Single mother who suffered post-natal depression starts campaign to empower women
PUBLISHED: 13:01 03 October 2019 | UPDATED: 14:54 03 October 2019
Emily Thomson (staff)
A single mother has started a campaign to empower women after she suffered from post-natal depression.
Michelle Jermy, a single mum-of-two, from Brandon Road, Thetford, has spent her life helping other people through her work as a yoga and pilates instructor, specialising in adaptive exercise and rehabilitation, as well as being a counsellor working closely with women to build their confidence.
But it was not until Ms Jermy fell pregnant with her second child as a single mum and feared for the future of her business, that she would come to understand just how debilitating a mental health disorder could be.
Knowing she could not look after a newborn baby and her 14-year-old son, as well supporting her family through running her Charles Burrell Centre-based business Core Studio, Ms Jermy said that was when the fear and anxiety started to set in.
"When I fell pregnant I knew I couldn't work full-time and be a single mum. I worried about money and how I could support my family and I just spiralled," said Ms Jermy.
"When Juno was born in 2017 the uncertainty, loneliness and sleeplessness led to depression. I returned to work two days after giving birth. I tried to push on and when Juno was five months old I passed out through sheer exhaustion.
"I put on a brave face but deep inside I didn't want to be here anymore. I couldn't see a way out."
But it was through the support of a close friend, who had reached out to Ms Jermy in her time of need, that she was able to heal and slowly started to feel herself again.
And when Claire Sparrow, who has multiple sclerosis (MS), said she had also hit rock bottom and needed help, Ms Jermy was inspired to start a campaign.
'SeeMe', founded by Ms Jermy and based at her business 'The Wellness Clinic' at the Charles Burrell Centre, was set up with the help from Mel Mockett and Claire Sparrow and is a campaign to support women living with disabilities - physical, mental or quiet.
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Ms Jermy said: "We have been trying to raise awareness and have been doing monthly meetings with women in different locations around Thetford.
"It's about lifting women up, empowerment, positivity, and nurturing each other, a place where you don't feel judged.
"We work with all women, including 'quiet disabilities' which means anything affecting a women's self-worth or well-being, whether that is a break-up, an abusive relationship or bad PMS. We are here for you."
The 'SeeMe' campaign is set to hold its first event to raise awareness and to encourage more women to get involved.
The 'Woman's Wellness Event' will be held from midday to 3pm Sunday, October 13, at the Charles Burrell Centre in the main hall.
So far they have 20 stalls, where women will be given the chance to talk to therapists, counsellors, crystal-healers and beauty therapists.
There will also be guest speakers on the day who will be delivering talks on managing pain alternatively, managing anxiety, adaptive exercise, releasing negative thoughts and keeping a journal for mental health.
Michelle Jermy, founder of the campaign, said: "This event is to raise awareness but we also hope to work with different therapists to offer different things to women who join our campaign.
"We have monthly meetings but our next step forward is to build working partnerships and to grow our 'SeeMe' team,"