I'm pretty sure I suffered from post natal anxiety, despite having been to the doctors it was never diagnosed as such. In fact I didn't know post natal anxiety existed until a couple of years later when an article from The Fourth Trimester resonated with me so much it was like one of those lightbulb moments - holy shit, I am NOT the only one who has felt like that.
Basically, I became convinced I was dying. Some days I was convinced I had multiple symptoms of terminal diseases, some days I would imagine scenarios like falling down the stairs. It gets more sinister and I'm not going to go into it here, but basically it always ended up with me being dead and my beautiful son being left alone to cry until someone found me. The one that sticks in my mind the most was being out in the garden after putting my son down for a nap, looking up overhead and seeing an airplane which I was convinced was going to crash in my garden, killing me. This went on for a couple of months, I would imagine these scenarios daily, scenarios that ultimately I knew were completely unrealistic yet they became so overpowering that I was upset constantly.
The relief I felt when I finally told my husband was immense. He didn't freak out and take my son away from me, he didn't tell me to get a grip, he just listened. Every time I had these thoughts, I told him about them, and gradually I just stopped thinking this way. Just saying it out loud helped me process my thoughts and it just seemed to get them out of my system. My experience is undoubtedly much milder than most, but I do think if I hadn't spoken up when I did it could have manifested into something more.
Since then I've spoken to more and more pals openly about mental health issues and the overwhelming lesson from all our conversations is the importance of talking about mental health.
My heart sank on 11th May this year when I heard the news that Scott Hutchison from Scottish band Frightened Rabbit had died of suicide. I spent much of the day in tears and I guess I felt I didn't really have the right to be so upset over the death of someone I don't know, but seeing the immense show of love and support on social media that day made me realise that Scott made a connection with everyone who listened to him sing.
Did you know there are 2 suicides in Scotland every day?
I felt really helpless that day, and wanted to find a way to do something in Scott's memory that would help others. So here's me telling you about my experience to help normalise being open about mental health, and in addition to this I'm delighted to be donating £94.66 from sales in May to the charity Scottish Association for Mental Health. SAMH currently operate over 60 services across Scottish communities to provide mental health support including suicide prevention, and their website has loads of information whether you need advice for yourself or on being there for someone else, please check them out.