New mum felt so worthless she wanted to end it all: Special Leeds report on World Mental Health Day 2019
To mark World Mental Health Day 2019 and as part of the Yorkshire Evening Post #SpeakYourMind Campaign, Alison Bellamy talks to one mum who struggled with her mental health, despite giving birth to a perfect baby girl.
Struggling with postnatal depression, Lynsey Love felt so worthless, she thought her perfect baby girl would be better off without her.
During what she can only describe as ‘dark and harrowing times’ Lynsey even considered ending her own life.
She found her salvation in simple exercise and now runs a Sweaty Mama franchise supporting other new mums, building a community of strength and support across her sessions in Leeds and Bradford.
Lynsey, 36, who is married to Peter and is mum to Willow, five and Jasper, two, said: “After my first baby I suffered with postnatal depression so severe that there were days I considered taking my own life.
“A 26 hour labour and traumatic delivery left me battling feelings and emotions that I had never experienced or that anything prepared me for.
“Experiencing an extreme loss of dignity after a difficult birth, low self esteem, and unable to breastfeed, left me feeling worthless as a woman, wife and mother which gradually took a dark hold over my life.
“My body was a mess, my emotions were a mess, I mourned the loss of the life I once had, yet felt incredibly guilty for doing so – how could I feel this way when I had my perfect baby?”
Lynsey says she was driven to isolation because she felt so worthless and out of control, comparing herself constantly to other Mums.
“I was utterly convinced I was doing something wrong. I began showing signs of an obsessive compulsive disorder, noting down everything from amount of feeds, dirty/wet nappies, minutes/seconds sleep patterns,” she said.
“I was consumed with an overwhelming love for my baby but feared if anyone knew how I was feeling she’d be taken from me.
“Eventually all of this took its toll on my health, my mental wellbeing, confidence and resulted in me becoming so low, that I felt that she’d be better off without me.
“It was an extremely dark and harrowing time. Gradually after a long battle to recovery and a determination not to let postnatal depression take hold of my life again after the birth of my second child, I found my salvation in exercise. It helped to keep me fit and combat depressive feelings.
“Driven by an overwhelming sense of wanting to make difference and help others, it sparked a career change which has seen me retrain to become a pre and post natal exercise instructor.
“I focus on the physical and mental wellbeing of Mums. After each class we chat, have a drink and build those all important support network and friendships.”
Lynsey’s classes have been running successfully for a year across Leeds and Bradford venues.
More details about Sweaty Mama Leeds north west at: www.facebook.com/sweatymamaleedsnorthwest/
Theme of suicide prevention aims to help those struggling
WORLD Mental Health Day 2019 has an international theme of suicide prevention.
In a bid to help people in crisis, mental health website MindWell, has teamed up with Healthwatch Leeds to launch a vital new crisis resource, to make it easier for people struggling to find the right support immediately.
The award winning website is commissioned by NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), as a ‘go to’ place for mental health information in the city.
HealthWatch Leeds’ report into mental health crisis services, published in July, revealed that almost half of people surveyed would not know where to go for support if experiencing or supporting someone in crisis for the first time.
Alicia Ridout, of MindWell, said: ‘We’d all know what to do if we were involved in an accident or see a building on fire but we don’t often think how we’d find help in a mental health crisis.
“We’re delighted to have worked in partnership with our friends at Healthwatch Leeds to create an important new information source for everyone in Leeds aged 18 and over.
“The resource can be downloaded to your phone, printed off to keep in your wallet or used as a poster or handout. It will also be shared with GP surgeries in the city and key support organisations.”
The new resource, is available on the website from today, 10 October, on World Mental Health Day. It has been designed to be simple and user friendly: www.mindwell-leeds.org.uk/helpSupport for young people
Support for young people suffering mental health issues will be showcased at the inaugural Mental Health for Young People event.
The event, hosted by 4 All of Us, a Leeds based health & environment events company, will offer help and support to find the latest support on mental health across Yorkshire.
The free event will be hosted at Pudsey Civic Hall from 9am on October 12, will feature more than 50 stands and several seminars, with live music and entertainment from the Leeds Youth Theatre and Leeds mental health campaigner turned singer Miranda Arieh.
Organiser Scott Buckler said: “Mental health problems affect about 1 in 10 children and young people. They include depression, anxiety and conduct disorder, and are often a direct response to what is happening in their lives. Alarmingly, however, 70% of children and young people who experience a mental health problem have not had appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age.”
The Yorkshire Evening Post has won widespread praise for its own mental health campaign, called #SpeakYourMind.
First launched in 2016, it aims to raise awareness of mental health issues and combat the stigma that sometimes still surrounds them.
The campaign has received high-profile backing from the likes of former Prime Minister Theresa May and Princes William and Harry.
The YEP and Yorkshire Post has staged a series of events for staff at their Whitehall Road offices in Leeds.