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Talking saved my life

If I had to start from the beginning of my negative mental health issues, you would end up with a novel. So, this will be a brief version.  

How it all began 

I’ve suffered with anxiety and depression since I was about 13 or 14. I was jumped by a group of girls at school and not long after, I was unexpectedly mugged by a man and his stepdaughter. 

Anxiety is more prominent for me than depression, as I only get these episodes 2 or 3 times a year.  

Fast forward to 2018, I’m married with 2 stepdaughters and my own daughter with my husband. However, it was also around this time I attempted suicide and hit rock bottom.  

The only way was up… 

I then saw a job vacancy with a well known charity – I applied and was successful! 

I absolutely loved my role, my confidence and mental wellbeing increased dramatically. I had found my sense of purpose and something I was good at. I got a promotion to coordinate the service in 2020, however I then experienced my dad living through a cardiac arrest in January – and then March 2020 arrived. 

We went into lockdown and so did my mental health.  

 …And then (lock)down 

I regrettably had to leave my position due to having a mental breakdown. Worst decision of my life. It almost felt like I was grieving the job I’d had to give up. I spent a whole year under this dark cloud and all I kept thinking was, “I hope no one else ever has to feel this pain.” 

Then I started to see the effect my mental health was having on my husband and children – and I wanted to change.  

One day my car broke down and was unfixable. We did not have the funds to purchase another. I had a bike and a bike trailer, so this was the only option for me to get my daughter to school. It’s 2 miles away, so a bit of a walk.  

Never did I think a bike would be my lifeline. What an outlet for my mental health struggles!  Again, my confidence grew, and I met new friends. I challenged myself and raised money for charity. 

Talking about my mental health saved me 

We are now in 2023. I’m extremely open about my mental health troubles and I feel there is so much less stigma since Covid-19.  

I reached out to my previous manager to see whether they were currently recruiting and then applied to be a support worker. I was back on track to living my best life. Also, there was endless support at work regarding mental health issues.   

I felt I could openly talk about my negative mental health and the effect it has. I wish I had told my manager how I was feeling before, as my workplace has numerous resources and will support employees with mental health issues.  

My mental health is my superpower 

I see my anxiety as my strength now and it will not be holding me back anymore.   

An opportunity came up for me recently to once again coordinate the service I had originally supported. At first the thought terrified me. But the voice in my head said. “If at first you don’t succeed, have a mental breakdown and try again 3 years later.”  

The hardest part is getting out there. I’m in no way cured but the key for me has been finding my triggers and finding ways to manage your response.  

It’s been a team effort though. I’ve had so much support from my husband and children, also friends and colleagues. Life for me got better when I realised there was no shame in asking for help regarding my mental health. 

If you feel you need support:  

Don’t hesitate!
If you feel that you might be a danger to yourself or need urgent medical help, please: 

  • Call 999 for an ambulance, or 
  • Go straight to A&E – if you can do so safely. If you can’t do this by yourself, ask someone to help you. Mental health emergencies are serious. You’re not wasting anyone’s time. 

Text Support 

Shout 85258 provides 24/7 FREE, year-round confidential text support service any time of the day if you’re struggling to cope and need mental health support. Access support from a trained Shout Volunteer by texting the word ‘SHOUT’ to 85258 

The Samaritans 24/7 Phoneline – 

If you need to talk to someone, the Samaritans offer emotional support and a listening ear for all ages – 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Call them on 116 123. 

This is a FREEPHONE number that can even be called from a mobile that has no credit. Your call will not appear on the phone bill. 

Connection 24/7 Phoneline for Dorset – 

  • Connection is a 24/7 phone helpline for people of all ages in Dorset who are experiencing mental health issues and need support. 
  • Call 111 and select ‘mental health’ or dial 0800 652 0190 to access support. 
  • You do not need to be known by their services and can also phone for support and advice about a friend or family member experiencing poor mental health. 
  • Staff are trained to support anyone who calls, regardless of the level of the mental health crisis, and can signpost you or your loved one to the most appropriate service which meets your needs. 

For further signposting info visit our urgent help pages.

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Dorset Mind is a self-funded local charity that helps people in Dorset experiencing mental health problems access the vital support they need. The charity is at the very heart of our communities shaping futures, changing and in some cases literally saving lives.

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