Suffering for six months in silence, Madge eventually went for help. In her case, her depression was so severe that she required medication to aid her recovery.
These days, Madge takes part in the antenatal classes in CUMH, where she’s able to pre-warn expectant parents about the possibility of PND rearing its head.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
“The CBT was brilliant, even though it felt like a lot of work in the start,” she says. “You learn coping mechanisms, and how to avoid triggers.
“The mental health nurse was also the one that put me in touch with Madge; I went to my first PND meeting when Leo was five months old.” “It was the scariest moment ever, going in, but the relief I got out of it was indescribable.
“There were women there going through what I was going through, there were women there who had recovered, who were coming back to help.
“It gave me so much hope that at all the panic attacks an anxiety would end, and I could go back to being me.” For Elaine, she remembers beginning to feel that she was returning to normal when Leo was around a year old: she realised she was making it through the day with no panic attacks.
Now, she’s one of the women who attend PND Ireland’s regular monthly meetings, to share her story and support women closer to the beginning on their road to recovery.
And her story has a message of hope, too.
“It does make you stronger. It has made me much more aware of myself, and it’s made me take time for myself; you can’t deal with your children or take care of anyone if you’re not well.
“I think it’s made me and Mark an even stronger couple to have come through this.
“You have to talk a lot of stuff out; now, anything life throws at us, we can deal with.” PND Ireland hold regular support groups and coffee mornings.
For further information on meetings, plus discussion forums and advice, visit: http://www.pnd.ie