The third of the #maternalMHmatters week interviews aiming to reduce stigma, share experiences and supportive information. Andrea is a married, mother of 2 children aged 7 and 1 living in Chester, England. Andrea works professionally in the mental health sector and is a close family friend to Ryan (DadsApp Founder).
What is your experience of mental health?
I work as a professional in mental health as a psychotherapist. My personal experience with my own mental health is depression after my second child.
When did you know something wasn’t right?
When I was tearful every day for a good few weeks and feeling like I just couldn’t keep going like it was, having thoughts that the sleep deprivation was never going to end. Not really wanting to do it any more. Not suicidal but if you gave me an out I would have taken it.
Did you seek professional help/support?
I sought medication from the GP as I knew physically and practically I was not in a position to be able to engage in what would help, exercise and also I was already pretty active. I needed something to bring me back from the edge to enable me to find some self compassion& reserves.
What informal support did you seek?
I tried to be open with what I was feeling. My close friends would have cups of tea and let me cry and normalise what I was feeling and encourage me.
How did you find asking for help?
I rang the GP requesting a specific medication due to my professional knowledge so I was quite pragmatic about it seeing it as a means to survival. Having knowledge meant it was perhaps more straightforward.
How are things different now?
My little boy now sleeps 5/7 nights, I am no longer on medication after 5 months. But it definitely helped me bring back an equilibrium to cope and survive. Now sleep has improved my mood is better and I have some reserves to draw on again. I am slowly beginning to run again and plan ahead more as I feel I can cope. But medication also enabled me to be able to think more clearly to recognise I need to be compassionate towards myself.
What would you say to someone who is struggling?
Don’t do it alone. What you feel is pretty normal. Lets figure out what you need right now. How can I help you? Take things a moment at a time. Don’t think too far ahead. Just survive this moment.
Thanks for reading and don’t forget to comment or share
If you’re struggling and in need of support I have begun to compile a list of supportive links via my SUPPORT page but you will find a larger more comprehensive list over at PNDandME‘s page. Below is also a map of support services in Scotland.