Mental Illness unfortunately doesn’t have boundaries. It doesn’t matter if you are rich, poor, educated, non educated etc. Anyone can suffer it any time.
For me the moment I stepped out of the hospital doors after delivering my second son I was hit like a tonne of bricks. (March 2015) Everything I knew was suddenly not the same- I couldn’t go to the gym when I wanted, shopping took on a whole new meaning let alone just getting organised to head out for the day.
For some they wouldn’t care about this, but it was my identity that was all of a sudden different and I wasn’t prepared for it. I felt so frustrated and couldn’t understand why I was feeling that way. I had an amazingly supportive husband by my side who only wanted the best for me- sometimes it would hurt my head because I was so mad at myself for feeling the way I did.
Over the next few months my mental health declined and it probably wasn’t helped by the feeding issues, the screaming baby due to reflux and coelic. Instead of giving up I keep trying to do all that I did before: the cleaning, the exercising 6-7 days a week, the afternoon walk and studying. The Anxiety increased and slowly it became harder for me to go out (heart palpitations) and harder for me to get things done around the house. People who see me now can not believe I was ever this bad. My poor husband dealt with daily melt downs because I just couldn’t cope with it all. I know it was all in my head but when you are in the state it is very hard to see otherwise.
In December 2015 my husband in combination with my GP and child health nurse convinced me to go to the Raphael Centre. I was assessed there where they determined that I needed care and admission straight away. After much deliberation I finally agreed to be admitted to the Mother and Baby unit at KEMH. My stay there was the journey changer that I needed. I remember walking around the supermarket (during my admission) trying to get ready for Xmas:-delusional, distracted and was struggling to just even be there- that was the moment I decided that something needed to change.!
I was completely against taking medication especially as I was still breastfeeding. They presented to me research done by the hospital to demonstrate the amount of medication that would be transferred. I still wasn’t convinced even though my son was starting to self-wean (so maybe it was a partial blessing). They prescribed the medication and I started taking it and within a few weeks my mindset started to improve. As part of my journey I met some amazing mums who also were suffering and we sort peace in knowing we were not alone.
Over the next few months I started the MUMMACTIV journey which has given me so much passion and excitement and I feel that I have come to life again. My bond with my son has gone from strength to strength and it is like a cloud has lifted from above my head.
I have always been an advocate for the ACT-BELONG-COMMIT and whenever I am feeling anxious or not quite right I chuck on the joggers and hit the track. With the anxiety under control it is now much easier to get out and mingle. The Babes + Picnics Australia has been a blessing as I can mingle with mothers who also have children. Many don’t know each other and step outside their social comfort zones to participate. This gave me confidence that I too can do it.
The first steps are often the hardest and getting there is a mission but afterwards my heart is warmed by meeting so many beautiful Mums. I am blessed that I got the help I needed as so many just suffer in silence. As part of my future journey I want to continue to help Mums who also may be struggling so that they too can see that there is light and support!! Please reach out and have a chat if you ever need to chat. Remember I was once there too…