November is PANDA Month
2020 has definitely thrown curve balls in all of our direction, none more so (I believe), than for the families bringing new life into the world during this time. The alteration in support services, visiting rights, and people able to drop in and just hold your babe whilst you can have a shower have all been massive. It has really highlighted to us in the practice how mental health impacts also have such a flow on to the physical state of the individual as well. Its up to all of us together to work at turning this year around.
During the Month of November, each year we have focused on PANDA. Now this isn't the furry gorgeous creature that lives in Asia. Instead this is all about Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Awareness Month.
PANDA is Australia's only national helpline for Mothers and Fathers experiencing mental health challenges associated with pregnancy and neonatal/infant times. They have amazing resources, and are really the best support when you feel you have nowhere else to turn.
As a practice who sees a large amount of young children and mothers in the early years of the pregnancy and the postnatal journey, we can recognise the symptoms of needing greater levels of support. What many of us are unaware of, including our partners or major support people, is that the signs of anxiety and depression can be altered with every person. Below is a list of signs we can observe for in ourselves or our loved ones when they are travelling through this time in their lives.
SIGNS MAY INCLUDE:
Feeling sad, low, or crying for no obvious reason
Persistent, generalised worry, often focused on fears for the health or wellbeing of your baby
Being nervous, ‘on edge’, or panicky
Being easily annoyed or irritated
Withdrawing from friends and family
Difficulties sleeping, even when your baby is sleeping
Abrupt mood swings
Feeling constantly tired and lacking energy
Physical symptoms like nausea, vomiting, cold sweats, lack of appetite
Having little or no interest in the things that normally bring you joy
Fear of being alone or with others
Finding it difficult to focus, concentrate or remember
Increased alcohol or drug use
Panic attacks (racing heart, palpitations, shortness of breath, shaking or feeling physically detached from your surroundings)
Developing obsessive or compulsive behaviours
Thoughts of death, suicide or harming your baby. There are also many other symptoms not listed here. If you or someone close to you experiences any symptoms or feelings that worry you for two weeks or more, please seek support.
This month in November, we encourage all of you to take a check in.
With Your Loved Ones.
With the ones who seem like they have it all together (hot tip... nobody ever has it all together)
And if you have concerns, speak to them, speak to some of their support people, or call the PANDA hotline and see how you can help. Its up to all of us to tackle this together.