I was referred to Dayspring in June 2013. I was unexpectedly pregnant with my 3rd child to my emotionally abusive ex and at that point had very little family support.
Due to the fact that I had post natal depression with my 2nd child, I was referred to Maternal Mental Health by my midwife and GP, who then referred me onto Dayspring.
During my pregnancy, my support worker, kept in regular contact. I found this calming and I began to look forward to the arrival of my baby, rather than dread it! Just having the phone call once a week or a catch up over coffee really kept me grounded.
After my baby was born the support continued. I was invited to participate in regular events, gatherings and parenting programmes, all of which helped in numerous ways and encouraged me to get out of the house and socialise with other mothers.
My 3 children and I were invited to a 4 day family camp in Whananaki. Having a young baby at the time, I would have found it impossible to manage taking my children on a summer holiday on my own, let alone manage it financially. It was a fantastic opportunity to provide my children with an unforgettable and invaluable experience, and it provided me with much needed change of scenery as well as a break!
My Maternal Mental Health support worker has been a tremendous support for me with issues I currently have with my eldest son in school. She provided me with a listening ear, a calming influence and plenty of practical support by searching for resources that may assist. She also attended meetings with me at the school as my support person, providing me with confidence to allow myself to be heard and get my points across in a calm and assertive manner.
I suffer from psoriasis brought on by stress. This is a debilitating skin condition which makes me incredibly self conscious. Dayspring's gentle encouragement has ensured that I do get out of the house and socialise and enjoy life, benefiting not only myself but my 3 children too.
I truly believe that having the continuous and caring support provided by Dayspring has helped me to not only accept a situation that I was dreading (having another baby) but it has encouraged and enhanced my belief in my role as a mother and that I am doing the best possible job I can.
Catherine's Story (in her own words)
I suffered from extreme anxiety and depression, and had separated from my husband who was abusive due to alcohol dependency. With 2 small children, I felt alone, stressed and found parenting a real struggle.
I am so grateful for the support I have had through Dayspring's counselling service and parenting programmes, Circle of Security Parenting DVD and afterwards Toolbox - The Early Years.
I have been working on anger issues and extensively on my parenting skills, but more importantly my relationship with my children. Through counselling I have learned de-stressing strategies. I don't feel as overwhelmed with my circumstances, I feel less burdened and weighed down with anxiety. I can now see myself in a much more positive light.
My relationship with my children has improved, I'm less angry, stressed and confused as to what my children need from me. I am learning to delight in the everyday things with my children.
Stacy's Story (name change to protect the individual)
I am a 30 year old mother of 2, a 41/2 year old and a 21 month old. I have suffered from depression and anxiety since I was 11 years old. The depression increased when I was pregnant (from early pregnancy onwards) with my first born and subsequently my second child.
I sort help via my GP when my first child was eight and half months old, I was put on medication. After my second child was born, and suffering from depression was referred to Maternal Mental Health. I received short term respite care. I was discharged from Maternal Mental Health but still had ongoing issues with depression so I was referred to Dayspring.
My key contact at Dayspring was Debbie, and together we have been working through a really helpful book called the Happiness Trap. The tools in this book are really useful and insightful. They are helping me to help myself. I am learning to maintain good mental health long term and independently.
I have participated in a number of courses and programmes at Dayspring that have helped to reinforce positive parenting, and helped me not to feel so isolated and alone, it's good to be with people who understand what it's like. The exercise classes are helping me to maintain overall wellbeing, we look at food for mood in discussions afterwards, learning about nutrition and new recipes, this also helps my children too - they enjoy the food I cooked! I have attended Sewing Classes and really enjoyed learning a new skill and creating low cost furnishings (cushions and blankets etc) for my home. Sewing classes provided a stimulating environment in which I had some time on my own for myself doing something really good for me.
Through the support I have received at Dayspring. I have picked up some important tools for self-care. These tools for maintenance of my overall wellbeing has given me a boost in the right direction for my life and as a mother to be the best I can be.
Over the past 10 years Dayspring has been invaluable to me. Not only have they provided me with a safe and nurturing place to call home but also a caring and affordable way to heal.
The Clearing Anger course I attended showed me so much about myself. Without knowing it I was actually depressed and spending a lot of energy hiding it. My childhood had been full of trauma as I grew up with a mother who was suffering herself and spent several periods being cared for at Kingseat hospital.
Some classes such as psycho-drama helped me to be brave enough to face my past and move forward. This class truly made a difference to me.
This was so empowering, for the first time in 30 odd years I managed to travel by bus on a journey across the North Island, and cope with missing my connection in Hamilton without having a panic attack!!
Classes like the Fitness and Wellbeing I attended helped me to mingle with others and have fun exercising which is something I never did in my youth apart from the obvious benefits to my physical well being the laughter we shared was a wonderful distraction from the daily grind of my depressive thoughts. There is nothing more healing to me than a good chuckle with others who know and appreciate my journey.
All the courses I attended helped me to mingle with others with out fear of having a panic attack and I am proud to say that after 40 years of this burden I now am able to cope with every day situations that in the past would have tipped me over the edge.
I have always felt safe at Dayspring; the only thing I would like to see change is that the Trust get more support and funding. The people who run this Trust work tirelessly and with small budgets. I am convinced that with more funding available to them, they have the experience to make a big difference in the world of mental health.
I am now moving on and yet again there are members of the Dayspring team supporting me in my efforts to find a new home. I have never been more grateful for this support.
Candice's Story (name changed to protect individual)
Of behalf of me and my family would like to thank Dayspring for the everything you have done for us. Thank you for allowing me a second chance to stay at the Dayspring House. You have saved my life and will not forget it. I am now a different woman that what I was 10 years ago. Because of you I can now learn to trust people and to trust myself in the decisions I make.
Thank you so much for believing in me and most of all you've reunited my family back together again.
May God bless you and Dayspring.