David - PANDAS Foundation UK

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 their for my boys as and when needed. Although that is most men’s dream, it only came about through adversity.
Four 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 too 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 too 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 firstborn nine years ago.  It took over 18 months to be diagnosed and a further 18 months on anti-depressants before she was finally given just four sessions of CBT Counselling.  This is what drives me – I am passionate about empowering women (and their partners) during pregnancy and helping them become strong, independent and powerful so if or when PND Strikes before or after the birth, they are well equipped too 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 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 – and 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 too recognise there might be a problem and so you are to be commended for that – I pray that PANDAS and myself can be a constant source of encouragment and friendship to you along your journey.
David Heffernan

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