LISTEN: Life has thrown everything at Katie, Sheehan, but she keeps on fighting

Donal O'Regan

Reporter:

Donal O'Regan

Email:

donal.oregan@limerickleader.ie

LISTEN: Life has thrown everything at Katie, Sheehan, but she keeps on fighting

LIFE hasn’t been kind to Katie Sheehan but you wouldn’t know it.

Her broad smile and bubbly personality belies 33 years full of adversity and sadness. But Katie, from Cappamore, has overcome it all. As the new service user representative of the Haven Hub she wants to be their voice. Katie’s story is one many will resonate with. (Listen here)

The Haven Hub is an after hours support centre for people that are struggling to cope or are at risk of suicide. And Katie is a perfect choice as she has been through it.

The host of Mid-Morning Madness on Limerick City Community Radio has made a documentary to share her experiences.

“I did this documentary now because of the Covid-19 situation our country is in. Unfortunately, suicide rates are up along with domestic abuse and child abuse. I am now in such a good place I want to pay forward,” said Katie.

In the doc she talks about her depression and anxiety; struggle to conceive; miscarriage; diagnosis of her son’s lifelong illness; a breakdown; major surgery and her fight back to a healthy mindset

A “traumatic experience” in her youth led to her teenage years being especially hard.

“From the age of 12 I struggled with depression and anxiety due to my traumatic experience. I kept it to myself, thinking I had done something wrong. This only allowed the depression and anxiety to thrive, something many victims do after a traumatic experience.

“I’ve also dealt with gynaecological problems (PSOS); endometriosis and a condition called PMDD which later in life caused me to make a suicide attempt,” said Katie bravely and honestly.

Due to her gynaecological issues, Katie and her now husband Jeffrey struggled to conceive. Nicole, who is now eleven, did arrive but the couple later had a miscarriage. Five years passed before Michael, 6, was born.

“He was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at birth, an incurable disease that affects hundreds here in Ireland. After Michael’s diagnosis, and my PMDD going to more severe stages, it allowed my depression and anxiety to take hold, eventually leading to my mental breakdown.”

Katie talks about how she worked with a fantastic psychotherapist to “relearn and retrain my brain”.

“This is vital for someone to fully heal and be able to move forward in life with a healthy mindset. And it is something - mental health support and education - I feel is hugely lacking here in Limerick. And why we have such a high suicide rate. There is no understanding of it and no support for people in mental health crises.”

One woman told Katie her story and how she fought back. It inspired the mum-of-two to tell her story and “started a fire in my belly”.

“If my story helps one person realise there is light at the end of the tunnel it will be worth it. I want people suffering to see that they are not alone and not to give up. The reward of a happy, healthy life is priceless to someone suffering everyday. We need more help from our new government to stop our next generation dying.”

Katie has been blown away by the reaction to the documentary.

“I was so inspired by people’s emails, texts and calls saying how they related in some way or other to my story and that’s all I wanted from this - to give people hope and not to give up.”

You can listen to the documentary in full on the Mid-Morning Madness Facebook page.