Is there life after a maternal mental illness? Is recovery even possible? Will you ever be you again? When you realise you have a maternal mental illness one of the difficulties can be that you feel like you will have lost yourself forever. This can then prevent us from seeking help and support, because doing that will mean admitting we have gone, admitting we are lost within ourselves. So, we put on a facade and we carry on as if nothing is wrong? Sound familiar right?
Hope? let me show you…
Course there is hope, there is always hope. You have to be willing to see it though to realise it. So often, especially in this modern fast paced lifestyle we all live, we don’t give our self a moment to reflect to see where we have grown or where we have changed. Think of this for one brief example are you still the person you was when you where a teenager? Well yeah of course you are, you can remember those days and it still feels like you, just a different and more hormonal version of you. But despite all the hormones that raged through you back then, making you behave in such crazy ways, you are still the same person. You are still you. And we can use that in this situation too. We may change along the way but the core us will remain, YOU will remain, I promise you.
Ok, bear with me I get it might not be Thursday when your reading this. And this is not me just getting all nostalgic and sharing a cute snap of my babies. This is me explaining how you can take a moment to stop and see recovery and to see it is possible.
So, traditionally on Thursday’s social media is a wash with old pictures and dodgy hair styles (mine is certainly no exception, what where we thinking?!). But I ask my followers to do something different, and I lead by example. We, look beyond the picture, beyond the perfect portrait that it paints. We look at what our life was like back then, and we use this to see the mountains we have since overcome and to help us see that we might not always feel it, but we truly are stronger than our minds. We can see for that moment, that we have already overcome so many mountains along the way to be where we are today, and we can and will overcome so many more.
So, let me share my story behind my throwback Thursday pic (above) to give you an example. I look at it and of course initially I look at how small my children once where and fill with pride at what they have now achieved. Then I turn to myself and I pull my appearance to shreds and quickly tell myself to stop it. Then I think of who I was then and what life was like for me. I was a very young mum (22) to three under 5 and in a toxic, mentally abusive and possessive relationship. Back then, there was no law against ‘gas lighting’ or mental abuse and no one talked about it either. I was also suffering with post natal depression but not on any treatment for it, after a brief and stern reaction from my GP I just carried on. But inside I was struggling so much with my past, my life and being a mum. My emotions fill up just slightly revisiting who I was and where I was back then. BUT…
Now I am writing a blog in a series of blogs for maternal mental health awareness week as a mental health personal practitioner. I have studied hard and I have worked hard and I have a enormous passion to help others. To help heal those as wounded as me. Not long after the picture was taken I got out of my toxic relationship! That in itself is a huge achievement and its now been over 10 years (showing my age now ladies) I can see how many mountains I have faced in that time, and often at the time they felt impossible but here I am.
So, where you are now is not where you will be forever, who you are now is not who you will be forever. RECOVERY IS POSSIBLE!
Go find your throwback picture and give this exercise a try, who cares if it’s even Thursday or not. And why not come and share your experience and memories over in the Facebook support group which you can find by clicking here.
“I’ve managed to find parts of ‘me’ again and I’m starting to see the bubbly, outgoing girl coming back.” – Emma Tripney (pre/post natal depression and GAD).
“I never would have imagined I’d be where I am now a few years ago; running my own business, and mum to a wonderful 12 year old boy who I love more than anything.” – Sara Powys (postnatal depression and anxiety).
“The black dog still visits now and again, but the main difference now is that I know it’s not going to last forever. I had to fight so hard and sometimes it felt hopeless, but I am so glad I kept fighting.” – Selina Shaikh (Postpartum Psychosis)
Please use the options below to share this blog across your social media. You never know who it may help, who might need to see it or who will be educated by it. Education, more people sharing and talking is one sure fire way to end the stigma to mental health and to ensure no more people suffer in silence without getting help.