My name is Shannon Rhook; I am a 32 year old mother of 3. I have an 8 year daughter girl named Sophie from my first marriage, a 6 month old son named Eddie from my second marriage and a 7 year old step-son Frankie.
I suffered severe postnatal Anxiety following the birth of both of my children. I suffered for around 8 months with my daughter and 9 weeks with my son.
Both times it hit me very quickly. I had no appetite, my hands kept shaking, I kept getting waves of panic coming over my body, accompanied by hot flashes, my mind was racing with panicked thoughts and even the most basic tasks felt impossible for me, it was debilitating. I didn’t think that I could cope with the demand of being a parent every day.
I felt so desperate that I had thought maybe if I gave the baby to someone else to look after, until I felt better, that it would help.
My daughter and I spent 6 weeks in a mother/baby unit at St John of God Hospital, who I found out about through a phone call to PANDA.
Both times, I was terrified, I struggled to get through each hour and it felt like there was no end in sight, however I managed to survive it twice. The purpose of me telling my story is to tell other women and men that no matter how dark your days are that it does end. Also, never be afraid to seek help and never be afraid to tell someone that you are struggling. The more help you seek and accept, the quicker your road to recovery will be.
I also wanted to let loved ones know that the more you support the person who is unwell, the quicker their recovery will be and the less scary the ordeal is. Your partner can’t and won’t just snap out of it. It will take time, however in time and with patience you will get your partner back. Telling them that you love them and reminding them that you aren’t going anywhere, makes such a huge difference.
I am now volunteering my time and facilitating a local support group for Post Natal Anxiety & Depression and have recently become a Community Champion for PANDA.
"I didn’t think that I could cope with the demand of being a parent every day. I felt so desperate that I had thought maybe if I gave the baby to someone else to look after, until I felt better, that it would help."