‘I was pregnant. I was only 21. I started bleeding. ‘Maybe it’s for the best,’ one family member said. This was supposed to be the happiest time of my life. Instead, it was a nightmare.’

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“I was screaming at everyone, ‘WHY AM I HERE? I DON’T UNDERSTAND. WHAT IS THE POINT.’

In 2017 I got diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety. Sadly I’d been struggling for a long time before this. Most people would describe me as the life of the party, but behind closed doors I struggled to even get out of bed. That’s when people started questioning me, because they did not see that side of me. People just did not believe me.

Courtesy of Zoe Meade

From a young age I struggled with self-confidence, I never thought I was enough. I grew up with parents who loved me and would constantly tell me I was amazing, but I never saw them truly love themselves, so I couldn’t possibly think I was great if my own two parents didn’t think they were great. At the age of 18, my fairy-tale childhood burst as I suddenly had to become my parents’ relationship counselor. I wanted to help as much as I could, but I didn’t realize that slowly this stress was eating away at me – it made me start to question what kind of person I was, and that’s when I started to feel anxious. There were days I couldn’t go into work. Over time, I just learned to accept this anxiety and believed this was who I was now.

Courtesy of Zoe Meade

A few years later I met my partner Josh and things in my head settled down for a moment.  I was happy to have Josh in my life but as time went on, I felt like there was still something missing. That’s when my dad introduced me to property investing. I started reading books and learning more and more about entrepreneurs which got me excited! I was going to make an impact and help change the world like Oprah, Richard Branson and Tony Robbins. My dad and I were fired up so much so that we signed up for a 12-month property program which started mid-October 2015. However, throughout October I had been feeling pretty up and down in my body. A week after the first property session, I found out I was pregnant, I was only 21.

I was confused and anxious, I’d always wanted to be a mom, I just wasn’t expecting it right then. But before I even had a moment to say how I felt, Josh, my family, Josh’s family and some Friends were shoving their opinions in my face. The majority of them wanted me to get an abortion. (I can’t even kill a fly, let alone my own baby) – To top it off, I had medical issues. It took weeks of waiting and worrying to finally be told I had a Bicornuate Uterus. I had no idea what this meant. One doctor told me I was most likely going to miscarry and never be able to have children. As you can imagine, all of this drama drove me insane. Deep down I knew I wanted this baby, but I felt completely alone. I remember seeing babies on TV and crying my eyes out. This was supposed to be the happiest time of my life and instead, it was turning into a nightmare.

I finally had a moment alone with my dad. I sat him down and told him how I felt, we both cried and he said, ‘I will stand by you no matter what.’ A week later I started bleeding, I thought I was miscarrying and that’s when one family member turned around and said to me, ‘maybe it’s for the best.’ The next day I luckily stopped bleeding but I remember sitting on the sofa for the entire day because I thought if I moved I might bleed again and lose the baby. That’s when Josh decided not to show up. He had gone to football that day and promised to come over afterwards but one of his family members suggested he shouldn’t come and see me, so he didn’t. That was the moment I decided I didn’t need anyone. I was going to do this on my own if I had too.

LUCKILY Josh felt absolutely awful after this incident and together we decided to fight for our relationship and have this baby! When Josh and I finally came out and told everyone we were keeping the baby, some family members were still not happy. One person said to me, ‘Zoe if you have an abortion that’s just on you, but if you have this baby, that’s on all of us.’ Throughout the pregnancy every single amazing moment was ruined. We wanted to announce our pregnancy but family got upset as they wanted to tell people first. We had a gender reveal party but one person locked themselves in the bathroom all night as they wanted the first grandchild. I was even ignored over Christmas by one family member because I was pregnant. This put a lot of tension on Josh and me. Most days we were either crying or arguing about what others had done to us.

On the 27th of June 2016 I gave birth to our beautiful baby girl Isabella. As soon as she was born, all of those people who were SO NEGATIVE about me having this baby were suddenly all over me. One of them even announced the birth of Isabella before Josh and I. This completely threw me off. I just didn’t understand. SO many things had been said and done but as soon as Isabella was born everyone acted like nothing happened. I practically grieved at the beginning of my pregnancy thinking I was going to have to get rid of my baby to please everyone else. My entire pregnancy was made about everyone else but me and for most of it I had anxiety and the beginnings of depression, but I’m supposed to just move on!? At this point I was angry. I was so angry that I started taking it out on Josh. Josh didn’t deal with the family very well at all, in fact he allowed people to treat us like crap over and over and over again. From June 2016, depression became me. We were meant to be living in a flat as a family but most of the time we were back at my parent’s, we still had to pay rent even though we weren’t living there so as you can imagine Josh and I argued about this daily. He just couldn’t understand who I was anymore. I was so angry, I was so hurt, I felt absolutely betrayed by so many people and I just could not bring myself to ‘forgive and forget.’ Day in day out this negative voice in my head would crop up reminding me of how people treated me but also would tell me I most likely deserved it. That same voice was the one who always told me I was never enough.

Courtesy of Zoe Meade

Along with trying to cope with all the pain I experienced while pregnant, and getting used to being a mom, I was also still trying to build this property business with my dad. Money had always been tight for Josh and I, especially now that we had a little baby to look after so I was really feeling the pressure to build this business and earn some money. But the more I tried the more I failed, and it got to the point where I had no energy, I felt like I had let everyone down. I had lost myself, I wasn’t taking care of myself.

In March 2017 I found a lump in my armpit. My mom took me to the doctor and it turned out I had an infection in my armpit. I was given anti-biotics but a few days later things started to get worse, I physically couldn’t get out of bed. A week later I went into get a blood test as I was sure something major was wrong, and that’s when a nurse who knew me personally started talking to me openly about depression. At that point, depression hadn’t even crossed my mind, but I decided to do the test with her. After I answered all of the questions she told me I was severely depressed. Straight away I then got put on antidepressants and was told to call a therapist’s number to talk about everything so they could help me cope. I didn’t understand depression or antidepressants or even therapy, most people I spoke to told me I will have this for the rest of my life (didn’t give me much hope).

I practically moved back in with my parents that same day after getting this news and truth be told, I now had a reason to stay in bed all day while everyone else had to look after Isabella. I didn’t care about taking care of myself, I wore the same baggy clothes and there were days where I did not shower or even brush my teeth. I removed myself from social media and didn’t reach out to anyone. I honestly felt completely alone. Josh and my parents didn’t get it. Josh would try and force me out of bed and we would just end up arguing as I didn’t want to leave. I remember one time when he was trying to take us back to our flat to stay there again, I burst into tears and started having a panic attack as I did not want to leave my parents’ house.

Courtesy of Zoe Meade

On the 15th of August 2017 things took a turn for the worst. Josh had just gotten back from his annual golf weekend and once again I spent most of my weekend in the hospital with my parents as I had excruciating stomach pains so needed to get them checked out. The doctor who examined me had to do a test where he said there was definitely something swollen but he wasn’t quite sure what. He ended up sending me home to rest up so, as always, Isabella and I were back at my parent’s house. When Josh returned back, the weather was incredible. He suggested we go for a walk but when I told him to just take Isabella, he couldn’t understand why – and that’s when I lost it. We both ended up having the most horrific fight to the point where Josh told me he had enough of me and that Isabella couldn’t be around me anymore. At that point he grabbed Izzy and stormed off to his car to drive to his parent’s house. I was screaming at everyone, ‘WHY AM I HERE? I DON’T UNDERSTAND. WHAT IS THE POINT.’ My dad ran up the stairs and had a go at me, telling me I was outrageous and behaving like his ex-wife. He said the same things Josh did, then left he left because he had to take a call.

I just didn’t want this anymore. I got tablets out of my drawer and took them. Suddenly it was as if I woke up from this nightmare – WHAT HAVE I DONE!? I screamed and my mom raced up the stairs as I felt a bit funny and she was in pieces, she couldn’t believe it. She phoned Josh crying and telling him to get here quick. My dad was also a mess, and straight away tried to get in contact with our friend who was a nurse. It turned out I WAS SO LUCKY because what I had taken wasn’t a high enough dose to do any damage – I was still here and alive BUT something had to change.

Later that same day my dad spoke to a man named Richard who we had met on our property course along with his partner Liz – my Dad had a feeling they could help me. A month later I was on their 5-day course which completely saved my life. On the third day I came off my anti-depressants and told them I don’t want to die anymore – I have NEVER looked back. My life changed so much that I wanted to help others overcome the things I had experienced, so I went back to Richard and Liz to learn how to teach their course. FAST FORWARD to May 2019, Josh and I are getting ready to launch our own community/tribe to not only help people overcome depression and anxiety, but to also help people completely ignore that negative voice we all have in our heads, the one which tells us we are not ENOUGH.

Courtesy of Zoe Meade

If my story resonates with you and you’re currently feeling the way I felt, please reach out to me. None of us need mechanisms to cope, we need solutions so we can overcome this dark hurdle and truly LIVE. I want to spread awareness and let people know you CAN overcome depression/anxiety/suicidal experiences. None of this stuff needs to define you. I changed the way I looked at things. I chose to OVERCOME my obstacles, not just cope – THIS IS KEY. It’s really important that people know there is a light at the end of the tunnel. HOWEVER, you have to WANT to change. You have to WANT to overcome this – it’s not easy, but it’s SO worth it.”

Courtesy of Zoe Meade
Courtesy of Zoe Meade

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Zoe Meade of England. You can follow her journey on Instagram. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.

Read more inspiring stories from young moms:

‘My child’s father was leaving me. I was a new mother to a 3-month-old baby girl. The only items I had were a bag of clothes and a computer. She didn’t deserve any of this.’

‘Hours shy of our wedding, at 5 months pregnant, I was assaulted. My fiancé sat in the fetal position, berating himself. ‘I don’t know what is wrong with me,’ he said, begging me to forgive him.’

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