Monday, 9 November 2009

Post Natal Depression suicide and me....


Mine is not a standard birth story but it is one that I have been trying to write for the last fifteen years, unable to know where to begin.
For the people who know me now, as a wife, mother and successful business woman my words may be even harder to take in but after fifteen years of procrastinating here is the story of my birth.
The morning of Thursday 5th May 1994 began like every other day except that was the day I was going to die.
I had suffered in silence (mostly) with an illness so sever that it was about to erase me whilst at the same time leave an innocent little boy without a mummy.
Of course with hindsight – I know that I had been suffering from sever post natal depression for the three and a half years since I gave birth to my son when I was little more than a child myself.
I had travelled along a dark and unhappy path in those three and a half years. Littered with excess excess and fraught emotions. Living on tinned tomatoes and toast so that I could support us both.
But it was too much for me. Even though I was in constant contact with my family I was living on a fragile deserted island and I couldn’t take anymore.
That Thursday morning I dropped my boy at my sister’s house explaining that I had a few errands to run. I kissed him, held him and willed him to be strong.
I drove my fathers car into the city and parked it where I knew it would be easily found and made my way to the top of the car park.
The fine rain had turned into that horrible wet drizzle and the street below me was mostly void of shoppers. I stood there looking, thinking, crying for an age. I was so angry with myself, with the world, with all of the people who should have helped me, that should have made me better.
I felt weak, useless and pathetic.
One side of my head was screaming JUMP, JUMP, JUMP but I was scared. Really scared, really, really scared.
I realised that I couldn’t do it. I didn’t have it in me. I was so useless that I couldn’t even do this - that I couldn’t end it.
And so I jumped.
The irony is that I didn’t manage to end it. I have since been told that I am the only person ever to survive jumping the 75ft from the top of that multi-storey car park. It happens a lot more than you know.
I was conscious and able to give next of kin details to the paramedics that came to save me and then things get a little fuzzy. I remember the pain and oddly I remember a floaty feeling as I looked down seeing myself lying on a trolley, as I was shocked back to life.
Then it was a week later. I had spent 20 hours in theatre as the surgeons tried to put me back together again. My leg injuries were explained to me by a doctor;
“If you hit a Crunchie Bar with a hammer,” he said. “That is what you have done to your feet.”
I was numb.
Then came the spinal surgeon – totally lacking in bedside manner.
“Well young lady, what a totally selfish and stupid thing to do. You do realise that with your injuries, you will never walk again.”
I was devastated.
Irony number 2 – I was a dancer. I had been dancing all my life. I danced through school and on to a post sixteen dance training. I won a coveted place in the National Youth Dance Company. I was a dancer – full stop. That was me.
So here I was. In hospital and not only wasn’t I dead, but I was now facing life in a wheelchair too.
For the record, I smashed both of my feet into a million pieces, and my right ankle too. I landed so perfectly that my spine did its primary job as a shock absorber and crushed four of my vertebrae in the process. (All those hours of ballet training kicked in when I least expected it!)
Of course I should have been dead. But I wasn’t and it took me a long time to see this chance for what it really was for me.
It wasn’t my day to go. I did have another chance and although my progress has been slow and painful I have come through my self inflicted misery and built a better life for myself and for my boy.
Over the years journalist friends have tried to coax my story into print but my fear of being judged and condemned for what I did has always ensured my silence.
In truth, I have been selfish by keeping my story because do you know what?
I can walk. I can cycle, I can swim, I can work, I got married, I had babies (3 of them!), I have a business, I have friends, I have love and more than anything I have hope.
My recovery has been long and painful. I have screamed and cried and I live with the pain of my injuries and the pain of not being able to dance every single day. But if I did have the ability to go back to that morning, I would take the very same route.
I know now that I was given a chance that day to right all of the wrongs.
Sure this is a condensed speed blog version of my story but in its brevity or entirety the result is the same. A personal triumph over adversity – my rebirth.
If you know anyone who is suffering from PND, please, please try and reach out to them - they could really do with your time and attention. And if you think that you have PND, please, please, please tell someone how you are feeling. It may just save your life.


Dancing
Me dancing
In recovery
After months in hospital I'd dropped from 10st of muscle to under 6st. I was like a bag of broken bones.
Please do leave comments on this post. I really didn't know if writing it was the correct thing to do. But I know now that it was. I have had emails and tweets from people with PND and people who have friends with PND and if I can be of any help please do let me know.
Your comments (good or bad) really show the support that is out there for this dreadful illness.
thank you.
xx

Feature in Mother & Baby Magazine

76 comments:

  1. This is such a moving story and thank you so much for sharing it with us. You are such a strong person (mind and body) and to come through that is just amazing. All your children must be so so proud of you hun x

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  2. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx from us xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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  3. This post is absolutely brilliant. So many people could learn so much from the suffering you have been through and hopefully save themselves from having to go through the same. Sadly there was a lot I could relate to.

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  4. Wow - speechless. So movingly written.Thank you.Glad you managed to turn your life around.

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  5. thank you so much fot this blog hon. you made me cry. i had PND for 4 years after my daughter born in 1997. i thought i was the only person alive who felt that way at the time. ive never spoken about how it felt to anyone. you summed it up in you very honest and well penned blog. im glad you got through it all and have gone on to be well and sucessful in all aspects of your life. thank you again for sharing.xxx

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  6. A very brave story to tell - Wow!
    Thank you for sharing!

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  7. oh my goodness, amazing story and so brave. I really respect when women are open and honest about the struggles that come hand in hand with Motherhood sometimes, for some people.
    Big Respect and beautiful words.
    Bec (aka @ilovemonty)

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  8. That saw this retweeted by RosieScribble. What a humbling story but inspirational too. PND must be so hard to deal with, and I've heard it can hit hardest several years after the birth, when you're expected to "pull yourself together". Thank you for sharing and don't worry about being judged. You're amazing.

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  9. Jaysus Sian. I was holding my breath - thank you for sharing your story. You will empower someone out there to speak. You're right about talking to someone as depression in itself is about unexpressed anger an feelings that get turned inward. I know that you live in pain but you have far surpassed any of those doctors expectations - a sure sign of that humongous strength and resolve you have. Hugs x

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  10. So moving and well written. Thank you.

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  11. What an amazing story. Not at all what I expected. I have been in the dark places as I think many people have, but so few of us realise that other people have survived to tell the tale, therefore we can too. Sharing this is wonderful and brave and I am so happy to read about such a fantastic recovery!

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  12. I am so sorry you went through this but so happy you came out the other side. Sadly so many women do suffer from PND in silence until it's too late. I hope lots of women will read your post and gain comfort and strength from it x

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  13. Oh Sian, what an amazing story, beautifully written. You are so brave to write about it. PND is a hidden illness that I think affects most mothers to a degree. Yours was clearly severe and untreated. I'm so glad you came through everything and now have such a lovely family.
    I hope by writing about your experience you can help others x

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  14. Wow...all I have to say Sian...Wow.
    Karin

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  15. Thank you all for you kind words. It seems that PND hits a lot more people that you could ever imagine.
    Yes mine is an extreme story and one that I have agonised about telling for so long. All of your positivity has made me realise that speaking out was indeed the right thing to do.
    Please do leave comments on here as well as on Twitter. xx
    Sian

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  16. I'm quite stunned. So hard to know what to say.

    You are so brave to share your story, and show such strength to have gone through such an ordeal and come out the other side.

    I'm blown away here. Thank you x

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  17. A very moving story, thanks for telling it. It is really inspirational how you have turned your life around and I think it could really help those suffering with PND to hear it.

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  18. thank you for sharing Sian, You are the most amazing woman I have ever met. From the struggles of your life to the successes, you have excelled in every way! I wish I had an ounce of your courage. you empower me to be stronger and to try and make something better for myself and my family!
    I only wish I could have known you back then, I would have been standing there either holding your hand or helping you down.
    I'm so proud of you, keep being you, because... you Rock! :-)
    Lova ya! xxxx

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  19. Thanks for writing such a brave post.

    xxxxx

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  20. I am also speechless and delurking to say - thank you so much for sharing. I too have 4 children, I had my eldest in my very early twenties, and I suffered with PND. I lost count of the times I was told to pull myself together, if more people shared their story, perhaps the shame attached to admitting you have PND could be lifted x

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  21. It is a brave thing you have done. I'm glad your tale has a happy ending. xx

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  22. Wow. I read that holding my breath & welling up!!
    You are so brave, and so *generous* to post this.
    You might have just saved someones life.
    That's pretty freakin' awesome.
    xxx

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  23. That's an amazing story...I'm so glad that you weren't successful!

    I had PND (PPD on this side of the pond) also - it was a really difficult few months. I was so blessed in that I had friends that had been through the same thing and were able to quickly help me to see what was wrong, so it was treated early and effectively.

    Thank you for sharing! Too many people don't reach out to get help - hopefully at least one person will ask for help because you were brave enough to write this!

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  24. Words can't describe how moving your story is. So thank you so much for sharing this with us all. I know this will help so many people. That must have been really hard to write and relive so thank you xx

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  25. Thank you so much for sharing your story with the world. I have been suffering from PND depression for over a year now and your story has given me hope that things can get better. You are an amazing person and I truly admire you. x

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  26. I'm so glad you're here to tell us this. Can't begin to imagine how bad you felt then, but so very happy you've come through it eventually. x

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  27. Wow. Well done you for being the lovely person you now are & thank you for sharing. xx

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  28. Thank you. Yours is an amazing story full of hope and courage. You are an inspiring lady.

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  29. I read this last night and was speechless. I kept thinking about it through the night and this morning I had to come back and reread it, to make sure I took it all in. You are an absolute inspiration, and I hope that by reading this blog, you may help anyone suffering with PND to speak out.

    A-maz-ing!

    xxx

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  30. Thank you everyone. Anon, please try and speak to someone. If you know that you have PND then you are one step on from where I was. I had no idea why I was feeling the way that I was as it just wasn't talked about then.
    If I can help you in any way you only have to say. xx

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  31. Thank you for sharing. I am terrified of developing PND as I've suffered from anxiety and depression in the past and I will be having this baby an ocean away from my friends and family.

    I think being about to speak about it makes it that much less scary.

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  32. Brilliant post, incredible story and an inspiring conclustion. I'm sure this will help many other women who are suffering in silence or unaware of why they feel as they do. Posts like this are why blogs are such a powerful force today.

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  33. Thank you for this post, thank you for trusting us and sharing.

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  34. It's so, so brave of you to share this story after such a long time - it would have been the easy option to blank it from your mind. But thanks for sharing it, I'm sure it will prove a comfort and a help to many mums...

    Di (expecting my first baby next month) x

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  35. There is nothing I can find to say which sounds like a fitting tribute to this amazing post. I hope that sharing your story has helped you, and I am sure it will help many others.

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  36. Thank you so much for sharing your story. You are so so brave and I have so much admiration for you and what you have been through. I have a friend who's suffering from PND and I am going to share your story with her. Thank you again x

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  37. Wow. I read this in the middle of the night last night and it is one of those posts that just stays with you all day. Thank you for sharing this, I hope that it helps someone else. I hope that it has helped you to write it after all this time.

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  38. Thanks for sharing that. I am suffering with PND although don't admit it. I am seeing a cousellor and I am on tablets, so I did ask for help. But sometimes you feel like your going insane. I am so glad to hear it does get easier. Thank you.

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  39. S, I was so stunned to read this.
    Woah, you were in an incredibly dark place, and it's so important to tell people that there is a way through to this life you have now. Strong and Open. Amazing. that's you. A x

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  40. Such a shocking post in so many ways. Those of use who have not suffered the hell that is PND, have no idea how lucky we are. Am so glad you found a way through. xx

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  41. Thank you for your brave post. I've also wanted to share my story bit, like you, had no idea where to start.
    You are an inspiration to those that have suffered or currently suffer from this illness. You are courageous & strong & I thank you for your honesty & vulnerability when sharing your story.
    Take care & keep on keeping on.
    AboutWee

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  42. Thank you for taking the time to write this post. Your feelings are not exclusive to just PND. My mum tried to take her own life through depression. It is horrendous that even today, with all our medical advances that we can still reach such depths of depair that the seemingly only way out is to end life. Mental illness is debilitating, lonely and not spoken about enough. My mum survived, and I'm thankful every day that she did. I cherish every moment I have with her.

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  43. I didn't have PND, but I'm sure some of my friends did. This is a good reminder that it is real, not in someone's head, and that there can be a happy ending.

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  44. Thank you for having the courage to speak about this. You could really, really help someone who is going through the same thing. Inspirational. x

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  45. I was just reading your blog as I normally do and then bam! What a powerful and enlightening story. I think these kind of posts are the ones that really do resonate with people who are suffering in silence, and can truely help people to let others around them into their world. Well done!

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  46. I'm speechless and you are so brave to write about it. PND is serious, i had a bad patch a litle while ago but i'm not brave enough to talk about unlike you, thank you for sharing xxx

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  47. I have lived with PND for 2 years now. It is so misunderstood. Thank you for helping more people understand what we go through x

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  48. Thanks for sharing - a huge brave step.

    I have suffered from PND since the birth of my youngest (now 5). It is such a dark place to be, that the more we talk about it, the more we can help others admit to themselves and others they have a problem.

    Jx

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  49. What an inspiring post, you are one very brave lady , thanks so much for sharing.

    PND is still such a hidden problem, but posts like yours will hopefully keep helping that change.
    XX

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  50. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am in tears right now. I have suffered with PPD myself and I hope more women feel encouraged to get help when they see your story.

    Much love,
    A

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  51. I think it's great to write posts like this and draw attention to PND. It must have been hard for you to write it. What happened to you was so terrible but it's amazing what you have since achieved!

    There are varying levels of PND and it's so difficult to a) understand when you have PND and b) know what to do about it. It's frightening.

    I found out I had been suffering with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) 15 months after my daughter was born (after an extremely traumatic birth and both of us having to stay in hospital afterwards). It has similarities to PND. No one picked up on it.

    There should be more done by the health professionals to inform people about it and diagnose people that have it. I think many mums find it hard to tell people there might be something wrong, and partners tend not to pick it up (or ignore the signs).
    Mums should be able to feel comfortable telling someone if there is a problem, without feeling like they are either ashamed, or going to end up being labelled a 'psycho' and have their baby taken away!

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  52. Good on you for speaking out!! Women - especially Mums - often feel like failures because they can't meet the impossibly high expectations they place on themselves. Thankfully, I didn't suffer from PND, but I tried to do too much - breastfeeding, caring for my baby full-time, working, cleaning, cooking, and ended up wth migraines from the stress of it all. If more women were brave enough to admit how hard it is to be a Mum, it might be easier for all of us to ask for the help and support we need. Congratulations on coming so far, and having such a gorgeous, appreciative family. You've proven that it's possible to pull yourself back from the darkest place, and that's inspirational to anyone who reads your story. xx
    PS: If you ever feel like speaking further about your experience with PND, I'd be happy to point you towards my contacts at Psychologies, or She magazine.

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  53. Thank you for sharing your story. You really moved me. I hope it'll alert us all more to the people around us that might be hurting.

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  54. Thanks so much for sharing your story. You truly are brave and inspiring. Hugs.

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  55. I think you are very brave for speaking about about this. But where are we to go for help? I know I have been very depressed since the birth of my first son. He is now four and a half yet I don't feel any connection towards him. I have a second son who is two who is the other part of my soul. How can I feel so differently about them? Where can I go for help? I hve spoken to my husband an his response is it is terrible but he doesn't know what to do. I just don't know what to do.

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  56. Anonymous,
    There are people that can help and your GP is a good place to start. Please do try to seek help. In all honesty your hubby will probably feel so caught up in the situation and you need to speak to someone who can see things from the outside.
    Do come back here if you need someone to speak to. xx

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  57. WOW. Thank you for sharing that. And now, I saw on a previous post, your daughter is dancing!!!

    I dont remember how i originally found this post, but I had saved it because it was about birth...and today I'm bored and waiting for birth...and came back over to read it.

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  58. Hi! I'm going write follow ups to my PND post over the next few weeks.Can I put a link to your posts? Do you know anybody else who has written about PND on their blog? i would like to link up with them.Thank you x

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  59. PND is very misunderstood. I know people say that suicide is selfish, but I can see the other side. My mother was very abusive with me and I saw no way out as a teenager. I contemplated it so often, but being brought up being told I was a failure I knew if I tried I would fail so I never bothered until one day I took 200 panadol at school and told the teacher, I nothing even happened lol

    I hope your story helps those suffering and I hope now you only have to live with the scars.

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  60. Hi, What a story. I suffered after the birth of my twins, not severly but enough that I like to share and help others where I can. You have done an amazing thing sharing yoru story. Mich x

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  61. Michelle,
    Thanks for your comment. I never imagined that speaking out in this way could help so many people.
    Every little helps I guess.
    x

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  62. Oh my goodness. That is one hell of a recount (not story because the word lends itself to fiction) of what must have been hell on Earth for you. You are beyond brave to tell this story, and I am so very glad that your dancer instinct kicked in and saved you. It is a brilliant example of how devastating PND can be, but how you can recover. I am off to post this to a friend who has PND and is battling it successfully.

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  63. What you have done by writing this is be very brave but also is deeply comforting. My friend took her life after suffering PND - Her close family knew but they didn't tell anyone outwith. I did a Pampered Chef fundraiser in her memory the other day raising money for the support group that she was part of to help others and to raise awareness so that hopefully someone else can come through PND.

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  64. Sian you are amazing and brave.
    Thanks so much for sharing. I don't know what else to say. I am so moved. xxx

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  65. Wow. Well done for sharing that, and I really don't mean that to sound condescending.

    It takes a lot of courage to share an experience like that, and I suspect you had a really emotional rush after you wrote it too.

    PND nearly ruined my life and I recall post-overdose being told by a nurse that I 'didn't deserve to have children'. My own mother still doesn't talk to me much as her mantra 'pull yourself together' just never really worked with me and I was told that 'mothers never used to be so weak - they just didn't moan and got on with it'.

    It's a classic example of why people should just stop sometimes before casting judgement. The things people said to us both led to years of feeling ashamed and guilty and it's only now, through blogging that I have come to realise that it was an illness - not me being a bad person.

    The more people post about their experiences then the more it helps those others, and there are bloody loads of them out there, who feel ,very wrongly, ashamed and fear judgement x

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  66. I hope that by writing it down you feel a release, one day I hope I will be brave enough to be able to do the same

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  67. I'd procrastinated about it for so long. I felt that my blog was somehow fraudulent by me not telling my story and what I finally plucked up the courage to do it I emailed all of my clients to ask them to read it and then I went to bed and cried. When I woke the next morning, I knew that I'd done the right thing and if me sharing my journey helped just one person to seek the help that they needed - then that was enough for me.
    It turns out that this post (still the most visited post on my whole blog) has helped lots of people. Some I have become very good friends with, others just mention it in passing, when I'm totally not expecting it but either way our shared understanding binds us together.

    The words will come when the time is right. Bravery is what gets you out of bed every day.
    xx

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  68. That was hard to read! You have brought tears to my eyes! I know the pain you talk of and the battle to get over it! Your an inspiration to be so open and share your story! I hope you continue to be so strong! x

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  69. Thank you for sharing your story Sian. I had PND after my son. I'm 38 weeks pregnant with my second now and obviously concerned about what the future holds. Your story was hard to read, but worth reading for sure. As I said, thank you for sharing. xx

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  70. That must have been a tough post to write, Sian - thank you for sharing it, and I'm very happy that you are here to share it, Sal x

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  71. I have no idea what to say. But you give me hope for my own recovery from mental illness

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Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. Appreciated as always. xx

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