I Feel No Shame in Admitting I Needed that Help – Laura’s Story
Hi all, and welcome back to my blog. We are on day 6 of my mental health awareness month. If you missed yesterdays interview with Christy get that here. Today we are joined by Laura from five little doves. Laura who has joined me to talk about her struggle with depression, anxiety, and an eating disorder. Help Support Laura, and spread awareness by sharing this post.
I’m Laura, I’m 38, wife of one and mum of five. My children are 3, 4, 5, 13 and Joseph who was stillborn in 2006.
Tell me a bit about your mental health condition?
I developed depression and anxiety in my teens which developed into anorexia. It was a vicious circle really, one simply fuelled the othet, but by the time I hit my twenties I was very poorly indeed
Thank you for sharing this Laura, What Struggles would you say you did/do face?
My biggest struggle was admitting that I had a problem. Although I had been very open about my battle with depression and anxiety, I wasn’t as keen to admit that I was suffering with an eating disorder. I think that half of the battle with an eating disorder is admitting you have a problem and asking for help. Although I was visibly very unwell, and my family and friends knew what was going on, I denied it for years.
When planning to start a family, did you have any worries, if so what were they?
At the time of having my eldest son my anorexia was relatively under control, I was a stable weight and desperately wanted to stay healthy in order to have a child. I did worry a lot about how I would cope with the weight gain and relinquishing control of my body, and also how I would cope postnatally with my depression.
Do you feel as though your mental health condition and worries had affect on you during pregnancy?
During my first pregnancy I actually felt the happiest, and healthiest I have ever been. My subsequent pregnancies, including 15 miscarriages and the stillbirth of my second son, were fraught with worry and my anxiety particularly was out of control.
I was fortunate that I had a great mental health team to support me, had antenatal counselling and CBT, and everything in place to support me post-natally when inevitably my depression and anorexia returned
I am really sorry to hear about your second son, that must have been an awful time. I am so glad you had the support of your mental health team when you needed it.
Would you say that this has had an impact your parenting?
My anorexia hugely impacted on my parenting, especially with my eldest son. After losing Joseph I became incredibly unwell and was actually commited to an eating disorders unit where I stayed for several months under 24 hour supervision. It was without a doubt the lowest point of my life, isolated from my family and friends, away from my two year old son, and a real wake up call to try and recover so that I could go home and be a better Mummy.
Despite relapsing over the years, and the depression and anxiety never fully going away, I think I have actually become a better parent for it in some ways. I am so much stronger for all I have been through, and even on the days when I want to hide away from the world, I don’t. My children are the best therapy I have ever had.
You are so incredibly strong! Turning what you have been through into a positive to become a better parent is amazing! I’m in awe!
Did you receive any help from a healthcare professional? If so what was it?
I have been in therapy since the age of 18. I’ve seen counsellors, psychologists, psychiatrists, I’ve been on every anti-depressant on the market, I’ve been hospitalised, had CBT, EMT, and I’ve had a whole team of mental health workers doing their best to help me recover. Some of it worked, some not so much, but the help was there when I needed it.
What do you do to help yourself personally?
These days I help myself by being very honest and open about my battles, by reaching out on the days I am struggling, by trying to maintain a healthy weight and be the best version of me that I can be. I have also been on antidepressants for twenty years and will no doubt be on them my entire life. I see no shame in admitting that I need that help.
Do you feel like there is enough support and help for people suffering from mental health conditions?
I think there is help out there should you need it, but often there are lengthy waiting lists or limited options and I think that’s where many people slip through the net and end up in desperate situations. I was fortunate that due to having children and being post-natal I was often prioritised, but I can see how others are left waiting to receive help and with mental illness, time is vital.
Thank you Laura, and lastly what advice would you give to someone who has a mental health condition, but is planning on starting a family?
I would say to speak to your GP or mental health worker before hand to make sure that you have a system in place to support you through your pregnancy and beyond. It can be difficult navigating pregnancy and raising children with a mental health condition, but with the right support it is entirely possible.
Thank you so much for taking the time to complete these questions. I am in awe of how open and honest you have been throughout this interview to help me raise awareness. So Thank you for that 💕 If you wish to contact Laura, or follow her journey, her details are below. Tomorrow I am speaking with Julie from Mummyitsok. Julie is speaking about her battle with Postpartum Depression. Post goes live at 9am!
Much Love 💕