My name is Kelly Swain and I have had a long journey with mental health issues, compounded by physical problems as a result of the traumatic birth of my second child and subsequent medical procedures. I have come so close to killing myself with lethal concoctions of medication and alcohol.
But a friend gave me a book which opened my eyes to the power I had within me. I have now retrained my brain and used holistic therapies to help me recover, instead of dependence on prescribed opioid drugs which caused numerous side effects including exacerbating my depression!
Not only do I feel amazing, but I’m now a woman on a mission to help empower therapies for children and teenagers within schools. I was able to speak to Sir David Amess MP about my ideas to help support the minds of the young: we need to halt what the epidemic of poor mental health in our school children and young adults. He was taken back by what I had put together and wanted to help me make this happen. He has now taken this Westminster for discussion.
This is my story:
I have suffered with mental health from a young age starting when my Dad left home when I was 4.
I have a brother and sisterwho were also effected by this: we saw a lot of physical and mental abuse within our home.
An angry child
I was a very mixed up child and wasn’t sure how to deal with the emotions, I experienced nightmares and wet the bed until I was 7. My mum was a single parent, but we did have a lot of support from our grand parents
I went through school as very angry child. I reflected my aggression to others and hurt a lot of people that meant the world to me. At the time of this I wasn’t sure how to deal with the mixed up emotions from what my Dad did to us all. I kept my feelings deep down inside and the only way of me expressing was to be aggressive. I am very remorseful to those people who I have effected by my times of aggression.
Drink and drugs
I lost my boyfriend when I was 15 to suicide. He meant to the world to me. He was an amazing guy and touched a lot of people with his kindness and love. He was suffering with depression and was misunderstood by the system. I carry his love with me always.
It was after this that I started to drink heavily and start taking drugs. This was my get away from all that had happened. I wasn’t a very nice person once I had drink and drugs inside me. I had no respect for myself at all. I again reflected my anger and aggression and was disrespectful to my friends. I am truly sorry to those who I hurt at this time of my life. I was insecure, aggressive, emotional and unsure where to turn to.
Losing my rock; finding another
In 2000 I lost my nan. She was my rock through my tough times.
I started seeing my husband that year. It was very rocky at the start of our relationship. He put up with a lot from me. I was scared of commitment and used drin and drugs to hide what was going on inside. This went on for a few years and he was amazing. It was as if he was there to save me from my self-destruct mode!
A family of my own – and IVF treatment
We started trying for a baby when I was 25. It was a year or so before we went to the doctors as nothing was happening. After we both had tests we were informed that we couldn’t have children naturally.
We were referred Royal London to start IVF treatment. Wow what a emotional journey IVF is, we ended up having 2 failed attempts.
We decided not to attempt any further treatments due to the emotional impact it was having on me. I was so depressed and went back to drinking heavily, but this time went to the doctors to ask for help. I was put on antidepressants.
Losing my grandad
In 2009 my granddad was diagnosed with lung cancer. I can remember that day like yesterday. He was our Dad that we never had. He was told he only had a month to live. We surrounded him with so much love.
In 2010, my ever supportive partner Martin and I got married. My granddad got to be part of the day and see me start the new journey. Sadly he died a month after my wedding.
Pregnant at last
In 2011, I found out I was pregnant, naturally too!! I started coming off of the antidepressants before the birth.
4th August 2011 my daughter Ellie was born. I hit trouble with postnatal depression after her birth. I was beating myself up for feeling this way especially after me wanting a baby so much. I went back to the doctors and was put back on antidepressants.
Ellie suffered badly with colic. From 7pm every night she screaed until the early hours of the morning. I was like a zombie and, as my husband was working away at the time, my mum stayed with me for 7 weeks to help me get back on my feet. We got through those times together. My mum is amazing and I would be totally lost without her.
Another baby and a traumatic birth.
When I was 34, I found out I was pregnant with my 2nd baby and again, I started weaning off my antidepressants through the pregnancy.
The birth of my son was very traumatic and I suffered internal injuries. I couldn’t hold him or bond with him for days after his birth. I suffered PTS from the delivery of him. For legal reasons as there is an ongoing case, I cannot go in to too much detail but I have had two operations to try and fix the internal problems – unfortunately they have made my situation worse!
I have been told by consultants that I’m a complex case and I will never be completely cured of chronic pain.
I was referred to a pain clinic for physio and given medication to take for chronic pain. Not unsurprisingly, at this point I was also back on the antidepressants.
I was taking 4 different types of medication 4 times a day this time last year. I was like a zombie. I completely lost myself, I had a complete breakdown. I was suffering from complex regional pain syndrome and I was suffering anxiety attacks every time I was leaving the house. I had carers three times a day to help me at this stage
I was screaming inside. I was finding it so frustrating that I couldn’t express my feelings and every time I went out I was being asked the same questions by people about what was happening to me. I had a particular friend at the time who I would just call and cry saying I didn’t want to be this way anymore! She wasn’t sure what to say or what to do to help me.
My demons were coming back and driving me to drink to escape. I had a couple of wobbles last year that could have killed me with the lethal concoctions of medication and alcohol.
But for the sake of my two beautiful children I was determined to beat my mental health problems and get back to wellbeing once and for all.
I was given the book ‘The Secret’ by Rhonda Byrne to read by a good friend. This was the book that helped me on the journey to recovery, helping me change the way that I think and to accept my new life.
This was the book that opened me up to learning. I pretty much have retrained my brain.
I started to then plan my recovery without the help of the doctors / NHS by researching holistic forms of therapy, I was becoming a sponge to learning through many audiobooks.
I gradually cut down on my painkillers (Tramadole) over t period of 6 weeks. I was more than determined to get this drug out of my body. It was an evil process – but I did it!.
I had, and continue to have, complementary therapies such as Reiki healing, crystal healing, spiritual healing, relaxation massage, heat therapy, craniosacral therapy. These have all helped me back to wellbeing and come off my antidepressants. I feel amazing!
As I still have physical problems and mobility issues, so I’ve got a walking stick to aid me walking and a mobility scooter to take the kids to school and my dog for a walk/run. I would be lost without my Wanda Wheels haha!.
As I mentioned at the beginning of my story, I am now on a mission to create more awareness of how complementary therapies can help people with mental health issues, and to take complementary therapies in to schools.
I started planning a fundraising and awareness event in aid of mental health so I could show and help people suffering that there are many forms of holistic therapies that can help both adults and children.
Wise Up To Wellbeing was held at Heycroft Primary School on 24th August 2018.
I have met some amazing people along the way that are truly inspirational, teaching me, healing me, guiding me. And I had a great team behind me with the event! I know that everyone’s path to healing is unique, so I have been able to bring many forms of holistic therapies for both children and adults to the charity event.
Sir David Amess MP attended the event (pictured above) and said:
“Kelly has done a brilliant job in getting so many people involved in this event. It is so important to ensure that young people get all the support they need and Kelly’s self-help and wellbeing therapies offer a wonderful resource. A lot of fun was had by all who attended and a goodly sum raised for the charity Young Minds.”
My passion is to be able to help people suffering with mental health; to be able to help the young within the schools; to make a big difference to the whole approach to mental health.
My journey has been long and painful, but without the challenges I have faced I wouldn’t be doing what I am today. Maybe, looking back, I was always being prepared for the path I am on now? It’s a new and exciting path and I’m eager to take the next step. I’m absolutely determined to make a difference so others don’t have to suffer unnecessarily as I have done.