Am I Resistant to Getting Help for PND?
If you have depressive symptoms but you are reluctant to tell your midwife or well child nurse or see your doctor or if you have known (diagnosed) Postnatal Depression that either you haven’t sought help for or you’re struggling along with depressive symptoms that are getting worse or staying the same you may be psychologically resistant towards getting help.
Why am I resistant to getting help for my Depression?
It may be because:
- You are not ready to face the possibility that you may have clinical depression
- You don’t like the thought of taking medication and you feel that somehow it’s the only treatment your GP will offer
- You are used to putting your family’s needs first and your own needs get neglected – this may be because your self-esteem is very low and you mightn’t even feel like you are “deserving” of wellness
- You are worried about increasing your current dose of medication or trialing a new one because of the potential side effects and the depressive symptoms that go on till you find the right medication/dose (you can read more about medication here)
Very often – particularly for those who know they have (diagnosed) depression but do not seek help, there is a payoff for not seeking help. It may sound strange but there is something that you are getting out of being unwell. You need to find the courage to ask yourself what that payoff might be.
- Avoiding having to face difficult thoughts or difficult emotions
- Escaping difficult situations/tasks
- Attention/sympathy/compassion/support from loved ones around you that you feel you mightn’t get if you were well
- Excused from responsibilities such as some of your parenting roles, work or study?
- Keeping up the image of a “mother that has it all together” or one that is “successful, functioning, independent or high-achieving” (This may tie into beliefs you may have about “the kinds of mothers that ask for help”)
The Results of Resistance
As someone who has worked with mothers who have Postnatal Depression for 5 years now, I have watched mothers resistant to seeking help as they battle on with their depressive symptoms getting worse and worse and the effects this has on their family. We try and remove all the barriers to them getting help by providing childcare or applying for funding if finances are an issue – but still there is resistance. I have seen women in these situations lose the relationship with her partner, unable to work and in some cases hospitalized and even diagnosed with psychosis that has developed from severe depression and in those cases (albeit a small number), they’ve never been the same again. You can read more about the consequences of untreated/poorly treated Postnatal Depression here It is so sad and so tragic – but it doesn’t have to be like that!
What do I do now?
Ask yourself whether the payoff you’re getting now is more significant than the consequences of untreated or poorly treated depression.
If the answer to that is no: