Healing, Helping Others & Becoming A Healthwatch Ambassador

healthwatch1As many of you know, when I was very ill I was obsessed with reading blogs about anxiety and PND, in particular recovery stories, and made a promise to myself that if I got better I would share my story far and wide to help others. This promise led me to begin The Butterfly Mother 16 months ago and has subsequently led to lots of opportunities I never could have dreamed of before.

From a writing & blogging perspective, I couldn’t be happier with how things are going. Writing is a passion I had almost shelved until recent years but blogging has completely reignited it and I feel my confidence growing daily. The opportunities I’ve had to work with brands and actually be paid for my work blows my mind a little.

But it is the advocacy work I’ve slowly begun to get involved in that brings me even more satisfaction and happiness. I honestly begun this journey to help others and to find a purpose in what I had suffered but through attempting to help others I’m definitely healing myself too. Life can seem random and rootless at times, especially when you are facing adversity, so if you can find a little meaning in those problems it can really help.

I have never been so passionate about a cause as I am now about improving services for Perinatal Mental Health. And as I meet more and more inspiring people, both online through #pndhour and countless other avenues, or more recently in real life, through the projects I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in, I feel even more grateful for this chance to play a tiny part in improving the outlook for other parents who are suffering as I once was. Every time I’m in a room with people who share these goals you can almost feel the power, passion and hope. With this many people desperate to make a difference it’s almost inevitable that progress will be made.

One of the most inspiring people I’ve met is Sarah at Lotus Petal Family Support. I definitely feel we are kindred spirits in this cause and I’m so looking forward to developing our plans to become a charity and help parents in Essex who are struggling.

However, today I want to highlight a new project both Sarah and I are involved in. We have recently become Mental Health Ambassadors for Healthwatch Essex. This is a year long project where local Commissioners are seeking input from people with lived experience across all areas of mental health in the county to try to redesign our local services. This is a really positive step, and shows that local government are taking an interest in mental health and that they are consulting with the people who have actually used the existing services.

We had our first meeting on Monday and there were so many inspiring and passionate people in the room – from Healthwatch and local government as well as people who have either experienced a mental health issue themselves or have a loved one who has. I’ll keep you updated on the progress of the project over the coming months.

As well working with Ambassadors and carrying out focus groups, Healthwatch also wish to get feedback from the general public so I’d be really grateful if you could take a look at the survey below and share as much as you can.

Healthwatch Mental Health Service User Survey

I feel really flattered and privileged to be involved in the Healthwatch piece of work, as well as the other recent meetings I’ve attended. Advocacy is more than just a hobby, it gives me purpose and helps me to make sense of what I experienced after Caterpillar’s birth.

I hope my involvement in advocacy work will help other people but the healing it’s brought to me is a very happy side effect too. Indulging in your passions, whatever they are and especially as a parent, can really give you focus, direction and boost your sense of identity. I’m excited to see where the journey will take me next.

To find out more about Healthwatch Essex please visit www.healthwatchessex.org.uk or find them on Facebook and Twitter.

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13 comments on “Healing, Helping Others & Becoming A Healthwatch Ambassador

  1. You are truly an incredible and inspirational person. PND is absolutely horrific, and you are helping to remove one of the worst aspects of it: the loneliness. To take your struggle and use it to help other women make sense of their births is truly such a beautiful and commendable thing! Thank you so much for sharing <3 #KCACOLS
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  2. This is a great post. It’s so brave of you to be so open about your struggles with PND, it’s incredible of you to use your experience to help others. You’re truly inspirational #kcacols

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