Louise Thompson shares mental health story on video: ‘Most cruel, invisible disease'
Made in Chelsea star Louise Thompson has opened up for the first time on camera about her "really bad physical and mental health problems" over the past few months.
The 32-year-old shares what her body has been through and the stress of being in hospital, before adding, "but more than that, the mental side of stuff is actually 10 times worse than the physical because it feels so much harder to control".
This follows her returning from hospital again after having some severe colon problems and being "a couple days away from having part of my colon removed".
Compelled to talk about her experience with the hope of helping others, she tells her 1.4 million Instagram followers in a video that despite her "looking incredibly well put together, happy, fit well... I'm really not".
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"Mental health is the most cruel invisible disease ever but I want you to know that if you're suffering you're not alone, and there are things that you can do to make yourself feel better so please don't give up," she says, after welling up with emotion.
She references the messages she has received from men whose partners suffered from bad perimental health (during pregnancy or in the first year following the birth of a child) and weren't able to find support.
"I cannot allow other people to go through that experience," she says, while still in the process of healing herself.
Thompson was diagnosed with Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – an anxiety disorder caused by very stressful, frightening or distressing events – after suffering complications while giving birth to her son Leo-Hunter in November, whom she shares with her partner Ryan Libbey.
She has also since disclosed that Leo-Hunter was treated in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and she had been treated in the adult ICU after birth, with her paying tribute on Christmas Day to the NHS staff "who worked through the night to save my life".
"I have had the most crazy year that you would never predict," she adds in her new video. "You never think these things are going to happen to you, I had everything, it all has been completely ripped away form me."
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Thompson acknowledges that she's fortunate to have had plenty of support, including from her partner, her family living close by, financially and the crisis team checking on her every day and telling her she "will get better".
"And sometimes that pure reassurance, even though you don't believe it at the time is what you need, you need it drilled into your head," she explains.
Thompson has previously opened up about how much Libbey has done for her and their son while she's been struggling, with him also sharing the toll events have taken on him.
"I had no idea that things could get so bad," she adds.
Thompson says there was a time when she wished an airplane would crash into her house and her "brain was so warped" she couldn't think about "anything other than death", feeling scared of everything.
"I was not alive, I couldn't have a normal thought. My brain basically shut down as a result of nearly dying twice."
She explains that when something really traumatic happens to you your brain can't process it properly, so your memories get stuck and it means "you live in fear".
"Luckily I'm not in that state anymore, I have come really far and I haven't really looked back at all, but now I'm doing this video it does force me to look back a bit."
Thompson has been posting more updates on her social media, with Libbey and their son, saying of Leo-Hunter, "Our love had built slowly but I do love you more and more as each day passes".
Saying strong in the video, Thompson says, "I want to give you guys some hope, not just to see me as a blubbering mess" or to "think it doesn't get any easier".
"Because it does," she adds, "things change, everything in life is transient, seasons pass, life can get better again, you will find joy, you will find happiness".
She says this might include taking medication, which has really helped her, before also encouraging her followers to share how they are feeling with others. "Even talking candidly about this now is helping me, it gives me something to focus on. Please don't feel alone."
"I wish there was an easier way, there is no magic way, this disease will teach you a great deal of patience," before smiling wryly, "I never had any patience..."
"But things do get better, so you have to keep going, you have to.
"Please choose life and get help"
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Symptoms of PTSD
Someone with PTSD often relives the traumatic event through nightmares and flashbacks, and may experience feelings of isolation, irritability and guilt, the NHS website explains.
They may also have problems sleeping, like insomnia, and find concentrating difficult.
"These symptoms are often severe and persistent enough to have a significant impact on the person's day-to-day life," the health service outlines.
Causes of PTSD
The condition can be triggered by any traumatic situation, including:
serious road accidents
violent personal assaults, such as sexual assault, mugging or robbery
serious health problems
It can develop immediately after someone experiences a traumatic event, or it could be weeks, months or even years later.
It is thought to affect about one in every three people who have a disturbing experience, but it's less known why some people develop the condition and others don't.
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While PTSD is a challenging experience for anyone to go through, the good news is that it can be successfully treated, even when it develops years later, according to the NHS.
Treatment depends on how severe your symptoms are and how quickly or delayed they are following the triggering event.
These could be recommended:
watchful waiting – monitoring your symptoms to see whether they improve or get worse without treatment
antidepressants – such as paroxetine or sertraline
psychological therapies – such as trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR)
You can refer yourself directly to a psychological therapies service.
When to seek help
While it can be normal to experience upsetting and confusing thoughts after a traumatic event, the health service says most people naturally improve over a few weeks.
But if you are still having problems after about four weeks, or if the symptoms are particularly hard to deal with, you should see your GP.
Your GP can then refer you to mental health specialists for further assessment and treatment.
For more information on PTSD, including complex PTSD, see the NHS website.
If you or anyone you know is in immediate danger, call 999, for urgent psychological support or someone to speak to call the Samaritans on 116 123 or text CONTACT to 85258 for trained volunteers at Shout.
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