‘I gave her life and she saved mine’

When Lisa Shannon couldn’t cope with her melancholy any for a longer period she decided to consider her possess existence but was stopped by daughter Ellie. They reveal how that dark day brought them closer

Lisa with Ellie on her graduation day

Lisa’s Story : Lisa Shannon, 50, is a therapist and life in the Wirral with her spouse Nick, 53, and daughters Ellie, 25, and Evie, 18

Opening my bedside desk drawer, I searched for the bag of antidepressants and painkillers I’d been secretly stockpiling. That bag was my escape program, but it was absent.

When Ellie afterwards instructed me she’d uncovered it and flushed the tablets absent, I was furious. So lost in my depression, I didn’t quit for even a instant to think about her what it should be like to know your mother needs to die.

Three many years on from that working day, I even now have so a great deal guilt, but also indescribable gratitude. It is mainly because of Ellie that I’m below right now.

My final decision to close my daily life in the summer months of 2018 was the fruits of many years of dwelling with depression. It was a continuous presence in my lifetime. Sometimes it lurked in the background, at other occasions it wreaked havoc.

Lisa and Ellie in 1999: despite the difficult times, Ellie remembers cuddles with her mum

Lisa and Ellie in 1999: despite the tricky situations, Ellie remembers cuddles with her mum

I have been estranged from my mom for most of my grownup daily life. She was emotionally unavailable and I grew up by no means sensation good adequate for her. She’d inform me how ‘lucky’ I was simply because we experienced a awesome home and content possessions, but I envied good friends whose mothers showed them adore.

For so very long I considered there was a little something inherently wrong with me. Right after remedy I came to comprehend how I was broken by that dysfunctional marriage and that my psychological wellbeing troubles ‒ which included a constant craving for validation as perfectly as reduced self-esteem ‒ all stemmed from it.

I gave beginning to Ellie when I was 24, and I was terrified of motherhood. I’d browse all the guides, I understood how to treatment for her basically, but I did not know how to ‘be’ a fantastic mother. I was terrified I’d destruction her emotionally in the way I had been.

Devoid of a optimistic maternal job design of my personal I felt completely out of my depth, and when Ellie was nine months aged, I handed her around to a childminder and returned to operate as a fraud investigator, firmly believing that her carer, who was so warm and natural with her, could give her what I couldn’t. 

My second daughter Evie was born seven years later on, but I continue to had minor self confidence in myself as a mum. When it came to anything difficult in motherhood, I felt I wasn’t very good more than enough. I never ever bought garments in the future dimensions up for the women right up until they completely required them ‒ I was scared they’d die simply because I hadn’t taken care of them thoroughly. It was emotionally exhausting dwelling that way and robbed me of so substantially of the joy I know other mums feel all through those early several years.

Sisters Evie and Ellie, 2005

Sisters Evie and Ellie, 2005

 After Evie was born, I went again to university to review legislation, heading on to qualify as a barrister. Finding out and instruction with two younger little ones was gruelling but I was persuaded this would make me an individual I was at last happy of.

A person of the approaches my psychological health and fitness troubles manifested was a continuous craving for perfection and approval. Our household was generally spotless. I don’t forget Ellie not wanting friends to play with her toys in situation it built a mess. We can giggle now about my ‘show’ tea towels, but she grew up believing it was ordinary to live like that.

I have massive regrets about the behaviour Ellie witnessed expanding up. I was trapped in a cycle of trying to silence the demons in my brain by constantly striving to be in management at household, and pushing myself to be the very best at function ‒ then burning out and crashing.

I would acquire to my mattress for days at a time, weeping inconsolably, or project my anger with myself on to the girls and my partner, placing my marriage under pressure, much too.

For far more than 20 yrs I experimented with many moments to ‘fix’ myself with everything from counselling and cognitive behavioural treatment to antidepressants and reiki. Absolutely nothing labored.

I even qualified as a counsellor in the belief that I could locate some thing that had been missed, one thing that would recover me. 

Even when there were being durations in which I felt much less troubled, that acquainted darkness would sooner or later return and in 2015 I began to plummet into the darkest time period of my lifestyle.

Ellie left house to go to university and, as a great deal as I was satisfied for her to be spreading her wings, I was truly hit by how much I’d come to count on her. She helped floor me, and gave me love and approval. Without the need of her, I felt bereft. Mentally, I was fatigued from decades of melancholy, carrying the weight of stress and anxiety and unhappiness forever flagellating myself for not being adequate.

That 12 months I took an overdose at residence but Nick and Evie uncovered me. I manufactured myself sick and refused to go to healthcare facility. I insisted Ellie was not advised and the up coming morning even flew to Geneva for a operate assembly.

I carried on step by step unravelling from that reduced position, and by the summer of 2018 was suicidal once more. I felt incredibly relaxed about it and genuinely did not feel Ellie and Evie’s lives would be poorer with no me. I believed it would be improved for them, and it by no means crossed my brain they’d skip me. After all, I’d in no way been the mom they deserved –or so my melancholy instructed me.

Early that summer time I stood on a bridge, scheduling to leap off, but a ‘good samaritan’ noticed me and certain me to climb down. I drove home and explained practically nothing to Nick and the girls. A several weeks later on I tried out yet again, ready on a nearby railway platform only for the teach I’d prepared to toss myself in front of to be cancelled. If at any time I essential affirmation of how ineffective I was… I was not even capable to kill myself.

That was when I started stashing absent tablets, decided that this would be my remaining, and profitable, try. I was so offended when Ellie observed them ‒ I did not comprehend why she would not allow me eventually be at peace.

Nick, Ellie and Evie begged me to find assist again and reluctantly I commenced a new remedy called immediate transformational therapy (RTT). It brings together features of neuro-linguistic programming, cognitive behavioural therapy and hypnotherapy ‒ and, to my amazement, it was efficient. It dealt with the root triggers of my despair and introduced me from blaming myself for getting broken. So existence-changing – and lifesaving – was it, I decided to retrain as an RTT therapist myself, and now operate my own exercise.

I want I could switch back again time and be a various mom, but I can’t. All I can do is be a improved a single, and I’m a great deal far more supportive and approachable now that I’m not wrapped up in my possess struggles.

I owe Ellie so a great deal. It feels fantastic to just be a mom and daughter ‒ and ideal close friends ‒ devoid of the spectre of mental disease. I may perhaps have provided her daily life, but she saved mine and I will never fail to remember that.

Ellie’s Story: Ellie Shannon, 25, is a trainer

A happier family: Lisa with Evie, husband Nick and Ellie, Christmas 2020

A happier household: Lisa with Evie, partner Nick and Ellie, Xmas 2020

Flushing absent individuals tablets, a single query went spherical and round in my head. Why? Was I not plenty of for Mum to want to live?

I’d put in several years attempting to be sure to her, make her smile, ‘fix’ her, extended in advance of I realised how damaged she was ‒ but it hadn’t been sufficient. She wished to depart me and I felt unfortunate, puzzled and as if I’d unsuccessful her in some way.

Considering that that dark day in 2018, each my sister and I have experienced treatment and it’s aided us comprehend that Mum was so blinded by despair, she believed demise was greater than carrying on her lifetime with us. I know now there is nothing at all I could have finished in another way, and just sense relieved I was ready to end her.

When Mum and I chat about my childhood, our recollections usually vary. At the forefront of her recollections are the tough instances. The days she would cry in bed, her frantic cleaning of our by now spotless household and, of training course, her suicide tries.

I test to reassure her that, sure, I recall all those periods, far too, but I also recall her cuddles at bedtime when I was very little, spouse and children holidays, and her delight in all my achievements at faculty and then college. She was a a lot greater mum than she thinks she was despair has clouded her perceptions of herself for the duration of those decades.

Some thing we share is a understanding that we’ve each been formed by our moms. Escalating up with a parent with chronic depression has manufactured me a men and women-pleaser, and I can absence self confidence due to decades of trying but not succeeding to make her ‘better’. I really don’t dwell on who I may be were it not for her melancholy. What would be the stage? Neither of us can change the past.


Viewing Mum recuperate in excess of the previous three decades, sensation so constructive about lifetime all over again, my reduction is indescribable. At the again of my head I have a fear she may possibly plummet to that dark position yet again but she reassures me how unique her state of intellect is and I hope, as time passes, that I can have finish religion she is safe and sound.

The effects of Mum’s despair on our loved ones has been, possibly shockingly, a optimistic one. We are extremely open up about our thoughts with 1 a further we have grow to be a aid community, which has been far more critical than ever throughout the pandemic.

I have a model of Mum in my life I have never had in advance of, and our bond is powerful. Mum has regrets but I remind her that in spite of reaching these kinds of a very low issue, she did not give up. She tried out to fight her demons, recover herself – and she succeeded.

  •  lisashannon.co.uk
  • If you are owning a complicated time or are nervous about somebody else, contact Samaritans totally free on 116 123


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