1. Sue Bakker

    I’m Jems mum, Hope it’s okay for me to post a little something about this. It’s so heart breaking to see someone you love go through depression. It’s such a hopeless feeling and as a parent I automatically thought I did something wrong in raising my girl. You question a lot. What DID I do wrong? Why didn’t I see it coming? Have I been such a terrible Mum?
    The fact is Jem was good at hiding things. I couldn’t see it coming. Moods I put down to ‘normal teenage’ stuff. Inside of her was this giant of a thing that I had no idea of being there!
    I remember when we bought her home from the maternity home. She was asleep in a cocoon and I placed her on to the kitchen floor and I said to myself, “What do I do with you now baby girl.” (I was frightened to lose the security and help of the maternity home). I didn’t know what to do first.
    Then, when I saw Jem in hospital after her suicide attempt, she was curled up like a cocoon. I was brought back to that same helpless feeling I had the day after having her. Once again I said to myself, “What do I do with you now baby girl.”
    The fact is I can’t do anything, not really. I’m just so grateful that somehow or other – probably a cocktail of things – Jem’s own inner strength that decided eventually she would rise above this horrible giant, a lot of prayers from me and my friends, cognitive therapy etc all had a part to play.
    Out of bad things will always come good things. Out of this Jem has rediscovered herself and she’s grown to be a much stronger person. She is better at saying how she feels. She has passion and dreams now. We have grown together. I understand her a lot better. I understand depression a lot better. I am glad it is now talked about and hasn’t that terrible stigma that surrounded it at the time my mother lay on the kitchen floor unable to cope anymore. I was one of the kids taken to be looked after by someone else for a while. Thank God for people who pick up pieces of people’s lives and rally around them. If you see anyone ‘in a heap on a kitchen floor’ (in depression) please help them get help and tell them they are not alone.

    • Hi Sue,

      I’m so glad you chose to share your perspective on your daughter’s story, and I want to iterate to you how brave Jem is and how lucky I feel to be a platform for her message of hope. You raised her well in the face of adversity (part of that cocktail of things you mentioned) and your message is just as beautiful and important. We do need people to rally around us, and we do need to be sure that we ARE that person whenever we can be. Thank you for adding depth to Jem’s message.


  2. This was so touching, and to read Jem’s mother’s comment brought tears to my eyes. You ladies are so strong. I also struggle with depression. It took a lot of therapy, rehab, and medication to get through it. While I still have my “dark days”, they are so much less frequent. I’m so glad you found what worked for you, Jem. No one deserves to feel that empty, bottomless pit of depression. *hugs*

  3. You are so strong to write about your experience. I have struggled with depression a few different times and it is such a struggle. Thank you for sharing and writing this post it gives many people hope to know that they can overcome.

    • Hi Katie, thanks so much for your comment and for disclosing that you’ve struggled with similar issues! We need people to share their experiences to lessen that stigma Jem mentioned!

  4. I applaud you for being so open and honest about your experience! You have no idea how much your words can help other people and make them realize that they aren’t alone!

  5. I think it is wonderful that you have shared your experience. There is no shame in being overwhelmed, stressed and depressed. It has happened to us all at one time or another. As mom’s we don’t expect to have this happen to our children and I would have thought the same as you, Jem’s mum, that it was just a teenage faze. You both are very strong women.

    • Hi Suzanne! I’m glad you brought up how hard it is to recognize dangerous behavior in teenagers. It’s notoriously difficult even for therapists to treat teenagers because of exactly what you said– is it a phase, or something more serious? Luckily we have suicide screenings at our disposal that most parents wouldn’t have, but it can really be a toss-up sometimes!

  6. Thank you so much fot sharing your experiences! Talking about mental health is so important – it’s so common to experience varying degrees of depression and anxiety and knowing you aren’t alone helps so much! ♡

  7. I think this is a great series for you to do and I think it will help a lot of people. Families not knowing what is going on unfortunately is more common than we realize. This is a great to show families what to look for. To Jem, you are more powerful than you realize. Getting the help you needed and quitting those pills cold turkey is a huge accomplishment. I wish you all the best. <3

    • Thanks Amanda! You’re right, families not knowing there’s a problem is super common. It’s such a shame because family support is such a huuuuge part of getting better! Jem’s story is a great example of that.

  8. Really great post. Thanks for raising awareness about depression. A lot of this resonated with me because I’ve also suffered from depression for many years. I’m so glad Jem survived and has found a way to manage.

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