Master M’s mum found out that asking for help IS the right thing to do…and that recovery, like all important things, can take time.
WARNING: this story refers to things that may distress readers. Remember, if you are struggling and need help you can ring LIFELINE 24 hours a day 7 days a week on 13 11 14 or at www.lifeline.org.au
In July 2016, Master M entered the world. Master M is a miracle baby, two times over.
Master M’s mum had given up on having her own children after multiple failed IVF treatments. She was told it was ‘unlikely’ that she would ever get pregnant because of her physical health. Over a long period she had gotten progressively more unwell, but no one had any answers why. This situation developed into a deep depression that compounded over time, and with each failed attempt at IVF.
His mum didn’t know how to ask for help with how she felt. She had been raised with the belief that asking for help showed weakness and that she was strong enough to handle it on her own.
As the depression got worse, panic attacks began. With things spiraling out of control, Master M’s mum decided that she didn’t want to live like that anymore. She decided to end her life in 2006. Master M’s mum survived because a neighbour happened to drop by shortly after and call an ambulance.
It was a long road to recovery for Master M’s mum and along the way she discovered that asking for help was not a bad thing. Everyone needs help at times and it is a sign of strength to know your limits, set boundaries and to be able to recognise when things are getting bad.
In 2013, Master M’s mum experienced six months of intense workplace bullying, her health was at its worst and she had given up completely on having a child. Due to unforeseen circumstances, she lost her house in Melbourne and had to return ‘back home’ to family in Sydney because she couldn’t work. This meant she had to leave all her friends and supports behind her. Upon arriving in Sydney, her car broke down…
It wasn’t until January of 2014 that she finally got a diagnosis for her mysterious physical health symptoms and began treatment for it. But the mental strain of all those years of not knowing caught up with her and her ability to cope hit an all time low. She knew things were bad, so she went to the local hospital and asked for help.
Recognising that Sydney was not a healthy environment for her, she relocated to Taree. Eventually, Master M’s mum was referred to Richmond PRA (now Flourish Australia).
Master M’s mum started working with a support facilitator on the 8th July 2014. She found it very difficult to adjust to all the changes that had happened in the previous year. She tried really hard, completed a DBT [Dialectical Behaviour Therapy] program, went along to scrapbooking and art community events and with the help of her support facilitator was able to move all her belongings from Melbourne to Taree. She found accommodation at a local caravan park which led to renting a two-bedroom unit and began a return-to-work program.
On 4th December 2014, sitting down at the beach deciding whether to live or die, she evaluated everything that had happened. She came to terms with not ever having her own child and despite not really feeling up to it, she chose to live.
Master M’s mum started playing hockey again and slowly developed a new support network and close friends. Her support facilitator went with her to new environments, supported her during a FairWork dispute, kept her grounded and was pivotal in supporting her during this time.
On 4th December 2015, Master M’s mum completed her time with Flourish Australia. She had returned to work in her field of training, played her first year of hockey in 16 years, spent time with family and friends and was managing her daily life independently again. She also discovered she was nine weeks pregnant.
After 12 months of physical healing from her condition, the doctors believed she could attempt IVF again. This time, it was successful. Early July 2016, Master M was born. Healthy and beautiful, he completed the recovery. If not for Flourish Australia’s program and support, Master M would not be here…and perhaps neither would his Mum.
Recovery takes time. The time is worth it.
The writer wishes to remain anonymous.
NOTE: Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) is a development of Cognitive (thinking) Behaviour Therapy that aims to address the needs of people who experience particularly intense feelings in reactions to certain life situations. DBT aims to help the person slowly build on their strengths to enable them to manage emotional trauma in a more effective way.
THANKS ALSO TO MICHELLE WISEMAN