The Mama Files {Louisa from The Eco Mum}

This week’s Mama Files is brought to you by the lovely Louisa from The Eco Mum. Louisa’s story is both familiar and very inspiring and I’m really happy she chose to share it with us. Thank you Louisa! xx

How My Lifelong Battle With Mental Illness Shapes Me as A Parent
My journey as The Eco Mum began shortly after finding out that I was pleasantly,  unexpectedly expecting. Our daughter was born a few months after I started blogging about health, toxins and finding ways to live simply, cleanly and more greenly.
I was terrified for my unborn child. I remembered all the struggles I had been through and every night, memories of my breakdowns and medication cocktails came flooding back. I had to do everything possible to ensure that my daughter would not suffer so much, as I had. I would not wish my journey on my worst enemy.

For the last 2 years, I have been going through quite the transformation and one which I hope will have a very positive impact on my now 2 year old little girl.

My teenage years were spent heavily drugged. I was placed onto strong anti-depressant medication at the age of 15, after being mis-prescribed the incorrect contraceptive pill. The pill I was given completely upset my somewhat delicate hormonal balance and for years afterwards I was to feel the devastating effects.

High school for me is a blur. There are fuzzy memories and black holes of nothing because of the medication I was on. There are scars on my body from unsuccessful suicide attempts and there is much sadness in my memory.

Occasionally I remember standing on a bridge, high above a highway, ready to jump off only to be intercepted by a concerned friend; or once standing over a blowhole ready to leap in, to be pulled back by a stranger at the last minute. Many times my life was saved even when I didn’t want it to be. I never wanted to die. I was just in total psychic and emotional agony and I wanted the pain to end.

Instead of the pain ending, it increased – every time my medication dosage was increased, the agony in me grew. The medication was never changed, was never checked, it was never confirmed safe for young teens. Turns out it was deadly – for many.

By the time I was 18 years of age, I was taking up to 6 anti-depressants per day. I later went onto discover that the medication I had been given was responsible for 1 in 4 teenage suicides. It has since been confirmed that this drug is very dangerous for children and teenagers and should never have been prescribed.

My life, it seemed, had become one of misdiagnoses and poor medical management.

Over time I managed to wean myself off the huge amounts of anti-depressants I was taking and have learnt, sometimes through bitter experience, how to manage a somewhat hereditary susceptibility towards mental illness, myself.

I learnt to listen to my body, to my intuition and to question EVERYTHING. I am acutely aware of my internal stress levels and what causes them to rise and fall. I have rituals to ground myself – every day. I take time out and ‘take to my bed’ regardless of what or who might need my assistance. I have learnt that the world will be fine without me if I need to take a “time out” every now and again.

I have found myself wondering what life would be like if I never spoke up, never questioned my diagnoses and never tried seeking alternatives. What if my intuition DIDN’T scream out to me that something wasn’t right in how I was being treated? Would I even be here today? There were many times when it came close, too close.

Because of this long and difficult experience, which spanned my entire teenage life right up into my twenties, I made a decision. Whilst I believe everything in the world has its place, I also believe that knowledge is power and one must arm oneself.

I decided I would empower myself with as much knowledge and know-how around my family’s health as was humanly possible. I would research everything, I would read, I would question, I would interview experts, I would study, I would go back to Uni… in short I would do EVERYTHING possible to ensure that I was the expert on my family’s health and that I would never be forced to give that power away to anyone, ever.

I knew, through my own experience, that no one can know your body like you. No one can decipher your symptoms as well as you can – if you take the time to learn and question.

There have been many, many nights where I am awake until all hours reading clinical studies, medical papers, books and interviews with medical and alternative medicine experts. I devour books on herbs, Chinese medicine, acupuncture, massage… the list is endless. I am also enrolled and studying an Advanced Diploma in Naturopathy (whilst running several businesses too!) so that I can ensure the best level of care and health management for my family.

As I look at my beautiful, champagne blond, seraphim-like little girl, I try to imagine how she would look, feel and act as a teenager. My heart aches with the realisation that because there is hereditary health conditions on both sides of my immediate family, that she too will have to learn how to manage herself or she may have similar struggles.

My legacy to my children will be to show them that through proper care and management in the very beginning, that through achieving and maintaining OPTIMAL health (not just avoidance of being sick) and that through diet and lifestyle they can avoid a struggle like mine and stop it from ever happening to them.

If I can achieve that with the help and co-operation of my family, then I will know I have left a powerful legacy to be proud of.

This is why I do what I do and why The Eco Mum community is so important to me and to others. Please, come and join us on this journey!


Louisa Forrest

The Eco Mum – Founder


Louisa founded The Eco Mum online community in 2011 shortly before the arrival of her daughter. After a long struggle with mental illness and considerable health issues, Louisa has gone on to revolutionise her lifestyle and is helping many others do the same.  Louisa has written a book and created a phone app full of home remedies, meditations for busy mums and access to recipes – all free – so that families can become empowered around their own health and lives once again. 

If you would like to be a guest poster for The Mama Files, please shoot me an email at buffybrassil{at}hotmail{dot}com.


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