“I was living in torture, I didn’t know myself anymore, I didn’t care about myself any more and just wanted to die…”
My name is Marlyn Grant, I am married to John, we have a wonderful son, Jonny, daughter in law Rhonda, and two beautiful grand daughters, Mia and Georgia. Life is good, we have so much to be thankful for, but it hasn’t always been this way.
I was diagnosed with depression when I was only 8 years old, I didn’t know what was wrong with me, I was just very sad and afraid, my grandfather had died. When I was 11 I had severe depression, again, I couldn’t understand what was wrong with me, I remember going to bed and crying for hours, but I didn’t know why and I didn’t want to tell anyone.
My grandmother had died, I missed her so much, I shared a room with her, but I couldn’t tell anyone how I felt. I was very fortunate to live in a good home with loving parents, brothers and sisters who loved me, but still I felt I couldn’t talk to anyone about how I felt. My mother took me to the GP, who arranged for me to see 2 consultants, they talked to me and asked me lots of questions.
I couldn’t attend school for many months, didn’t want to do any of the things other girls of my age were enjoying, I was just so sad, I could never imagine it being any different. I did have times when I felt better, I got married and thought I would always be happy. I became pregnant with my 1st child, I had a good pregnancy, a good birth and a bouncing baby boy.
It was Christmas, we had a new baby and everything was good, but not for long, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat, I didn’t want to go out of the house, all I wanted to do was cry, I imagined something was going to happen to my baby, I didn’t want anyone to know I was so unhappy, they wouldn’t understand, how could I be so sad, I had a perfect baby, he was so good, he just fed and slept. I was so disappointed, life wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. Eventually my mum advised me to go to the GP, I was diagnosed with postnatal depression, I was given medication. Things did get better and I was finally able to enjoy my little boy.
My husband and I so much wanted another child, company for our son, I became pregnant but sadly almost 4 months later I suffered a miscarriage. I was in shock, I never thought this would happen, I couldn’t explain the utter devastation, going from being excited to feeling the severe loss. Physically, I was unwell, emotionally I was drained, and sadly went into deep depression. I couldn’t cope with the loss, I so wanted this baby. Friends would say, sure you have your son, but I had lost something precious. Just like other times, I felt I couldn’t really talk to people or express how I felt.
My son grew up and eventually decided to get married. At first I thought this was great, something I always wanted for him, to meet a nice girl and settle down, I would have a daughter in law and hopefully grandchildren. Soon things were to change, the closer it got to the wedding, the more depressed I became. I didn’t want to tell anyone, I felt I was losing my son forever, I felt no one would understand.
What should have been a happy day, became a day I hardly remember and immediately after the wedding I became very ill. I was admitted into hospital suffering from severe depression and psychosis. I really thought this was the end, no one could ever help me, no one would understand me, I was living in torture, I didn’t know myself anymore, I didn’t care about myself any more and just wanted to die, in fact I tried to end my life. Instead, with the help and support I received from Mental Health Services, I began my recovery.
For the first time in my entire life, I knew I needed help, I couldn’t hide my illness anymore, I knew people would listen, I wasn’t the only one who suffered like this, I started talking and decided I was going to get better. I had spent too many years suffering from this illness, I wanted to recover.
When I was discharged from hospital I was determined I was going to help others with the same condition. A year afterwards I started a depression support group in my community, many people, male and female, people of all ages have been supported by meeting together, understanding each other, being understood, being listened to and finding ways to manage their illness. The group has helped me in my recovery journey, instead of focusing on myself, I now think about others, helping them. I still find loss and death difficult, but I now know ways to deal with life as it comes, I have found ways to structure my life and keep well.
I am now working in Mental Health as Service User Consultant for the Northern Trust, I have been privileged to have this wonderful opportunity to sit on the Senior Management Team in Hollywell, as a service user, where I was treated, but now am involved in the planning and delivery of Mental Health Services in the Northern Trust.
I honestly believe, mental health hasn’t destroyed me, but has made me who I am. If you are reading this blog and are suffering from any kind of mental health condition, please talk and ask for help, there is help available.
Thank you, Marlyn, for sharing your story with us! Marlyn has very kindly asked me to speak at the Depression Support Group she runs (details above) on 4th October. If you’d like to attend this evening or any other I know you’d be made very welcome. Feel free to get in touch with Marlyn for more details – 028 2564 7683.