Firstly I want to thank Danielle for taking part in my Mental Health Questionnaire. She shares her awful experience with us regarding her traumatic birth. You can find Danielle’s Blog here and her twitter page here. Please bare in mind there may be triggers within the responses to my questions.
Q1. Tell me a little about your mental illness and if you have sort help?
My Son was born 16 weeks early in 2015. I went into preterm labour unexpectedly and had to endure a very frightening and traumatic birth,followed by a trip to theatre for surgery.
My son spent four and a half months in hospital fighting for his life. It took it’s toll on my already fragile state. I was diagnosed in September of last year with PTSD and Anxiety disorder. This after a 2-year battle in my brain whereby I had convinced myself that I could deal with it on my own.I couldn’t
Q2. Have you taken antidepressants? If so what affect did they have on you? What advice would you give to someone starting a course of antidepressants?
Yes, I was prescribed a low dose of antidepressant medication. It took a while for me to feel like they were making any sort of difference to my state of mind. However, after about 7 or 8 weeks I just felt better. It’s hard to explain, but I was less affected by the usual stresses that would often send me over the edge. I suppose the best way to describe it was that I felt numb. Not in a hard-hearted way, just less emotional. I’d advise anyone who has been prescribed antidepressants to give them time. Don’t expect miracles overnight. Just be patient. You’ll know when they’re working, and if you don’t then you need to go back to your GP.
Q3. What coping strategies do you use on a bad day?
On bad days I close my doors and lock out the world. I don’t go on Social Media and I don’t see anybody except my family. They are the only ones who can pull me out of the depths. I also think more about myself. I work on self-care and put myself first. Whether that’s reading a book, listening to my music or just lying on the couch with a tub of Ben & Jerry’s watching The Big Bang Theory.
Q4. What effect do you think social media has had on your mental health? What affect do you think it has on other people’s mental health?
Social Media can be both horrendous and uplifting. I am lucky enough to have found lots of like-minded people on my social platforms and they are primarily who I choose to follow. However not everybody else does. Young girls idolise massive celebrities like Kim Kardashian who post the most perfect images depicting her even more perfect life. Those young girls strive for that same level of “perfection” and it’s unobtainable unless you also have KK’s fortune. This is where Social Media is failing, and this is when it’s detrimental to a persons Mental Health.
Q5. What changes would you like to see in raising awareness for mental health going forward? What would you do? How do you think we can reduce the stigma surrounding it?
I think talking about it is a good start for making it more acceptable. The more it becomes normal in everyday conversation, the more widely acceptable it will be. I am the mother to an autistic child, so I realise more than most that everybody’s brains are wired differently, and with that comes different ways of handling life. Admitting to the world that you are struggling isn’t a weakness.
Q6. Have you ever experienced stigma yourself? How did you deal with this?
I can’t say I’ve ever experienced stigma regarding my Mental Health. I’ve encountered people who don’t fully understand it and that’s fine. As I said before, everyone is different. I think however, that this has a lot to do with who you surround yourself with. Being amongst a group of people who don’t care or want the best for you is a Mental Health trigger on its own, so choosing your tribe carefully will eliminate this side of stigma entirely.
Q7. Finally, yay! I hear you say.
What advice would you give to someone who is struggling in silence with their mental health?
My advice is to speak up. DO NOT SUFFER IN SILENCE. Get it out of your body and as soon as you do that you will feel better. You are not a weak for admitting your struggles. Life is too short to be miserable. Ask for help, and be safe in the knowledge that you are never alone… The internet is always awake!!!
Thank you so much Danielle for sharing this with us.
If you find you are struggling with a Perinatal Mental Illness please do not hesitate to seek help. There are some great charities and people out there, willing to help. Please see below:
Mummy Thomas’ Social Media