Mum tells of bout with depression

24th November 2010 | Sunshine Coast Daily

IMAGINE not cracking a smile when you are around Avani Jaremus, 2, and her nine-month-old baby sister Chella. Avani squeals when Dorothy the Dinosaur’s head pops up on television, and Chella barely registers her fingertips being crunched by a wayward tricycle as she crawls about the floor. This scene of domestic bliss is a stark contrast to their mother Kristi’s almost-crippling postnatal depression (PND) immediately after the birth of her first child.

It is a load shared by at least one in six mothers. Kristi, 33, a financial controller, and her husband meticulously planned their parenthood. And everything was going swimmingly until the pair left the hospital with tiny Avani. “Looking back, when we put Avani in the car, I was bawling my eyes out,” Kristi said. “I didn’t know what I was doing, and of course no one does, but it never got better for me.”

Kristi attended a mothers’ group but found herself putting on a “front” because the other mums seemed so content with their cubs. “I just isolated myself because I had no energy for the front any more.” It took five months for Kristi to see her GP, who diagnosed her condition and recommended a psychologist. Within four weeks the fog began to lift.

She visited psychologist Lisa Lindley’s Mooloolaba practice and later attended her support group for PND-sufferers. “It was great to meet face-to-face with other women because there’s such a stigma that no one talks about,” she said.

Now, more than 12 months after her diagnosis, she is a doting mother who is more relaxed. Kristi’s message to any concerned mother is to see a GP. “Even if you’re feeling down and feeling a bit of doubt, they might just tell you it’s a rough spot, or it might be something more serious they can help with,” she said.

Mother’s group in spotlight

26th September 2010 | Sunshine Coast Daily

A SMALL, innovative mothers’ group on the Sunshine Coast has sparked national interest from one of the country’s most respected current affairs programs. The Coast’s Post Natal Support Group has been approached by 60 Minutes for a segment on postnatal depression, thanks to the group’s growing reputation.

The group has helped more than 50 women overcome depression in the past three years. With a new course starting on October 6, facilitator and psychologist Lisa Lindley is happy for the recognition, but does not want it to scare away new clients as her main focus is still on helping those in need. Ms Lindley said there were still spots open for her next eight-week course.

“There is one in five women on the Coast who suffer from postnatal depression,” she said. “The program … provides women with practical strategies to help them to overcome PND in a supportive environment. “These support groups are one of the biggest ways to overcome it and there is the chance to meet others facing similar struggles.”

For more information visit www.sunshinecoastpnd.com. or ph 0417 540 820.

It’s okay to say ‘we can’t cope’

Written by Miranda Cashin | 22nd October 2011 | Sunshine Coast Daily

Psychologist Lisa Lindley, middle, is helping new mums beat the baby blues. Photo: Darryn Smith

POST-natal depression (PND) doesn’t discriminate. It can affect women of all ages and from all backgrounds. It affects one-in-six mothers in Australia and occurs when a woman experiences moderate to severe depressive symptoms after childbirth. The symptoms may present themselves immediately after childbirth or develop any time during the first year.

More than simply “baby blues”, PND can run the full gamut of emotions from feeling sad, a loss of control right through to extreme depression. The onset of PND can be slow or sudden and symptoms can include:

  • Feeling down for long periods of time
  • Feeling detached or unable to cope with your baby’s demands
  • Lack of interest in your baby or other activities
  • Reduced appetite or comfort eating
  • Fatigue, difficulties sleeping
  • Negative thoughts and feelings
  • Loss of sex drive

The cause of PND is largely unknown and while the drop in hormones that occurs after giving birth is thought to be a contributing factor, a combination of life-style changes, sleep deprivation and stress can be to blame.

Clinical psychologist Lisa Lindley specialises in treating women with PND and runs a support group for woman suffering from the condition on the Coast. Since the group’s establishment four years ago, 65 women have completed the eight-week course. Ms Lindley was inspired to start the group after treating a woman with PND who felt alone and powerless.

Similar to regular depression, treatment can involve counselling and anti-depressants but Ms Lindley said one of the most important aspects of treatment was support and attending a support group. “There’s this terrible pressure on women after they have given birth,” she said. “It’s a really challenging time with a lot of changes. “You are sleep-deprived and at home with a baby all day. “It’s very different from a career where you are in control and know what to expect. “Women don’t know there is support out there and that they aren’t alone. “If they think they aren’t coping, they feel like a failure as a mother and they’re too ashamed to talk about it. “There’s a lot of shame attached with PND.”

Ms Lindley said PND was nothing to be ashamed of. If PND was suspected, the most important thing to do was to tell your partner and seek help. Dads can also suffer from PND and the support group offers a night just for the dads to help them cope with their own feelings and give them the tools to help their partner. The Postnatal Depression Support Group runs for eight weeks each term. It is held every Wednesday at the Maroochy Baptist Centre from 1-2pm. The cost of $20 can be bulk- billed with a Mental Health Care Plan. The current course started two weeks ago but women are still free to join or contact Ms Lindley for more information or private counselling.

Next Wednesday from 10am to noon, the group will host a special morning tea with guest speakers. Debra Dane, from Home Life Simplified, will talk about living a balanced life and ditching the guilt.  For more information, contact Ms Lindley on 0417 540 820.

Further information on PND can also be found at Post and Antenatal Depression Association at http://www.panda.org.au/.

Help for Child Soldiers

Written by Janine Hill | 4th May 2009 | Sunshine Coast Daily

Lisa Lindley is off to Uganda to help traumatised child soldiers. Photo: Nicholas Falconer

When Lisa Lindley first heard psychologist doctor Robi Sonderegger speak about the work being done with traumatised child-soldiers in Uganda, she vowed to help.Five years later, the Buderim woman is doing exactly that.

Lisa and her friend, Fiona O’Donnell, of Canberra, boarded a plane to Uganda last Friday to put in three weeks as volunteers at displaced persons camps. The part-time psychologist and mother of three teenage children said she had made a promise to help to Dr Sonderegger when he spoke at a school function.“I couldn’t go then. My kids were too young then,” she said. “Eighteen months ago, I was in hospital for two months with a back operation that went wrong, and while I was there, I realised that my husband and kids could cope okay without me now. I realised I could go when I got strong again,” she said. Lisa regained her fitness and when she rang her old school friend, Fiona, to tell her about the trip, she volunteered to join her.

They were not exactly sure what to expect but would be working with others already involved in counselling and rehabilitating traumatised children and their communities.The modest mum said she did not deserve any kudos for her volunteer work. “There’s so many people like that. I don’t look at me as different from anyone else. There’s so many people who give their time and do things like that. I’m only going for three weeks. Other people pack up their whole families and go for a lot longer.”

Battling the Baby Blues

Written by Sue Short | 30th October 2007 | Sunshine Coast Daily

Psychologist Lisa Lindley talks with mums at the PND support group. Photo: Nicholas Falconer

Next time you are sitting with a group of women who have children, look around. At least one in seven will have suffered from post-natal depression (PND) and surprisingly in the 21st century the social stigma of this disease still makes women stoically try to suffer it alone in silence. As a mother of two, Sarah, 29, who didn’t want to be identified for these reasons, said: “I thought being so tired was just normal”. Only diagnosed with PND after her second child, Sarah admitted she probably had it after her first child.

A very private person, Sarah explained attending an eight-week course held by Buderim psychologist Lisa Lindley and discovering she was not alone was what got her through the other side. “Meeting the other girls was very helpful,” she said. “I think we all felt a real connection with each other and we still see each other even though we are all different and our circumstances are different.” Sarah said she began to feel better half way through the eight-week course. “I felt completely better by the end of it,” she said. “You still have the odd bad day but now I know how to deal with it.”

Mother of 15-month-old twin girls and a boy, now four and a half, Kylie Bartholomew has quite a handful on her plate. An emergency nurse, Kylie found it hard to accept she had PND because she was someone who always coped. “I felt like I was losing control of everything around me. I was still able to get up and care for them every day and I had lots of external support but I felt like life was out of control,” she explained. “For me it was ridiculous that I was falling apart.” Kylie agreed that there was a stigma attached to PND in today’s society and it took her a long time to decide to attend Lisa’s support group. “I didn’t want to admit to PND and not many would share it with anyone else,” she said. “There’s still stigma around it… I think it’s all about the expectation versus reality, the expectation that it is all a very happy wonderful time.” Kylie said that women with PND tend to feel they have failed in some way and they are the only ones while everyone else is living the myth that life after baby is rosy. “You see it as your failure,” she said. “In the group we could support each other and it helped to know you could get through to the other side.”

With three children of her own, psychologist Lisa Lindley said she has been working with families for 20 years. “More than feeling emotionally fragile for a few days following the birth – commonly known as the Baby Blues – post-natal depression can last for months if left untreated and the feelings are intense and constant,” she said. “I understand the issues pretty well and have a passion in that area.”She set up the Sunshine Coast Post Natal Support Group on a voluntary basis because she saw a real need on the Sunshine Coast for more support for women suffering with PND.

The group, meets weekly, and also offers an 8-week program aimed at providing women with information about post natal depression and practical ways to reduce its symptoms of depression. It gives women the chance to know they are not alone and receive support and friendship from other women including mothers who have overcome post natal depression.

“The group aims to be as informal as possible with plenty of time for coffee and discussion about the weekly topic. We also look at ways to improve the bond between mother and child, stress management, assertiveness and problem solving,” Lisa said. This month a national plan, beyond blue, was launched to identify depression in women during pregnancy and after the baby’s birth.

 

Abbey to help bring smiles

Nikkii Joyce | 8th July 2010

WHEN teenager Abbey Lindley sets off for Thailand next month, it will not be in the usual search for world famous beaches or shopping. The 15-year-old Chancellor State College student is a volunteer dental assistant who will become part of a free dental health clinic at a Mae La refugee camp. Abbey will join Chancellor Park dentist Colin Morrison and his wife Andrea at the permanent free dental clinic Glory2Glory, which the couple built in February, 2009. The clinic provides much needed care for refugee children and young adults aged one to 20.

Courageous Abbey is set to brave an “unimaginable” environment of tuberculosis and malaria and the absence of the general dental health care she takes for granted. “They are in a great deal of pain and I knew Andrea and thought it was an opportunity for me to help,” she said. The intrepid teenager began memorising a tooth diagram and instrument names yesterday. It is no easy feat, considering the conditions in which the Mae La children and their families live. Ms Morrison named the clinic after a newborn baby, Glory Glory, who was placed in her hands during her first visit in August 2008.

She said the two-week experience would be a “devastating assault” on Abbey’s senses. “Your heart wants to be there, but your head is telling you to get the hell out of there,” Ms Morrison said. “It’s like walking into a war zone.” Ms Morrison said clinic volunteers, including trained refugee teenagers, had turned around what had been a 60% ratio of extremely severe tooth decay. “Of course, we feed them and clothe them and put a roof over their heads, but their teeth are so rotten they could die,” she said. A Glory2Glory fundraising lunch will be held at The Spice Bar on July 16 at noon. Bookings are essential. Phone Lisa Lindley on 0417 540 820 by tomorrow.