How Writing Helped Me Overcome Postnatal Anxiety

mental illness; mental health

When I first became pregnant, I had images in my head of dressing my sweet baby it cute little outfits, spending my days cuddling, reveling in motherhood…you know, as TV promised me it would be. Little did I know then that I was about to be plunged into the worst experience of my life that would last on and off for six years. Postnatal depression and anxiety almost stole my life.

Birth Trauma & Anxiety

Despite having relatively straightforward labour on paper, the birth of my daughter left me seriously traumatised. Within days I was suffering from crippling panic attacks and constant anxiety. I couldn’t be alone, I was afraid to eat in case I got sick and at any given time I had this overwhelming feeling that I was about to die.

The experience was so intense that it eventually led to me questioning my ability to keep living and meant that I lost out on so much precious time with my baby girl. The anxiety became so bad that it led to postnatal depression and suicidal thoughts.

I had similar experiences with my son and my youngest baby girl and fought for many years to find ways to manage my mental illness and get back to a place of equilibrium. During this time I started an online support group to connect with people who were going through the same thing. Through this group, I learned so much about techniques and therapies I could use to treat my anxiety and depression and get better.

Giving Hope

Last summer, as I finally began to feel free of the shackles of anxiety and postnatal depression, I decided to put pen to paper and write a book, not only about my experiences but that gathered all the information I had used in my own recovery.

The hope was that this book would give others hope and practical tools to get themselves out of the darkness of perinatal mental illness and begin to live healthy lives once more.

On 31st March 2019, Mother’s Day in the UK, my book Pangs: Surviving Motherhood and Mental Illness was released into the world and already the feedback has been phenomenal.

If you are struggling with your own mental health, consider giving it a read. It was the book I really needed when I was suffering and I hope it can make an impact on others. Anxiety and depression almost destroyed my life, don’t let it destroy yours.

You can buy a signed copy of the book here.

Here are just some of the reviews:

“I have just closed the final page of Michelle Bradley’s new book, “Pangs: Surviving Motherhood & Mental Illness” after not being able to put it down!

This book provides a snapshot of Michelle’s motherhood journey and mental health, practical strategies, raw emotional story-telling and also a story of hope.

I love Michelle’s mixture of explicit detail and vivid descriptions, combined with practical tips and strategies to combat perinatal mental illness.

Her story is one of hope, how to survive, overcome and thrive.

Michelle has managed to pen all the emotions many of us suffer but are unable to express or put into words. I would recommend reading this book whether you are a mother, health worker, midwife, friend, partner or have an interest in maternal mental health.

If every midwife, nurse and health worker were to read this, I can only imagine the positive impact this would have on women’s antenatal, birthing and perinatal experiences.”

Katie M.

” OMG what a read! At times I was angry at what had happened and is still happening and so recently Highly recommend this as a resource as well I read it in 24 hours where it usually takes me days to read a book I couldn’t put it down “

Sharon B.

” It gives a very raw and honest account of something that largely people don’t discuss. Anyone who has struggled with perinatal mental health issues will identify with a lot of it.

Where this book is really good, though, is the fact that is doesn’t end with Michelle’s experience. It is very much a beacon of hopeful light too as she details her recovery, and the different processes and resources that are available and her experience of them.

Claire H.

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