help and don’t be ashamed to need the help. Depression is a horrible disease that can poison your life. Don't let it bring you down to breaking point. Seek help and stay positive, it will get better.
Postnatal depression affects 1 in 7 new mums, but it's important to realise that 1 in 10 men are also affected. Share your story with us by using the hashtag #IhadPND to raise awareness and to help others who are suffering in silence.