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How this mother found the courage to ask for help

“It was really comforting to hear from someone else that its okay to be struggling, that I didn’t need to have everything figured out" Joy Adan on seeking help Source: supplied J Adan

“One afternoon I was driving down the Great Western Highway, it was a normal day. A really uneventful day, I just dropped off my eldest son to school and my youngest was happy in the backseat. I just started crying. I kept crying. I just felt this heaviness in my heart” It was at that moment that mother of two Joy Adan knew she needed help.

Sadness is an emotion most Filipinos try to avoid. Often gathering in large groups or being around the comfort of family allows one to temporarily set aside that feeling.

“It’s almost ingrained in our culture to keep a brave face. As Filipinos, we are constantly reminded to smile, count our blessings and I do! It’s something we do every night; we pray and thank God for what we are grateful for.” Joy says there are many things to be thankful for but one thing she has learned over the years; it’s also important to know when to ask for help.


 Highlights

  • Your General Practitioner can assist you in finding the support you need
  • It is okay to feel sad, it is important to talk to someone about it
  • Parenting is challenging, it is okay to ask for help when you are overwhelmed or stressed

 

peri-natal, post-natal depression, COVID-19, support, counselling, activities with family, coping with depression, anxiety
":It might not be depression, but everyone goes through it, everyone struggles at some point." Joy Adan
supplied J Adan

 

“One thing I’ve learned is how important it is to admit that it's been tough; because I think that is the first step to take to be able to ask for help”  Joy adds “Lockdown isn’t something that any one of us could have ever prepared for. Being able to ask for help and admit how difficult it is, an important part of coping.”    

Heaviness in my heart

It happened sometime after the birth of her second child. There are days when Joy would be going about her daily tasks then she would burst into tears. She couldn’t explain it.

Her tears would be followed by sadness; “a heaviness in my heart” as she describes it.  

She kept this feeling to herself; “if I talked to my sisters about it, my parents about it I’d expect them to say you just pray about it, lift it all to God.I do, but I just know I must do something about it.

Searching for answers

After a physically challenging pregnancy and being faced with the task of caring for two children; her sadness came in waves.  

Joy decided to consult with her GP; “I don’t know what’s going on but I’m just suddenly sad out of nowhere. He said “of course, you're going through a lot. You are going through a challenging time right now, a big change of course it's hard. “

That conversation with her GP changed her life. It was then that she realized she didn’t need to have the answer to everything. “It was really comforting to hear from someone else that it's okay to be struggling.  That got me on the journey to accepting that I didn’t need to have everything figured out.”

 

peri-natal, post-natal depression, COVID-19, support, counselling, activities with family, coping with depression, anxiety
"Biggest lesson for me, it’s okay to ask for help" mother of two Joy Adan on dealing with per- and post-natal depression
supplied J Adan
 

It’s okay to ask for help

“If I were struggling, I could turn to other people, I didn’t need to keep it to myself, I didn’t need to keep a brave face.” Relieved that it’s okay to be not okay. Growing up Filipino and in Australia “we live a good life here, it’s ridiculous to think that, what could we possibly be sad about?”  

Life may be good and filled with blessings, but her experience with peri and post-natal depression has  taught her “it’s still okay to find things difficult, there are a lot of things that  can be difficult, sometimes we are taken out of our comfort zone and navigating something that’s completely new.”

Seeking help and support

The recent lockdown proved challenging as well. Juggling work and caring for her two sons wasn’t a walk in the park, but it became easier knowing who and where to turn to for help.

“You don’t have to wait ‘til a breakdown until you’re burning out. If you’re feeling like you’re struggling, you can contact your GP, call people at the Gidget Foundation, your friends and your family. Just be really open and honest about what it is you really need help with” says the mother of two

peri-natal, post-natal depression, COVID-19, support, counselling, activities with family, coping with depression, anxiety
"We discovered lettering, finding creative ways to write letters" Joy Adan on finding activities to do as a family
supplied J Adan

They discovered the calming effect of lettering, “my nine-year-old is learning how to  write letters in a more creative way.”

Finding things to do together as a family is important to stay connected with your children. To burn all that stored energy “we’ve done a lot of stuff in our backyard. He loves basketball, even though our space is small, he’ll do whatever to try to beat me in our little space”  

At present, Joy Adan is helping create awareness and education on the importance of seeking support particularly for mothers who are re-entering the workforce.

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