Mum shares story of her battle with postnatal depression that left her contemplating suicide.
*TRIGGER warning, some readers may find this post distressing**
Lizzy Willamson, 40, from Sydney, said she was always an ‘extremely capable’ and ‘positive’ woman.
But she eventually found herself in a dark moment in her life about nine years ago where she would have suicidal thoughts, after giving birth to her second daughter Ruby. She went on to battle the condition by herself for eight months.
‘I felt like all of that had vanished and I had a constant mantra in my head that was “I’m going to kill myself, I’m going to kill myself”,’ Lizzy told Daily Mail Australia.
‘I would hold my little baby at the top of my apartment and look out the window and have these thoughts about throwing her out the window.’
‘I’d be punching the brick walls of my house, screaming at my children in a way that scared them and scared myself,’ she said.
‘It was like a dark cloud surrounded me wherever I went, it was feelings and emotions I had never felt the extremities of before, this feeling of anger, this feeling of darkness, this feeling of being overwhelmed.’
‘Everything felt like it was too hard to do,’ she recalled.
‘I remember sitting on the floor of my apartment and looking around at the housework that needed to be done – the washing that needed to be put away.
‘It was like I was paralysed to do anything, it all felt so hard.’
The reason that Lizzy didn’t seek professional help was because she was ashamed of herself
‘I thought that with all that I had, two healthy babies, a husband, a roof over my head, a supportive family, I had no right to be feeling this way,’ she said.
‘I thought that I should be really grateful and loving every moment of motherhood because of how lucky I was to be a mother. But I felt like such a failure that I wasn’t loving it and that I wasn’t coping.’
‘I thought I was the only one that felt like that because I didn’t tell anyone, I just thought that there was something wrong with me,’ she said. (Read her full story HERE.)
A recent study found women also say they keep quiet about their struggles to cope because they feel nurses focus more on the baby’s health than their own emotional well-being.
The 2016 PANDA facts:
- Three in five people are not aware of perinatal anxiety as an illness and almost half do not know what signs to look for
- Anxiety is at least as common as depression during the perinatal period
- There has been an increase in understanding and compassion in the community with 80% of people believing perinatal depression and anxiety is not a sign of weakness
- 92% of people believe that perinatal depression and anxiety does not stop a woman from being a good mother
- Nearly 60% of callers report a lowered mood, with symptoms including hopelessness, lacking motivation and loss of joy, while over
- 65% report feeling anxious, panicked, agitated, angry and irritable
- Two out of five callers have not been diagnosed with a mental illness, meaning they have ‘slipped through the cracks’ in the system and have only received critical intervention and support via the PANDA Helpline.
Signs can include panic attacks, persistent, generalised worry, development of obsessive or compulsive behaviours, abrupt mood swings, feeling constantly tired, withdrawing from friends, difficulty focusing, feeling constantly sad or crying for no reason and having thoughts of death or suicide.
Lizzy found exercise was her biggest help. Nine years later she still makes sure she exercises and although there are days she struggles, she makes sure to reach out for a helping hand.
‘There are days I can still feel the black dog nipping at my heels but it’s OK, I have the tools now,’ she said.
If you need support please contact PANDA National Helpline Mon to Fri, 10am – 5pm AEDT on 1300 726 306 OR Lifeline 13 11 14.
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