“Are you that girl about Postnatal Depression?”

I’m actually quite used to being defined by something or someone else! In my hometown of Portstewart, I am quite offend identified or referred to as “Anne’s daughter”. I honestly have never minded it, my mum is the life and soul of many things and I’m proud to be ‘tagged’ in with her.

These past few years, as Gavin’s career has taken off and we’ve been in the public eye a little more, I am used to being introduced or named as “Gavin’s wife”. Now, I love my husband but at times this has annoyed me a little – I am a person in my own right too.  I have tried very hard to be gracious (I hope) but also to be clear that I’m LINDSAY and very pleased (as a person myself) to be wherever we are!! It still happens a lot but now I just roll my eyes – what can you do?!

Anyway, this week something new happen – I got asked by a stranger “Are you that girl about Postnatal Depression?” LOL!

screen-shot-2016-10-03-at-17-37-54I introduced myself – “Lindsay” – and yes I have PND, yes I talk about it a lot online, yes I run this website and then we had a great chat!  Turns out she wanted to share something of her own experience, which is the most privileged part of what I do. I was so delighted she felt that she could approach me!

But as I left our conversation it did get me thinking  – am I now defined by Postnatal Depression? I am now defined as “the girl who has the mental illness”? Now let’s be honest (I know what you could bethinking ) some of this is my own doing – you can’t be publicly out in front of something and not expect that to happen! So, I’m not complaining about it. I also will have no problem if you, or anyone else approaches me in the above way – at least I know that I’m getting the word out!

I guess I’m asking myself the question and reminding myself the answer is “NO!”.

I am not defined by PND. It’s definetly a part of me and quite a big part, at the minute. But it’s not ALL of me. There’s so much more to me that just that.

I am a wife to Gavin and mum to Reuben – neither of those two look at me and just see just PND. I can guarantee that. I’m also me – Lindsay – a 34 years old (ekk!) women who likes and dislikes lots of different things. I have been reminding myself of some of those recently and beginning to explore them again….

bp1-copyI love American Country Music! Yes, I can hear you groan. I am most definitely “that girl”! I finally got my birthday present, a DAB radio, installed in my car so I can listen to Downtown Country ALL the time (www.downtowncountry.co.uk). I am a massive fan of Kirstie’s show, every week-day morning 9-1pm, I regularly tweet in and she plays great country tunes! Follow them both at @DTRCountry & @kirstieradio.

I’m also dragging Gavin to another Brad Paisley concert (C2C Country in March) – I think I was literally “weak at the knees” when I got to meet him at the last one!

I love swimming so I have joined the Country Club, up the road (La Mon, for those of you who are local). I now swim 3 or 4 times a week. I love it! 40 minutes in the pool and a chance for a “MUMMY!!!” free shower are just what I need.

I’m prioritising ‘me time’ and the things that I actually enjoy, some of which I had ‘forgotten’ with PND – baths, watching tv, a glass of wine, all are enjoyment for me!

I have made a couple of new friends recently and I am so enjoying being able to spend time with them (I think they know who they are). Feeling connected, sharing life, drinking tea, being honest, sending ‘sos’ text messages feels good – I know I matter them to and they 100% matter to me, and it’s not because I have PND.

screen-shot-2016-11-10-at-11-02-07I also love writing. This website allows me to pursue, in some ways, that but I have also revamped my old blog so that I can write a different, more personal/faith based genre on it. I am setting myself the target of writing for it a t least once a month now.

You can find that here: lindsayelizabethrobinson.wordpress.com

quote-on-stigma-health-75-healthyplaceSo NO. PND doesn’t define me. It might have got its claws into me, for 2 years, it is certainly part of my journey and story right now, but it doesn’t own me or control me. I am learning to master it.

For as long as the opportunities keep coming, I will keep doing my part to increase awareness and improve support for PMH, especially for mums, dads and families in Northern Ireland. But while doing that I am also remembering to rediscover me.

For too long, I have felt like I lost myself in the illness –

“What I meant by “I’ve forgotten everything about myself” was simply this – I have no idea of who I am anymore. I felt like I had completely lost my identity. I could not recall what I believed, what mattered to me, what I liked or what I enjoyed. I was no longer “me”, just a shell of a person who had the same name as someone I used to know. Nothing seemed to ‘click’ or make sense, no matter how hard I tried. I couldn’t relate to anything or anyone, in the way I used to. I went from feeling nothing and empty, to feeling overwhelmed with emotion and enveloped in sorrow.” Read this post

but no more, it’s time for that to change…watch this space!

Postnatal Depression, Mental Illness or any other difficult season you are in right now, does not define you. You are more than it, you are bigger than it and it does not have to have the last word in your life. Please don’t allow it to.