Speaking out about her mental health has allowed Rachelle to access professional support, and given her the confidence to talk about it others.
"Not long before my partner and I had our first child, I suffered a miscarriage. I was in a different country, he wasn’t there to help me and neither was my mum. I was so far away from the people I needed, in a country I’d never been to, putting a brave face on and hiding what was actually happening to myself and my body. It was very difficult and I never really spoke or dealt with that loss properly. I became depressed but always put on a brave front for everyone around me; you could never tell anything was wrong as I was always so happy and cheery.
"When I had my eldest child not long after, I really struggled with my mental health but never really spoke up to my health visitor or the midwives for fear that I would be diagnosed with Post Natal Depression (PND).
"When I discovered I was expecting my second child, I was excited to grow my little family. My family is everything to me. I wasn’t able to enjoy this pregnancy as much and the outside factors had a really big impact on my mental health to the point that I still struggle now.
"My mental health began to deteriorate towards the end of my pregnancy and when my daughter was first born, again due to outside factors. However, this time I did speak to my midwife and health visitor, and was offered counselling and support throughout the rest of my pregnancy. We worked on mindfulness techniques, which I still practice every day; and share with anyone else who reaches out to me. In hindsight, I think I had PND with my first child, it was just never diagnosed.
During this time, I also found SAMH a great source of support. I was able to chat to someone in their info service who directed me to some brilliant resources and tools on their website, including their online training for teachers, which was incredibly helpful for me as a Taekwondo instructor.
"My experience of mental health problems gives me the confidence to talk about it to loved ones, friends and colleagues confidently. I have met a lot of people who were struggling, just like me, and I have developed friendships that have made some days so much easier.
"I am a really active person, always on the go and love sports. Taekwondo has been a big part of my life for 18years and I feel like that gives me one of the best outlets and really helps me to de-stress by hitting some pads. I have worked with kids from a young age; both through being a Taekwondo instructor and as an Early Years Officer, and have always encouraged children to speak up if they are feeling low or if they just need someone to chat too, even if it was the silliest of things! I try to get outdoors as much as I can with my kids and my little family, exploring new places or the country we live in which really helps me.
"I am a very enthusiastic person, and I wanted to use my own experiences to help others. For the last few years I have been raising funds for SAMH who have helped me so much. I recently completed my second Kiltwalk in the space of five months and have loved training for this again as I get to be outdoors for a while.
"After everything, I am really glad I finally reached out for help. Speaking to my midwife, health visitor and a counsellor really helped me understand what was going on in my head and how to make things better and easier. I do still struggle from my anxiety and panic attacks but overall, I have found that things have really improved for me and my mental health."
SAMH Information Service
The SAMH Information Service provides information and support on mental health.
Whether you’re seeking support, are looking for more information for you or someone you love, or just want to have chat about mental health, we’re here. Talk to the SAMH Information Team on 0344 800 0550 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Open 9am-6pm, Monday to Friday (except Bank Holidays).