A MUM who suffered post-natal depression (PND) has set up a support group to reach out to those battling the condition in silence.
Lesley Hughes, 37, had the condition for three years following the birth of her son Jake.
At seven months pregnant, she began severe bouts of frustration, crying, anger, and overwhelming feelings of not being able to cope.
Two years on from her doctor’s diagnosis, Lesley, of Park South, started an online support group to help others in a similar position, but because her illness continued the group took a back seat.
Now, one year on, she feels she has turned a corner and has established a support group, which will meet on February 22 in an informal and child-friendly venue to work alongside any medical or professional help people may be receiving.
Lesley said: “It has been an incredibly tough three years and I have rarely enjoyed motherhood.
“I am working on the bond with my son and am having more good days than bad. I am certainly over any feelings of wanting to let go of the steering wheel when driving, and although my mood swings are still there, I am able to gain a bit more control of my outbursts.”
For Lesley, being a mum was what she had always wanted, but all of a sudden something changed and her feelings of excitement disappeared.
She recalls a time when she once even packed her bags and considered leaving Jake at home for his dad when he got home from work.
She is now planning to hold one meeting a month, building up to more in the future, and she is writing to all GP surgeries in the town for permission to display her poster and leaflets.
She said: “Of all the responses I have had so far, they have agreed and are happy to support the group.
“It is not a counsellor-led group, just a place to make new friends, share stories and offer support.
“PND deserves the same amount of attention any other illnesses do, and I believe it does not currently get this in the media. People need to understand it better – mental illness isn’t fully understood as you can’t see it, but having suffered with it for three years I am passionate about doing something to help others.
“I am well aware that many sufferers do not seek help, I want to reach out to as many people as possible. I am very lucky I have a husband who has 100 per cent supported me, along with family and friends.”
A time and venue for the meeting has yet to be confirmed. For more, find the group on Facebook or email email@example.com.