My name is David Heffernan, and I live in Knutsford, Cheshire with my beautiful wife Emma and 2 boys Ben (9) and Jack (4).
I am self-employed and work from home, which allows me total freedom to be there for my boys as and when needed. Although that is most men’s dream, it only came about through adversity.
4 Years ago I was diagnosed with a neuromuscular disorder and severe lung defect – I became unemployable overnight and so after 100 job interviews and not one single yes, I knew I had to take control of my life and so I became self-employed. In the last year through investing in shifting my mindset I have been able to come off 36 tablets a day plus Morphine and I can now be a Father again to my children. 18 Months ago – I couldn’t even lift my child up as my illness had got so bad.
I am so proud to be involved with PANDAS and PANDAS DADS because I can see the real value and benefit in what they offer to people who are experiencing PND. My experience of PND has been more of a supportive role. My wife has suffered with PND since the birth of our first born 9 years ago. It took over 18 months too be diagnosed and a further 18 months on anti-depressants before she was finally given just 4 sessions of CBT counselling. This is what drives me – I am passionate about empowering women (and men) during pregnancy and helping them become strong, independent and powerful so if or when PND strikes before or after birth, they are well equipped to tackle this life changing illness.
I studied depression to the point I became a self appointed expert in the subject so I could help my wife as best I could. I wish to help other Dads in the same situation who may not understand what is happening to their partner/wife and support them so they can support their wife and provide the best environment for their marriage/relationship and their children. It is a non-debatable fact also that Men do suffer from postnatal depression, so it is important that men have a safe forum to seek advice and support during this time.
My wife has learnt to control her depression now through solution focused thinking. She has always been the most beautiful woman in my life, depression has just been a temporary resident in her mind. As the landlady she has learned to evict it quite quickly when depression decides to claim squatting rights.
I am so proud of my wife and of every single member of PANDAS because it takes real strength and courage to recognise there is a problem and so you are to be commended for that – I pray that PANDAS and myself can be a constant source of encouragement and friendship to you along your journey.