Until I got Post-natal Anxiety I didn’t know much about it at all. I had heard a lot about Post-natal Depression but nothing at all about the anxiety side of things. I have some wonderful friends in my life who even though they didn’t know much about it really looked after me and managed to do or say the right thing. I have written about my symptoms of Post-natal Anxiety here. If you know someone who is going through it or you think they might, I thought I would share with you the things that others did that really helped me. It is so hard to know what to say to someone who is going through it but believe me, even if they isolate themselves they still need you. Here are some practical things you can do to help.
Listen – Sometimes there is nothing you can say that will make your friend feel better. They will know this, they will know there isn’t a rhyme or reason to certain fears they are experiencing. Sometimes all they need is for someone to listen. Stay calm if they are telling you something that takes you back a bit. Most importantly don’t tell them to relax and forget about it. Believe me, they will have tried.
Offer to go with them to appointments – I didn’t ever take up anyone up on their offers of this but it was so comforting to know the option was there. For me, it was something I needed to do alone but others may feel safer and happier if they know a friendly face is waiting in the waiting room with a hug ready.
Visit – One of my fears was going out of the house on my own with Little Man. This really restricted me when planning to do things with my friends and I felt awful cancelling at the last minute. Take it from someone who knows, if your friend is doing this, they feel bloody awful about it. Take baby steps and visit them at first and then suggest small outings like a walk round the block or a coffee in a quiet cafe.
Offer help – If your friend is suffering from anxiety they may not feel comfortable leaving their little one with someone else but you can help in other ways. Load the dishwasher while they feed the baby or bring a bit of shopping for them.
Just be there – This is the most important part and what my friends were so good at doing for me. They were just there. I knew no matter what, I could pick up the phone and text or call them and tell them I was feeling rubbish. If a friend chooses to share how they are feeling with you, this is huge for them so just being there will be enough. Standing in my kitchen and crying to my friends and admitting something was wrong was the first step to my recovery.
I hope this helps anyone that may not be sure how to deal with this sort of situation.
Have a lovely day.