Ok, so let’s start with a little bit about me. I am a 30 something first time mum. I live on the south coast of England with my husband and our son. They are my world. They both make my heart burst with love, laughter and pride every single day…even when they are doing my head in. I have lots of family and friends that live a short drive away in the town where I grew up. Some have spread their wings now though and are now slightly closer to me. I also have friends which live in other parts of the country. I make an effort to stay in contact with them and see them when life allows.
I work part time while my son goes to nursery. I do not have the most glamorous or exciting job, but it is one that I have stuck at and have managed to make a fairly successful career out of it. I constantly find myself questioning whether it is what I want to be doing with my life, but it has its perks – it’s local, the people are lovely, it’s flexible and it helps pay the bills.
About a year after the birth of our son (he is almost 2 now!), I was diagnosed with post-natal depression. During my ongoing recovery I have learnt, and am still learning, so much about myself as a person. One thing I have learnt is that I have suffered with depression and anxiety without realising, for as long as I can remember. My ongoing recovery, which has included antidepressants, time off work and counselling, has given me the time to reflect on my life so far, think about what direction I want my life to take and the person I want to be. I now have a much deeper understanding of who I am and what makes me, me. Life has certainly made a lot more sense to me since my diagnosis.
It is this period of reflection that inspired me to start writing. My first thought was “I could write a book about my experience!” Then I realised that as I struggle to read past chapter 3 of most books, I would probably struggle to write a book?! So this led me to the world of blogging. Why not combine my love for social media, the therapeutic need to get stuff out of my mind and my lack of any real hobby to date; and turn it into something productive, something creative, something I can get my teeth into and feel passionate about, and something I really feel will help me get a deeper understanding of who I am and enable me to become a healthier version of myself.
I also want to help reduce the stigma around mental health. Many see it as a weakness and as something that shouldn’t be talked about, so do not seek the help they need. I must admit that before I was diagnosed with post-natal depression and anxiety, I was fairly ignorant to mental illness. But I have learnt a lot. Two things I heave learnt is just how common it is – one in four adults and one in ten children experience mental illness during their lifetime; and that it can affect any of us – your friends, family, the man or woman you see on the platform every morning, or the young person you see walking to school every day. Everyone should have the confidence to be able to talk about it and seek the help they need.