"I owe my health visitor my life"

About: Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust / Adult mental health Norfolk PCT / Health visiting

(as the patient),

After the birth of my second son I developed quite severe postnatal depression. Rather than address the problem, I pretended everything was fine and tried my best to just get on with things.

I didn't want my boys to suffer but the thought of leaving the house filled me with fear, so I turned to alcohol. I was not drinking to get drunk, but just to give me the courage to take my children to playgroups etc. This went on for 3 or 4 months until my health visitor picked up that something was wrong when I visited a weigh-in clinic.

She began visiting me regularly and got a GP to visit me at home. I managed to convince the GP that I was just tired. Things started getting worse and I was drinking more and had started self harming. My health visitor started visiting again and I went to see a GP of my own accord. I was referred to the mental health team.

My health visitor was amazing. She drove me to my first appointment with my mental health link worker, and even came in with me.

The path that my life took from then on was very up and down. I still hadn't quite accepted the fact that I had PND, and certainly not how bad it had got. It culminated in me taking an overdose and being referred to the crisis team.

At this point I realised just how ill I was.

Debbie, my health visitor, continued to visit throughout my illness. Without her help and support I know I wouldn't be the mummy that I am today. I owe her my life and cannot thank her enough.

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