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‘I was scared to pick up my children from school’ - north Norfolk mum shares battle with anxiety

PUBLISHED: 14:52 19 February 2019

Sophie Southall with her 13-week-old daughter Florence-Rose. Photo: Sophie Southall

Sophie Southall with her 13-week-old daughter Florence-Rose. Photo: Sophie Southall

Sophie Southall

A young mother-of-four from north Norfolk has bravely spoken about her struggle with anxiety, and urged others to ask for help.

Sophie Southall's children. L-R: 13-week-old Florence-Rose, 6-year-old Tommy-Lee, 8-year-old Lola-Mai and 4-year-old Milo-Jai. Photo: Sophie SouthallSophie Southall's children. L-R: 13-week-old Florence-Rose, 6-year-old Tommy-Lee, 8-year-old Lola-Mai and 4-year-old Milo-Jai. Photo: Sophie Southall

27-year-old stay-at-home mum Sophie Southall had suffered from anxiety for most of her life.

But her condition worsened after the birth of her second son, in 2013, and she was plunged into isolation and battled debilitating panic attacks.

And now she has spoken out to break the taboo surrounding the condition and share her story.

“I always suffered with anxiety, and it became incredibly worse after the birth of my second son,” Mrs Southall, from North Walsham, said.

Sophie Southall and her husband Tim. Photo: Sophie SouthallSophie Southall and her husband Tim. Photo: Sophie Southall

“I became stuck indoors, not venturing outside, scared to even pick my children up from school.

“I found myself isolated and struggled to socialise.

“I started to suffer with panic attacks which I had never had suffered before.

“They were scary, resulting in an ambulance having to be called around once every three weeks.

“I became more isolated, began to hear voices in my head that weren’t there.

“I began to not sleep - I hadn’t slept for seven days. I also lost my appetite and lost weight.

“I tried to take my own life twice but this was the voices urging me to do this.

“I felt alone, scared.”

Mrs Southall was taken to hospital, where the crisis mental health team, and mental health charity Mind, took over her care.

She said: “They decided to change my medication and also sent out a team from the crisis team to my home for a care plan to be decided.

“I gradually got back to being my old self, and then was offered counselling for CBT therapy through the Wellbeing Service.

“I can’t thank them enough as the therapy has done the world of good for me.

“I finally feel like I’ve beaten the depression and the majority of my anxiety. I feel back to my old self.

“I just thought I’d open up and talk about it now I’m me again.”

Mrs Southall, who is in the process of waiting for a diagnosis of Aspergers Syndrome, added: “To anyone struggling, I would obviously say seek help and go to the doctor if you’re feeling down.”

Contact Wellbeing Norfolk and Waveney and Wellbeing Suffolk via 0300 123 1503 or www.wellbeingnands.co.uk or call the free Samaritans helpline on 116 123 from anywhere within the UK.

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