2nd Jan 2016 | Article
Hypnotherapy in a Case of Post-Natal Depression
Below is a letter written by a woman who used to suffer from post-natal depression. The client, whose name will not be revealed for reasons of confidentiality, was eager for us to publish the account of her experiences in the hope that it would encourage other women in that situation to find the right help. She was treated by hypnotherapist Lionel Sinclair DABCH, MCA Hyp, who has been practising at the Brackenbury Clinic since 2005.
‘I’m sure no one expects to get PND, but it hit me so unexpectedly because I’d had such a happy pregnancy and was so looking forward to my son being born. But, after a very scary birth and 4 weeks of sleep deprivation, I started on a downward spiral. I felt like I was in the film ‘Groundhog Day’, where every day is the same, and that the nightmare would never end. I felt totally trapped by the new life that motherhood brings. I wept for my lost life, missing all the freedoms that I had taken for granted. Every day felt as if I was walking in slow motion, every morning I cried and threw up, and barely ate. I lost the will to live.
I adored my son, but felt completely out of my depth looking after him, and wanted a way out. I walked out once, but my husband persuaded me back. I fantasised about getting into an accident that would put me in hospital, so I could get away. I thought about how to kill myself constantly. And, all the while, I drove myself even crazier as I saw how, seemingly, everyone else took motherhood in their stride and I was a total wreck.
“It’s like you’ve been erased. I felt as if I had died, and was grieving for my lost life. I had panic attacks, constant nausea, insomnia, crying fits and frequent suicidal thoughts. It was as if someone had put me in solitary confinement and thrown away the key – I felt totally abandoned, alone and desperate. It was the opposite from what I had expected to feel as a new mother.”
The insomnia was unbearable, and the panic attacks made me feel terrified. I was completely without hope, unable to see that this constant panic would ever end, though everyone tried to tell me it would. I felt hopeless and desperate. I didn’t think I’d make it.
My husband saw Lionel’s ad in the paper when my son was 6 months old, and insisted I go. I must admit, I was totally sceptical. I’m not a fan of any so called ‘alternative’ therapies, and a firm believer in science and traditional medicine as the cure for life’s ills. But I didn’t want to take anti depressants as I was breast feeding. So I went along the first time, in my usual state of heightened panic, on the verge of nausea and in tears, thinking it wouldn’t help. I couldn’t believe that anything could make me better. I was so desperately unhappy it didn’t seem possible.
I liked Lionel instantly, and he gave me a realistic idea of how much we’d be able to do, and how long it would take. For the first time in months, I could at least see someone thought I could get out of this, and that he believed in me being able to get better. That in itself was a big step.
Don’t get me wrong, there is no instant cure, you can’t expect magic, but Lionel took me from a suicidal, desperate wreck, who felt totally detached from the world, to someone who could feel hope, could sleep, and who could believe in a ‘cure’ in a matter of 8 weeks. I wasn’t better, but, for the first time ever, I felt hope that I could recover. Bit by bit, Lionel and I put the jigsaw back together – I’d been shattered and needed all the pieces put back together. I’d been a confident, clever, funny, sassy career woman, and he helped me see that I could incorporate my son into that life too. He helped me see a future where I would be happy. I began to totally believe that I would get better, that my life was not over, that I had everything to live for. I would never have believed it possible just a couple of months earlier.
All in all, it took about 5 months to make me ‘normal’ again. And now, I like to think, I’m a much better version of me. I know how to control the demons, and am a far happier, more confident, and nicer person than before. It is no exaggeration to say that Lionel saved my life or, as he would say, taught me how to save myself. I would not be here without him.
Please don’t suffer alone. Please don’t cry alone. Please don’t think you’re the only one – it’s so, so common. Now, when I mention I had PND, so many women tell me similar tales. Above all, please take a step to make yourself better. Good luck… you can find hope again, I promise.’