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03 April 2018

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4/3/18 Hero: Cara Hudson

Today’s #SameHere🤙Hero: Cara Hudson, she’s making the #SameHere sign as her cute son is making his best attempt 😆 (You read this story & you almost can’t fathom that ALL of this happened to one person over the course of just a year. But, depression after giving birth, a partner leaving, & a physical health diagnosis can collectively deliver a blow to your MH that can knock you right off your feet. Cara is a nurse. If it can happen to her, it can happen to anyone. And now she is using her experience to help even more ppl as an advocate. Beautiful story after all the hardships.)

 

“ In September of ‘16, 4 wks after the birth of my 2nd son, my partner of 7 years decided to leave me & went straight into another relationship. I was devastated, but I carried on & looked after my boys, best I could. I went often to King Street Surgery in Kempston where I was diagnosed & began treatment for postnatal depression.

 

6 months later, I became acutely unwell. It’d been found that I had an autoimmune disease called Hashimotos which meant my thyroid had completely stopped producing thyroxine, & my TSH was off the charts. My dad & one of my nurse colleagues dragged me to King Street Surgery, bc I was acting out of character. The crisis team was contacted & came straight to see me. I was sedated & taken to Weller Wing in Bedford via police car, & sectioned.

 

Bc it was a medical condition as well as a MH condition I initially spent time on the AAU unit in Bedford Hospital, where they commenced the thyroxine. Unfortunately thyroxine levels have to be built up gradually & it takes months for these levels to normalise, so although treatment had started I was suffering from severe post partum pychosis.

 

I spent a few days in AAU & then was transferred back to Weller Wing where I actually deteriorated even more. I would not eat, I was aggressive, I hallucinated, I had irrational thoughts, & I believed things that were not real, even accusing ppl of things they hadn’t done. I was so scared I screamed until I could no longer hear my voice. I was given 2:1 care.

 

Over a 2 wk period, I barely slept. I eventually was in seclusion & my fam was unable to visit. I don’t remember a lot of what happened. I get flashbacks but rely on what fam & friends say I was like. 2 wks later I was transferred to an intensive psychiatric unit. I believe they said my psychosis was their ‘bread & butter’ & they were able to successfully sedate me & calm me down. My parents said the 1st time they visited me there, I was a bag of bones lying on a beanbag covered in bruises from where I’d been restrained.

 

But, I gradually started becoming myself again. They fed me, medicated me, & supported me thru my irrational thoughts until they turned rational once again. They did activities w me, my friends visited & slowly I came out of my shell & started to return to my ‘normal’ self.   2 wks later I was transferred back to Weller Wing where I continued to recover & was slowly reintroduced back to the real world. I was able to see my gorgeous boys & I was allowed ‘leave’ to spend time at home. Gradually this routine sped up, & I was able to return home & was fully discharged in mid-March of 2017.

 

I took back care of my boys full-time, & I was then under the care of the early intervention team. They came out to see me every 2-3days, to support me in any way they could. Initially, I was doing well.

 

Unfortunately, however, I started to feel low again. My meds were altered, my thyroxine was increased too fast, & this, in turn, made me feel very anxious. Things began to spiral. The consultant felt that a wk away from my boys may give me rest I needed. As a fam we decided that the boys would be better cared for by their dad. So, he moved back into the property & I moved back to my parents. I was then admitted into Onyx Ward, where I spent my 30th bday. I spent a wk there & then returned home to my parents. The crisis team visited me every 2-3 days.  My mood, unfortunately, continued to plummet. I felt as though I’d lost everything – my boys, my home, & I felt I’d never get better. I felt worthless & that I’d never return to work.

 

In June, I felt that I’d let everyone down & that I’d continue to do so. I thought the best way to stop hurting everyone would be to take my own life. My parents went out biking & I took that opportunity to take an overdose of meds. When my parents returned home, I didn’t say anything. The crisis team then arrived. The lady who came spoke to me abt my worries in regards to returning to work. She was full of hope – beaming from her eyes. I felt an overwhelming amount of regret for what I’d done w the overdose an hour prior, & decided to tell them about my actions.

 

My parents took me immediately to A&E. The look of shock & disappointment in their eyes is something I’ll never forget. I remember lying on a trolley…I just sighed & actually felt safe being back in the hospital. I spent 5 days in Whitbread Ward, ashamed of what I’d become.  I didn’t really talk to anyone, & just remember staring into space, overthinking everything & becoming very anxious & paranoid.

 

I was transferred to Townsend Court, where I spent the next 6 wks. I continued to have suicidal thoughts for some time. Meds kept being changed & at one pt ECT was considered. Luckily, I did not go that route. I began to feel institutionalized. I’d spent the majority of the yr in the hospital. I actually grew to like the routine of being there. I referred to it as ‘my little bubble.’ I felt safe there & didn’t feel ready to face the world. I found comfort in eating & it was during this time I put quite a lot of weight on. My depression made me feel very isolated – I’d isolate myself by not talking to anyone, not even my friends or fam. The smallest of tasks I’d found took a huge effort – like just taking a shower.

 

In July ‘17 I was discharged home to my parents & was back under the care of the early intervention team. It was then that I started to really improve. I joined a gym, joined Slimming World, made plans & made sure I kept busy. I started to sleep better, & my meds were even reduced. In September ‘17 I even returned to work on a phased schedule. I’m now actually back to work full-time as a district nurse & absolutely love my job. I feel my experiences through MH services, has given me empathy towards patients, & the ability to listen to their problems, relate to them, & support them.

 

It’s now April 2018 – just over a yr since I was initially admitted, & my severe MH dip began. I’ve decided that I’d like to give something back to the MH services that supported me. I’m alive…& I’m stronger than I’ve EVER been! I’m looking into becoming a MH advocate & I’m also trying to raise awareness arnd MH thru social media, to try & stop the stigma attached. I’ve also booked a skydive in May (MH Awareness Month) to raise as much as I can for charity. I feel so passionately about MH. I’ll be doing this skydive for all the MH services that supported me, for my 2 gorgeous boys Kian & Conor, for my friends & fam for supporting me thru the hardest time of my life, for all my patients, & for people who are suffering w MH problems. #SameHere🤙, I am doing this all for myself because life IS worth living!

 

#SameHere🤙 #mentalhealthawareness #mentalhealthadvocacy #nurse #hashimotos #strong #postpartum #negativeintopositive

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