I wanted to explain why I am so motivated to support women’s mental health services and support the Threshold services (mental health services for women) hosted by BHT (Brighton Housing Trust) in my shield run challenge. You can support me and Threshold by donating here.
I have an anxiety disorder and have experienced this since I was about 15 – that’s 21 years of my life. At times it has been crippling in its effects rendering me housebound through the fear of having an anxiety attack and feeling humiliated in the street. In my teens and early twenties, before accessing a GP who was able to support me properly, I was misusing substances to escape the symptoms.This of course only made me feel much worse but to be fair I was a teenager! Thanks to that great GP I was able to access medication and make plans to manage the symptoms and get on with my life to its full possibilities: Becoming a charity CEO at 26 and a national charity CEO at 29 years old. I also chaired a service user organisation which I found amazing and really empowering. Alongside medication, I don’t drink at all and go to bed pretty early which helps prevent the horrid anxiety pummelling me.
It was all good until I had a premature baby – pregnancy/ breast feeding and medication not an ideal combination and whilst I had another FANTASTIC gp here in Brighton I did suffer from Post-Natal Depression and terribly high anxiety. I couldn’t sleep as I was worried my baby would stop breathing if I wasn’t watching her…sleep deprivation made me confused, clumsy and that made me anxious too. I was lucky in that I did bond perfectly with my little baby but my health prevented me from getting any ‘enjoyment’ from motherhood…just the worries! I went to a women’s support group and this had a creche for my baby to be in so that I could think and plan a better way forward with peers all going through similar problems. This alongside a brilliant GP was essential to me finally having fun with my baby and not just worrying all the time. It also helped me build a network. I made a very close friend who went though PND who remains close to me today even though she isn’t in Brighton now. In fact, she is considering having another baby now…which is the BEST news.
Threshold provides this safe space, creche and peer support to women in Brighton and Hove who really need support to start living to potential again and I am doing my part in paying back the women who got me on my feet! Running the shield run and facing firebomb alley will be hard…but I will survive and be stronger for it. Let women in distress be the mothers they can be by donating if you can.
Thanks for reading. Em x