Heather Ness is a blogger at The Imperfectly Perfect Parent and a full time mum to Molly and Emily. She has recently written a post on her battles with anxiety and depression (something she has dealt with since she was a teen) in a bid to raise awareness about mental health; here she very kindly shares her story with MummyPages mums. 


Not too long ago, I hugged a stranger. This lady, probably even younger than myself, was quite clearly distressed. I tapped on her car door to which she opened and burst into more tears.


She was sitting with a letter on her legs, which I could only see was NHS results of some description. I tried to console her and ask her what was wrong. From the floods of tears emerged a slight description to her pain - she had gotten terrible, terrible news.


In that moment I didn't have a word to say, something that doesn't happen to me very often. I had no answers to give this girl, no way of helping her other than reaching out and holding her.


Something in that hug told me not to ask anymore questions, it told me not to say anything, it was enough to know she wasn't in control of this news. I cannot get her out my head. I offered to give her my number, to take her somewhere or to stay with her but she just continued to say: "Thank you, it's OK, I'll be OK."  



My little ball of courage 

A photo posted by The Imperfectly Perfect Parent (@theimperfectlyperfectparent) on


Emotional scars are one of the hardest to heel. I have by no means been dealt the worst of hands. I have, however, felt the depth of loneliness that can send you over the edge, the feeling that makes you sit and wonder what your purpose is, pushing you to question if you have the strength to walk the path that is currently in front of you in order to get to where your meant to be.


I was born with a mind that believed I could do anything I wanted and a mind that told me I had no boundaries, no rules and no limits to where I could go. I didn't want to just painfully walk my path to get to the 'finish line,' I wanted to enjoy every single minute of the walk too.


In the beginning - in my teenage and hardest years - I was so incredibly lost because my path to this current life felt so damn painful.


I fought a lot of battles. To this day, I replay holding my dad's hand for the last time and wish on my younger self to have had it longer.


I look back at certain periods of my life and I just see black. There are choices I made, horrible experiences I allowed to happen and actions I took that I no longer can fully remember but I no are still there.


They are there because I relive them when I watch my girls grow, and fear that they feel even an ounce of the hurt I did to get where I am. I have come to accept and believe it was all worth it and that is was all meant to happen, but I am yet to accept that my beautiful little girls may have some struggles to face in their lives one day too.


A few months ago I shook the hand of a new friend, and, to my horror, scars I thought had long since disappeared in my late teens were prominent on my wrists. I had not seen these scars in years and for some reason, they were there and continued to appear for weeks after.  


At first I was embarrassed but then I remembered where all those mistakes had led me.



Seeing those scars when I did, at a time where I was struggling with my anxiety in every day family life, was a miracle. I honestly believe it was a reminder to stay strong.


To look at where life had brought me after being in my darkest of places, having lost my belief that the life I had imagined was not real - here I was, standing right in it. I had made it and I was a pillar of hope to those who hadn't quite got there.


When depression hits, it hits hard. You can be surrounded by friends and family and in the pit of your stomach there's a rock that won't budge. Holding back a bubble in your throat that consistently gives you the urge to hurl.  


Trying to peer through the haze in front of your eyes just to attempt, for at least a second, to feel what it's like to not to be overcome with the heaviest and ugliest of feelings.


Depression comes in many forms and can hit even at the happiest points of your life - I learned this during my second pregnancy when I thought I'd finally rid myself of it.


I wanted to be excited about another new arrival to our family but instead, I became scared and lonely. I believed I was selfish for thinking I could have two children and still give my first daughter the love and attention she deserved, with no friends and family near by to soften the blow.



Beautiful chaos 

A photo posted by The Imperfectly Perfect Parent (@theimperfectlyperfectparent) on


I was struggling with our home life, the loneliness and the physical impact my pregnancy had already had on me, which also led to me being unable to play with my first born the way I always did.


My physical health in my second pregnancy led me down a slippery slope and my mental health got missed somewhere down the line, very few people noticed the signs.


All of a sudden I had convinced myself I couldn't do it - I didn't believe I was strong enough. The hardest part about that time in my life was the guilt. The guilt consistently made me break down, completely out the blue.


It wasn't like before when I was younger - nobody had died, nobody had hurt me. I was married, living in a beautiful home with a beautiful, happy, healthy baby girl and was carrying yet another inside me - how dare I feel this way.  


I didn't want my husband to witness me being so selfish, so I pushed him away - I had no notion to cuddle or seek love in any way. I spent many a day unable to speak without wanting to break down. For a long while, every day felt like I was going to stop breathing - I just couldn't control the panic.


I would fulfil my role as mum and smile for my baby every day, then I would go to bed and cry. 


Fortunately for me, I got through that without professional guidance but it was not an easy ride and I wish there was someone I could have spoken to that had genuinely felt exactly what I was feeling. Because if it was someone who had felt that pain, I'd have believed them.  


There is a gift that comes from experiencing life blows. You become more compassionate and can sympathise on a level of understanding that can inevitably change and better a person.  



Through life there are lessons, with lessons there is knowledge and with knowledge there is the power to heal another.


You'll know a person with anxiety because for the most part, they care far more than any human should. It's a care that out-stretches any humans capabilities of fixing situations but they continue to try.


It's a care for strangers, for every horrible comment and unfortunate situation there is and then trying aimlessly to find explanations for everything.


They over-think a situation or a planned day to the point they don't go or live in fear of things going wrong.


 After a meeting, a night out or a day doing something other than their norm, they will go to bed and analyse every conversation they've had in fear they've said something wrong or upset someone.


Don't misinterpret their avoidance with not loving you or wanting to be with you - its usually quite the opposite. Their overwhelming fear of failure and judgement can stop them in their tracks to enjoyment on a daily basis.


Common phrases I used to hear from people who were trying to help but didn't understand usually consisted of joining classes, finding work, going out and making friends and keeping myself busy.


But the only three healers I know to date are time, talking (to the right people) and, when you don't have the courage to do that - write.



Daddy caught the moment better  #hisgirls #offtothenaturereserve

A photo posted by The Imperfectly Perfect Parent (@theimperfectlyperfectparent) on

That girl in the car park gave me a sign. She was that piece of the puzzle I needed to move forward. Since that day everything has gotten easier again.


She had no control over the news she'd been given but I, in some way did. I had to trust that if I made the move, if I chose to talk - in time my life would get better again. I walked toward our beautiful family car, I looked at the love of my life and turned round to see what our love had created.


I was overwhelmed with the idea that I was in control and from that moment, I extended an arm and I began to talk to my husband and before I knew it, things were getting easier.


I am by no means 100 percent rid of my demons but I am out that bubble; I am here enjoying my life and everyone who is in it.


I am spending my days growing a community of like-minded people and I cannot wait to share the next part of my venture with you all.  

If your sh*t days become sh*t weeks and before you know it, your emotions have taken over your happiness - your physically and emotionally struggling, take that leap and know there is the right help.


Don't sit and compare your situation to others and try determine if your problems are 'worthy' of help before you try. Just ask yourself if you are happy and if you aren't; make the call, send the email and find help. 


This post was written by Heather to raise awareness of the PANDAS Foundation; you can read the full post by clicking here.


For advice and support, please visit Aware