TRURO, N.S. – As a first-time parent, caring for twins, Jill Chappell expected to be busy and a little tired, but she gradually began to realize there was something more going on.
Last year, she was diagnosed with post-partum depression and post-partum anxiety. She’ll speak on the topic at an upcoming event.
“My boys, Max and Xander, were born in April 2015, and during the first year my husband and I were so busy trying to keep up with everything,” she said. “I attributed what I was feeling to being a parent. I didn’t realize there was anything abnormal.”
She returned to work with Global News, where she was an anchor and producer, but after a few months found she wasn’t able to keep up with things the way she used to.
“I was feeling overwhelmed,” she recalled. “I was getting the boys up and getting to work on time, but I was feeling overwhelmed with emotion. There were a lot of feelings of – almost rage, and that wasn’t typical for me. There were also a lot of tears.”
Her husband encouraged her to get medical help and a little more than a month later she had a diagnosis.
“That’s when things really changed. I was able to identify what was making me feel this way. I got medication and left my job. I did things to take some stress off of my life.
“It was a big adjustment because I had always been very career oriented and ambitious. I spent a good portion of my life working toward achieving my career goals and I was comfortable being independent and being in that world.”
Chappell now accepts that things don’t have to be perfect.
“You have to treat yourself the way you’d treat friends,” she said. “You’d give them a break and say it was OK if their house was a little dirty and they couldn’t keep up with laundry. You need to give yourself a break too. Love yourself and be the best you can be.”
She began doing contract work part time and is starting her own communications and public relations business in Halifax. Because she believes it’s important to talk about mental health issues, she is also one of the keynote speakers at this year’s Women and Wellness event, held by the Colchester-East Hants branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association.
“I think a lot of people suffer with this and not everybody is able to recognize what they’re going through.
“I think the Women and Wellness event is a great event and I hope it encourages people to talk about mental health issues more openly and regularly.”
She said she hopes other communities will follow the local CMHA branch lead in opening centres like the one that will be located on Prince Street.
Local businesswoman Stephanie Barkley will also speak at this year’s gathering, talking about mental health and addiction.
The Women and Wellness event
For women only
Date: Jan 25
Time: Doors open 6:15 p.m. and speakers are on stage at 7 p.m.
Location: Cobequid Educational Centre, audio-visual room
Cost: Free, but Scotiabank will be on hand to accept donations for the CMHA
Entry: Invitations/tickets are needed for entry – available through the CMHA. Call: 902-895-4211
What else will be there: Chocolate, hors d’oeuvres, door prizes