On returning back to blogging

Hi everyone,

Hope all is well with you.  It’s great to be back, writing again.  I just had at a look at the last post I had written, in August 2016, which was on self care, and, thought I would bring you up to speed about what has been happening since that last post.  I remember I had sat at my computer many times over the past three years, but, I just couldn’t bring myself to write.  So, I closed my laptop and put it to the side while I worked on myself.

I have to say, my mental health over those last three years was not great.  I was functioning in the world and being a good mum to Leo, but, there were times when I felt pangs of pain and sadness.  I had been in therapy after being diagnosed with post natal depression, for about a year, but I couldn’t go anywhere near talking about Tony in those sessions.  After much deliberation, I decided to stop therapy as I knew we were nearing uncovering that pain and I was not prepared to talk.

Jo and Leo

In hindsight, that was an error of judgement on my behalf.  As time went on, the pain and sadness grew bigger than me and after chatting to Hugh, I decided it was time to go back to therapy.  This time I knew I needed to talk.  As luck would have it, I found an incredible psychologist and quite quickly, I’d say after about 2 or 3 sessions, Tony came up in discussion and I just howled.  I cried all the tears I didn’t shed at his funeral, I cried for my mum who was missing her son, I cried for my sisters missing their brother, and, I cried for myself for coming to the realisation that Tony was never coming back.Tony

During this time, it also became evident that I longed for another baby.  So, throughout the therapy sessions we spoke about what that would like, the fears that I had of experiencing PND again and the challenges of being a mum to two children whilst living with anxiety.  It took another 12 months before I felt robust enough to begin the process of trying for another baby.

 

My next post will be all about Lily (another baby after PND).  Yes, Lily deserves a whole post about herself and you will see why in a little while.

Love and hugs to you all.

Josie Smyth xx

If you or someone you know is struggling from perinatal anxiety or depression please contact PANDA’s national helpline on 1300 726 306 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Josie Smyth is a Melbourne mum of two.  Three months after giving birth in 2014, Josie suffered severe anxiety and depression and was diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder and Post Natal Depression.  Then in 2018, four months after the birth of her second child, Lily, PND reared its ugly head again.  Since those experiences, a healthier, happier and a better person emerged.  Through recovery, Josie wanted to give back.  Josie is currently volunteering with Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia (PANDA) as a community educator.  Josie is a mental health advocate and, is inspired to give hope to parents facing the same challenges that, even in the darkest days, recovery from PND can be possible.

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On attending my first PANDA Annual Lunch 2016

Table settingSince 2008, PANDA have organised an annual lunch in memory of Louise Litus. Sadly, Louise took her own life in 2007. Louise had suffered Post Natal Depression after the birth of both her children. PANDA’s Annual Lunch is their biggest campaign to raise awareness and funds. The funds raised allow PANDA to continue their amazing work to support and educate the community about perinatal anxiety and depression.

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My father in law & I

Having had my own lived experience of perinatal anxiety and depression, and, being a PANDA Community Education Volunteer, I was excited about attending my first annual lunch. Moreover, my supportive husband and father in law came along too, which made the day even more special.

This year, PANDA held their lunch at ZINC at Federation Square. My husband and I had our wedding reception there, so I was also looking forward to being a guest at the venue. Upon arrival, we were greeted with a welcome drink and warm friendly faces of other PANDA volunteers who were helping out that day. The food served at the lunch was delicious. We enjoyed two courses; a Middle Eastern flavoured eye fillet steak and a raspberry chocolate slice for dessert, accompanied by beverages.

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Matt Tilley, our MC for the lunch

The lunch was MC’d by KIIS 101.1 FM’s Matt Tilley who is an ambassador for PANDA and has been doing the MC gig for the past 8 years. Matt is a father of three children and was warming, witty and engaging. The CEO of PANDA, Terri Smith, spoke about the story behind PANDA’s logo change and delivered key statistics from the helpline, in particular, 1 in 7 new mums and 1 in 10 new dads experience post natal depression.

There was also an On the Couch panel discussion involving Jenni Richardson (PANDA’s National Helpline and Program’s Manager, Miki Perkins (Social Affairs Journalist for The Age and Lisa Farrugia (PANDA champion and fellow Community Education Volunteer). The discussion centred on experiences of being a new parent; the joys and the challenges. Jenni enlightened us on what PANDA hears on the helpline and both Lisa and Miki spoke of their journey through perinatal anxiety and depression, which was also enlightening.

PANDA used several avenues to raise money that day; a live auction that included vouchers for massages, clothing, portraits, wineries, and, my favourite, a dinner at Heston Blumenthal’s restaurant at Crown (valued at $500) and many more. There was also a silent auction that included, but not limited to; vouchers for maternity wear, jewellery, prints, a baby gift box set and a lesson in methode tradionnelle at Domaine Chandon plus a picnic rug (I was out bided on this one). Finally, there was a raffle draw that included prizes such as makeup hamper, chocolate, wine and a wall clock to name a few. Guests were given gift bags, which included a Mumma Bubba bracelet, a special offer to join Placement Solutions and information about the services provided by PANDA. I was also lucky enough to win a book by the Publishing Queen on “how to write a book in less than 7 days.”

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A list of the live auction prizes

Overall, I felt that it was a successful day indeed, and, as I watched people leave the lunch and continue on with their lives I hoped that they would spread the message of the incredible work PANDA does for the community.

If you or anyone you know is struggling from perinatal anxiety or depression please contact PANDA’s national helpline on 1300 726 306.

Love and smiles

Josie

PANDA – http://www.panda.org.au/panda-events/annual-lunch?showall=&start=1

Miki Perkins’ journey through perinatal anxiety and depression –http://www.theage.com.au/national/perinatal-depression-in-just-a-few-short-weeks-i-went-mad-20151117-gl1daw

ZINC –  http://zincfedsq.com.au/

KIIS 101.1 FM – http://www.kiis1011.com.au/