Everything’s coming up roses at last for Adele
Published on: 31 Mar 2014
ADELE Brown had it all. A devoted partner, two beautiful daughters and a high flying career as a maths lecturer.
But, following the birth of her third child nearly three years ago, Adele’s world came crumbling down. Betsy Bluebell suffered from shoulder dystocia leading to a complicated and traumatic delivery.
“Her head came out and then her shoulders became stuck so panic buttons were pressed and the hospital team rushed in,” Adele, 43, explained.
“After 10 minutes Betsy Bluebell was fine but I remember thinking I was dying. I was shaking and freezing and I really thought my body was packing up. The nurse told me I was ok, I was just in shock.”
After a few days, Adele and Betsy Bluebell returned to their home in Downend with partner of eight years Gary, 50, and daughters Daisy, nine, and Kitty Rose, six.
But instead of enjoying her new baby, Adele became fixated on dying.
“I remember asking a neighbour to check on us if she saw the curtains weren’t drawn. I thought I was going to die.”
Describing herself as “one of life’s copers”, Adele carried on and gradually the preoccupation with dying wore off. But problems came to the fore when a family holiday took Betsy Bluebell away from her routine and she stopped sleeping.
“She was waking more frequently through the night and I was breast feeding her because I knew that would be the quickest way to get her to go back to sleep. My mum said I needed to let her cry but I didn’t feel strong enough. The overwhelming urge to sleep was overriding everything else.”
At one stage, Adele felt so ill, she called off her engagement to Gary, saying they weren’t right for each other. It was completely out of character.
Two of her friends who had suffered themselves from post-natal depression recognised the signs of the illness and urged her to see her GP.
Adele brushed off the comments saying she was fine but two weeks later the devastating illness took complete hold.
“It was like I’d fallen off a cliff. I went from the odd low day to me just sitting there crying.”
Adele took the courage to phone the Willows Surgery in Hill House Road. It was to be the first step in Adele’s road to recovery.
“They were fantastic,” she said. “The doctor was brilliant and organised a visit from a health visitor who spent a lot of time chatting things through with me.”
After a week or so of close monitoring, her GP made the decision to prescribe anti-depressants.
“It was remarkable,” Adele said.
“I immediately had a lift to the point I thought I’d be better in a month.”
After a few weeks Adele’s old feelings for Gary returned and she arranged their wedding in just three weeks!
“I had a great day but went down again. We had some major events including a family bereavement and a burst pipe which flooded the family home so every time I started to feel well, there was a major stress and it put me back.”
Adele made the decision not to return to work as she needed to spend all her effort getting better, this included a three-day training programme called the Lightning Process, a controversial hormonal rebalancing course which had helped a friend who suffered with ME.
“It was the turning point for me but I must stress I needed the anti-depressants as well because of the stage I’d reached with my illness.
“At midpoint through those three days, I remember taking a break and realising I actually felt happy inside.”
Although far from over her depression, Adele felt there was a void in her life but she knew the stresses of a high-powered job would not be conducive to regaining full health.
She met a mum at her daughters’ school who ran her own floristry business from home and offered to lend her a hand as she had always adored flowers.
“When I was working alongside her I became mentally consumed by the flowers and what I was doing,” she said.
“I felt completely at peace. There was no stress; I just felt happy. I discovered I had passion and a natural talent.”
Adele enrolled on a professional floristry course in London and straightaway received distinctions for her work.
“Flowers were therapeutic,” she said.
“I wasn’t thinking about anything else all the time I was working with the flowers. I suppose it gave my body and mind some respite.”
Adele found she was drawn to old-fashioned flowers like roses and hydrangeas and liked the vintage effect she could create by putting certain flowers together. They didn’t look right in modern containers so Adele placed them in old painted tin cans for a retro look. She had hit upon her unique selling point and decided to launch her own business. Tin Can Floral was born.
“I love the muted tones of vintage flowers and love beautifying them with ribbons and lace.
“I don’t find it stressful – I did the flowers for my sister’s wedding with nine bridesmaids and didn’t feel the least bit stressed. Everybody raved about the flowers – it was lovely.”
Adele now works alongside wedding planners but turns her hand to anything, including flowers for funerals and corporate events as well as individual bouquets. She provides displays for local cafe Baguette Me Not and her work has even featured in national blogs.
“I felt I was never going to get well again,” Adele said.
“I felt completely overwhelmed by everything but floristry has given me a part of myself back. I feel great and all the feedback I’ve been getting is really positive. I could be cutting down my medication and have discussed it with my GP but that’s a decision we’re not making at the moment.
“If anyone out there is experiencing low days, they should speak to a GP or health visitor. If you’re not enjoying life then you need to do something about it as there’s lots of help out there.
“I’ve always known I’ve loved Betsy Bluebell and would be devastated if anything happened to her but now I’ve noticed the real joy I feel with playing with her and I hadn’t felt that before. I feel like this is what I’m meant to be doing and I’m in a settled and happy place. I’ve been to hell and back and never want to go there again.”