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Recovering from antenatal/postnatal depression or anxiety

 
Have you been diagnosed with antenatal/postnatal depression or anxiety? If so, you are likely suffering from significant stress in your life. While everyone’s road to wellness will vary, here are some common things you can do to help your recovery from both a holistic perspective and through the use of medication. Plus steps you can take to help you get back on track.
Have you been diagnosed with antenatal/postnatal depression or anxiety?

If so, you are likely suffering from significant stress in your life. 

While everyone’s road to wellness will vary, here are some common things you can do to help your recovery from both a holistic perspective and through the use of medication.

Plus steps you can take to help you get back on track.
 

A holistic approach to recovery

Perhaps one of the best ways of healing and recovering from mental illness is from a holistic perspective.

It's important to examine the physical, mental, emotional/psychosocial, spiritual and cultural aspects of yourself as they are all connected and impact on one another.
 
Physical aspects
How are you feeling from a physical perspective?
 
  • Are you taking regular exercise? Doing something you enjoy is preferable; even a leisurely walk will help.
 
  • Do you have a good diet?
 
  • Are you taking or looking to take natural remedies? Natural remedies are a personal choice. Some people swear by them. If you are interested in finding out more see a Naturopath.
 
  • Are you spending time outside each day enjoying the sunshine and nature around you? Aim to spend 15 minutes, or more if you can, in the sun each day. It releases good chemicals and hormones in your body, as does exercise.

Mental aspects
How are you feeling from a mental perspective?
 
  • Adjusting to being at home with a baby day after day can be very difficult and many women find that returning to work/study or working on a project gives them the intellectual stimulation that helps lift their mood.
 
Psychosocial aspects
How are you feeling from a psychosocial perspective?
   
  • Whether it’s your first, second or sixth child, emotionally it can have an effect whilst you are coming to terms with the changes and adjustments that a new baby brings.
 

Next steps

Whatever stress you’re facing, there’s a lot of support and resources available to you.
 
Peer support
Recent surveys show that over half of mothers feel isolated, particularly when their baby is very small, so peer support becomes even more important at this time.

Mother’s groups/coffee groups and catching up with mums you met in your antenatal classes can also help with the feeling of isolation.

Check online for other support groups and social groups in your area.
 
Counselling
Regularly talking with a counsellor to process all your life adjustments can help alleviate the stress and help you feel more supported. 

Such topics for discussion can include the current stress you’re under, what may have contributed to your depression/anxiety, thought patterns (which Cognitive Behavioural Therapy counselling can help with), and internal or external changes that you can consider making.

Research shows that mothers recover more quickly from PND when attending regular counselling and taking medication together.
 
Time out, just for you
Everyone needs a regular break from the responsibility of being a parent. 

Time to re-energise by either resting, developing an interest/hobby or just time for recreation. It’s essential to recovery!
 

The use of medication

Medication is just one part of the holistic picture in addressing your mental health.

If someone takes medication and makes no other changes in their life, it’s likely that they will relapse after coming off the medication.

The reason being that the same stressors can still be present as prior to the medication.

Medication often gives people sufficient “wellness,” along with motivation and energy, to better manage the stressors and risk factors that have contributed to becoming unwell. 
 
Combining counselling with medication is the fastest way to recover. You will be in a better place to see a counsellor to discuss and explore topics, some of which may be difficult, in order to get well.

Not everyone needs medication, but often mums find that some form of medication is helpful and when combined with counselling, they recover more quickly.  

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Source: This article was written by Mothers Helpers - Supporting mums under stress.
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