A young mother whose postnatal depression led her towards self-harm was saved by a very modern self-help network – by logging onto Twitter.
Rosey Wren, 26, who experienced both ante- and postnatal depression during her pregnancies with her three children, struggled to find support in the remote community in the Outer Hebrides where she lives.
She said: “I thought about self-harming to the point where sometimes I just had to be apart from my baby.
“When you have postnatal depression, everything becomes a big struggle. Even little tasks, like making cups of tea, feel like you’re climbing a mountain.
“Simple things take all the energy out of you. When you look after your child, you do all the things you’re supposed to be doing, but inside you feel nothing.
“Even though I had family and friends, I felt completely alone. My remote location made me feel completely cut off, and that was a big issue for me.
“Knowing that I had access to other people on Twitter who knew what I was going through made me feel relieved and less cut off.”
Ms Wren, of Stornoway, was prescribed antidepressants after the birth of her first two children, Kimberly, now six, and Connor, four.
Desperate for an understanding ear, after the birth of her youngest child, her son Harvey, now two, she turned to the internet to seek other young women who knew her plight.
She said: “I felt like the healthcare professionals and midwives I had access to didn’t have enough training and experience to help me through my emotional state, and I was really struggling to get by.
“I started using Twitter in January 2014 as a way of coping. I feel relieved that I can vent and talk to others about how I’m feeling online.”
Ms Wren decided to set up the hashtags #PNDhour and #PNDchat to allow her to talk with other mothers facing similar struggles.
She said: “The reaction I have received from these hashtags has been huge – it’s been far bigger than I can ever have imagined – and now I’m offering support to other women throughout the day.
“I’ve had so many other mothers tell me that my hashtag has been a lifeline for them. I felt completely cut off from the world and Twitter helped me as a support network that I could lean on. It’s made a huge difference to my life.
“I feel like I’ve come further in the last 10 months with Twitter than I have in the last six and a half years.”
There are various peer support groups that offer help for people suffering from pregnancy-related depression across the UK, but these groups become further apart and harder to access in more remote locations.
Home Start is a charity which offers volunteer counselling services for people who don’t have families nearby.
Ms Wren said: “You can and will get better if you just ask for help.
“Postnatal depression is not the end of the world – you just need to take that step and talk to someone if you’re struggling to cope.”
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