YOU DON’T LOOK LIKE SOMEONE WITH PND – By Kerry Norris

Our fifth ‘True Story’ series for Maternal Mental Health Matters Awareness Week with a post from parent and lifestyle blogger Kerry Norris.

“You don’t look like someone with PND (postnatal depression)”. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this said to me. I’ve heard it said to me so many times that quite often it has left me questioning myself and my diagnosis. This got me thinking. What does someone with PND look like? The answer is easy really, it could be anyone.

It could be the young mum, the older mum, the mum with the sunglasses, the mum crying, the mum who laughs all the time, the mum who is perfect, the mum with the bouncy blow dry, the mum not returning any of your calls, it could even be a dad. It could be the person that looks like they have everything. It could even be a celebrity. I wrote a poem called To the Mum with PND, You are not alone which also highlights who may be suffering. You can read it here, PND POEM.

The point i’m trying to make is that people think depression has a look. They expect people to look and act in a certain way. They expect is to be fairly obvious if someone is suffering with mental illness, when in reality, it’s actually quite the opposite.

I’ve also had the following said to me on more that one occasion:
“But you always look so happy”
“You always go out and go places”
“You can’t be depressed you’ve just be on holiday”
“You don’t look depressed you’re always smiling”

If you saw me on a daily basis you wouldn’t know I suffer with PND. I’ve become excellent at  hiding it. You see, people who suffer with PND wear a mask. They mask the reality of their feelings because of the shame they think it brings them. I don’t want people to think I can’t cope or that I struggle. I don’t want people talking about me as if i’m some sort of terrible mother. I wouldn’t want people to see me at my worst. My mask hides the feelings of guilt.

Don’t get me wrong there are days when I am genuinely happy. I have so many good days and they outweigh the bad days now. Some days I am a Mother warrior when I get everything done. I manage to take the kids out, I tend to the house and I genuinely enjoy myself.

However, it’s important to remember that not everybody that is depressed is crying. In fact most of them don’t cry that often and they certainly don’t cry 24/7. They actually may be smiling or laughing.

People with PND are able to perfect a facade. The facade enables sufferers to feel strong and powerful and makes them feel like they are fighting their illness. I may smile 24/7 around other people but you can’t judge my mental health on that as you’ll never know what pain my mind is putting me through behind my smile.

So to the people that have used the phrase “you don’t look like someone with PND”, what do you think of these people?

Every one of these pictures is someone that has suffered with PND. You wouldn’t know it by looking at them would you?

Just remember it’s not often those that you think would suffer that actually do.

To read more posts about PND by Kerry please visit

www.allaboutamininorris.com

For more information on PMH please visit www.pmhcymru.com

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