Depression- Be Swept Under The Carpet No More

Today is International Women’s Day.

This morning the body of Meath mother, Anna Byrne,who was 38 weeks pregnant with twins was recovered from the sea at Howth, Co Dublin.

Anna was 35. I believe she has children already. Her new children were due any day. I cannot stop thinking about her. I know nothing more about Anna Byrne or anything about the circumstances that led to her death.

Here is what I do know.

Services and support for people suffering from depression in Ireland are under sourced and under valued.  There is also not enough knowledge nor help available for mothers who are pregnant and suffering from depression. Nor for post natal depression.  I am speaking from experience and from reading of other mothers experiences.

I began a course of anti depressants three years ago. I then found out I was pregnant with my third child. My doctor’s advice was to stop the medication, cheer up and take iron.

When my third child was 6 months old. I knew I had Post Natal Depression. I was breast feeding her. Two GP’s recommended I wean my daughter immediately and start medication. I did not want to wean her. I spent hours online researching medications that were safe to take when breastfeeding. Thanks to that research and some support from a woman and doctor who I contacted via  The I found out what medication was suitable. Took them for almost ten months and got through it, it was a blip and I fixed it with the help of the medication and from the support of my husband. Had this happened me 6 years ago when I had my first daughter ,when I was not as internet savvy, the outcome could have been different. I should not have had to research what medication I could take. I am not a Doctor.

The stigma of depression still remains in Ireland today. Yet Aware quote that over 450,000 people in Ireland suffer from depression at one stage in their life. That is one in ten people yet it is rarely spoken of. I am as guilty of this as the next person. Up until  I hit the publish button now, only 4 people knew I suffered from PND.

So I know I cant change the world but I can speak out and here I am. By speaking out we can help break the stigma. Make it normal. We don’t stay quiet when sick with flu or headaches yet we do with our mental health. So talk and talk and talk and maybe depression will not be hidden when our children are adults.

One in ten women will suffer from prenatal depression. Up to 15% of woman will suffer from post natal depression. I want to know that if it strikes my own daughters that they wont have to keep quiet and they will get the help they need. So I’m speaking out for them on International Women’s Day.

To Anna and her children, Ar dheis Dé go raibh a n-anamnacha. Sleep tight.

The following are some of the supports available if you want to find out more about depression or need help

About The Clothesline

30 +, Husband, three little girls, one little boy, one dog. Overdrawn, overtired, overemotional and overwhelmed most of the time.
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12 Responses to Depression- Be Swept Under The Carpet No More

  1. Eadaoin Quinn says:

    Hear hear, well said.

  2. Very Sad for the family of Anne Byrne ,God how did it reach this stage,with all the help available. May she rest in peace with her two little Angels.

    • Breege Doherty says:

      For a start there’s a big misconception here – ‘all the help available’. Health cuts, and in particular cuts in mental health services mean that there is not adequate help available. Also even when there is help, the very nature of depression and the stigma attached to it sometimes stops people from asking for help. Very sad indeed for Anne and her two wee angels and their loved ones left behind. Shame on our government and on us as a society to let things stoop to this level.

  3. Pingback: Here Is What I Do Know |

  4. Katherine says:

    Well done D x

  5. Anne London says:

    I have suffered from depression for most of my life & it is still been swept under the carpet ,my advice TALK !TALK! TALK! it out with a specialist,

  6. oonagh guinan says:

    thinking of her partner and other children god love them all the poor woman

  7. helen says:

    Well said and congratulations for speaking out

  8. Lee says:

    I too am suffering from depression while pregnant but luckily I have supportive friends and family around me… RIP to Anna and her family xxxx

  9. So sad that this is still happening. Post Natal Depression is a serious issue and very little is being done.
    I suffered severe PND over 21 years ago, there was nothing there no information, nobody talked about it, the stigma was huge. I felt so isolated, alone, very afraid, I so needed someone to talk to that could empathise with me, to reassure me I wasn’t going mad!
    I was on a lot of medication and by degrees I got better but it was a long very dark road at times.

    As a result of my awful experience I started a Support Group 20 years ago this year, around that time there were about 4 groups around Ireland, these are all gone now. We have tried over the years to get other groups going but they haven’t lasted, sadly.
    We run support meetings where mums support each other. Coffee mornings. Run a help line five mornings 10am to 2pm and give out an emergency number for after hours. We brought out a book Recovering from Post Natal Depression by Bernie Kealey & Madge Fogarty, it is available in Easons in the parenting section. It is a self help and has lots of womens stories.
    The most fantastic development in Cork has been our inclusion in the Anti Natal classes, since the new Maternity hospital was built 5 years ago we have been giving a presentation to all first time mums and dads to be. For twenty minutes I explain what it is the symptoms where to go for help and very important my storey. This has definately brought some change women are coming forward quicker and therefore recover quicker.

    We need a national stratedgy on Post Natal Depression, I feel sorry for women outside Cork
    (we talk to any women around the country not just Cork)
    Last year we rang every Maternity Hospital In Ireland and asked what they would do if a women presented with PND the answer was go to your GP..
    Another issue there is no mother and baby unit in Ireland a disgrace in 2012, what this means if a women has very severe PND and needs to be hospitalised she will end up in a general Psychatric hospital without her baby.

    If there is any women out there interested in starting some support (I suggest a coffee morning)
    I beg you to get in touch with me and see what we can do.
    Madge Fogarty
    021 4922083

  10. Rita says:

    Thanks for posting. There is some research available on line but your right you should not have had do go do the looking! general practitioners should really do more training around postnatal issues. Kathleen kendall thacket has done great research on depression and breastfeeding and the use of omega oils.

  11. gwen says:

    Thanks for this Deborah! I had a shite “professional” treat me for AND two years ago now. My GP told me “welcome to the public health system” when I told her of my rotten experience. God help us! It’s too late for Anna Byrne, her family and her lovely, lovely kids. I will be thinking of them this Christmas.

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