Below is the 2nd part of Amy Steele’s story (following on from part one published yesterday), a graphic designer at Funky Pigeon, who has shared her experience of postnatal depression to raise awareness of mental health issues and to try and reduce the stigma surrounding it. As part of this, Amy has created the ‘Believe in Happy’ campaign that are aimed at supporting people through mental health issues, and to encourage people to recognise a mental health illness the same as they would recognise a physical illness. Here is the second part of Amy’s Story as she shares her road to recovery…..
Road to Recovery
I didn’t believe that I would ever feel better but slowly, with the help of family, friends and professionals, I learned to let go of the guilt and accept that I had an illness. I was then able to really begin my recovery.
One day, I received a bunch of flowers from my next door neighbour and I was so touched that what I was going through was being recognised as an illness. My grandma also sent me a get well soon card and when my doctor came to visit, he saw it and said ‘I wish more people would send cards for mental illness, they can really help.’
As I began to feel stronger physically and mentally, I would force myself to do little things like make myself breakfast and get dressed. A small task that gets taken for granted by most but a monumental achievement for someone suffering from severe depression.
I would add another small task to my routine each day until they eventually became second nature again. I didn’t want praise or attention for my small victories but the fact that I was getting it from my parents and mental health team spurred me on even more. I was determined to overcome this illness.
Thoughts of suicide became less frequent and my emotions levelled out. I was trying hard to bond with my daughter and would take her out for long walks by myself. The walks turned into a visit to the shops and one day it dawned on me that I was actually enjoying spending time with my daughter instead of fearing it. I finally felt like the clouds were clearing and I was climbing out of the hole I was in.
Support and Final Thoughts
The overwhelming support I have received from professionals, family and friends is amazing. I’d always be so afraid to burden people with my ‘problems’, so I would keep them bottled up and put on a brave face. I wanted to be the strong one, the funny one, the one people relied on but it all got too much. Now I know that a problem shared is a problem halved and by talking about how I’m feeling doesn’t make me weak, it actually makes me strong.
I still have ‘down days’ and certain ‘triggers’, but I am so much healthier and happier now and am proud of how far I have come. I have worked hard at my recovery and kept going when all I wanted to do was disappear.
My advice is please don’t suffer in silence. Accepting help was the best thing I ever did. Remember that you are NOT alone and there are people out there that WANT to help you too!
I now want to try and help others that are going through similar experiences and want to use my platform as a designer at Funky Pigeon to create meaningful cards and gifts, which can really make a difference to someone who is suffering. An idea that my doctor subconsciously gave me all those months ago.
Here are some of Amy’s fantastic designs below – all available to buy on Funky Pigeon
The Every Mum Movement has teamed up with Amy and her #BelieveinHappy campaign at Funky Pigeon Cards to bring you an awesome little giveaway. With a focus on maternal mental health, we are giving away a bundle including a copy of my book Bonkers and one of Funky Pigeons #BelieveInHappy Bags (30% of sales from #BelieveInHappy go to @Mind) To win simply give The Every Mum Movement and The Funky Pigeon a follow over on Facebook, and enter the competition here on The Every Mum Movement Facebook page by commenting below the competition post and telling us who you would give this thoughtful gift to! P.s, for a second chance to win you can hop over to Funky Pigeons page and enter there too! You can shop the #BelieveInHappy range here
T’s & C’s apply. Competition closes 12pm 10th October 2018. Applicants but be 18+ and a resident of the UK. Good luck everyone!!
If Like Amy, you would like to share your maternal mental health story to help The Every Mum Movement to empower every mum to take care of their maternal mental health, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details on how to be involved in the One Mum 4 Every Mum feature. You can support the movement by following us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.