Excerpt taken from Pangs: Surviving Motherhood and Mental Illness by Michelle Bradley. Recovery is possible. This is her message of hope.
I began therapy with a psychologist and after a few months of exploring my issues, I can safely say that while I am not now, and probably never will be fully free of anxiety and mental illness, it is at a very low level. There have been occasional bad days but they are much fewer and farther between and no longer completely overwhelm me.
Once again, I have confidence in myself that I can navigate the difficult periods and if I feel myself beginning to slip, I have a range of tools and a network of support to help me through. I have come such a long way from that trembling, seemingly incapable woman who had just given birth six years ago.
While mental illness has been hell to go through, I feel stronger and more resilient than ever before. More importantly, I am also now an expert, so that if my children are ever unfortunate to suffer, I can guide them through it. That is something of great value.
Learning to cope
It has been six years since I was first diagnosed and such a lot has happened. I have gone from the absolute depths of despair to the giddying heights of joy and everything in between. I have had to work hard to find the help I needed and work even harder implementing the different tools I have learned. Most of all, I have learned so much about my own capabilities and my ability to cope.
I have gone from feeling completely incapable and broken to feeling resilient, strong and proud. and I don’t any of this to boast. I say it to you, the person reading this who may be feeling how I felt, who may not be able to see a way out of the darkness. I have been you and I am living proof that there is always hope. Keeping fighting for it. Recovery is possible.
Michelle is the author of Pangs: Surviving Motherhood and Mental Illness, a book which outlines her journey through perinatal mental illness and also includes a self-help guide and list of resources to help others with their recovery. You can buy the book here or on Amazon.