WHO IS BETH ARMSTRONG AND WHY THIS PODCAST?

Beth is a director of film and television, writer and live storyteller, she is also a single mum of two girls. 

When I became a parent, I realised I’d joined a club, albeit a huge one. I’d be standing at the traffic lights, perhaps struggling with a pram and get the nod of understanding from another parent. It was a revelation - I was suddenly part of a community I’d only vaguely noticed but not held in any particular regard. It was cool - perhaps because I’m also in the subset of an older parent who found this new life experience rather novel. I am a member of several clubs that most people wouldn’t choose to join – the older we get, the more we tend to accrue – like IVF, a parent with Alzheimer’s, divorce and estrangement from family, among others.

But the real revelation that kicked off the idea for this podcast was experiencing postpartum psychosis – a rarefied experience that no one seems to know about, though it affects many people. I never imagined I could be in the bonkers club. What I learned was that mental illness doesn’t happen just to other people – we are all dancing on the edge of madness. Lack of sleep or a turn of events can land us there before we know it. Surviving momentarily clarified everything: what was important and what wasn’t. I felt fundamentally changed, in some ways for the better, but also felt this urge to talk to others who’d been through it. I searched for first-person stories but found mostly clinical explanations of the condition. 

I’m intrigued by resilience – how people not only survive but grow from challenging experiences.  I hope you enjoy our discussions; I have learned a great deal hearing guest’s stories - some horrendous, moving, ridiculous, and surprising.  

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