Recently, I’ve been reading a lot about introverts and what we need to look after ourselves. After much thought and reflection, I’m starting to think there was a possibility I was mis-diagnosed with PND!
I’ve been wondering whether or not to write this post for a while… This may be quite controversial, and it’s just a theory, but hear me out.
I am an introvert. I need quiet time to recharge my batteries. As I’ve blogged about before, I found being the mother of a newborn relentless. With a newborn who screamed for three months, especially if he was put down, I didn’t get enough of a break to recharge, just a few snatches here and there. By the time baby number 2 came along, while he was a much easier baby than his brother, I was still looking after a 2 year old. Added to the fact he was born a week before Christmas… well, there wasn’t much chance for a break. It wasn’t until both kids were in childcare (when they were 3 and 1) that I started getting regular breaks.
Unfortunately, the diagnoses for “Introverted mother who is completely overwhelmed and needs some time to herself to recharge her batteries” is post-natal depression. To be fair, the symptoms are practically identical. When I’m overwhelmed by life and haven’t had the chance for some down time, I feel depressed, and the symptoms are exactly the same as clinical depression.
In hindsight, the diagnosis of PND gave me permission to accept help, and ask for it in the first place. I was able to ask people to look after my baby so I could go to doctors appointments, and I would take my time and be glad when they were running late so I could sit quietly in the doctors surgery and read a book.
I was able to take time out to go to the hair dresser or even go to the supermarket on my own – on doctors orders, of course. My doctor told me I needed to have time out for myself – I wonder if he knew I was an introvert and needed time to myself. Something I am only just realising now.
In spite of the isolation of modern mothers, I found that a lot of the support offered was social – mother’s group, ABA groups, PND support groups. The support I really needed at the time was for someone to come and regularly give me a real break when I didn’t have to interact with anyone and I could simply recharge.
Now that my kids are older, it is easier to find time, however protecting that time is challenging. I’m still working on this.
I have no evidence I was mis-diagnosed – I need to do some more research on this and, unfortunately, I moved away from the doctors I saw when my kids were little, so it’s a bit hard to ask them about it. But there you go.
As promised, a reflection from an introverted mother, and some general ramblings…