This is massive for me … But here goes …
Mental Health has always been present in my life, from as far back as I can remember. My mum has suffered with Poor Mental Health since I was very very young and to be honest, losing a parent in your 20’s and then the other in your 30’s would affect anyone’s Mental Health! As I’ve gotten older I’ve since found out M.H has been very prominent in the female line of my maternal side. Yes Mental Health is not something you can catch, nor is it definitive that it will be ‘passed down’, but the chances are higher that a family member will experience MH if it is already diagnosed within the family.
In my teenage years I was diagnosed with Anxiety (and Depression – just because back then they went hand in hand), given medication and sent away – well let’s face it, MH was something we didn’t really talk about 20 years ago! I eventually came off the medication and was living my best life working for one of the UK’s biggest holiday park companies.
After having my daughter in 2010 and returning to work when she was 9 months old, I hit an all time low and eventually went back to the GP. I was diagnosed with PND – which then stemmed into AND (as I fell pregnant with my son not long after being diagnosed). During my pregnancy I went through a lot of trauma which really affected my MH more, but as a parent you put yourself to one side and focus on the beautiful creations in your life.
I tried so hard to ‘be happy’ but I always felt like something just wasn’t ‘right’ – I didn’t understand or know what it was … I just wanted to be ‘normal’ … I saw GP’s several times over the years but no-one knew what to say/do apart from adjust my medication, it was like no-one understood.
As the years went by it just became part of life, something I would always have and never fully understand. Something I controlled but also something I would hide from the outside world because people were always so judgemental – even as recent as 2019 when a comment was made by someone who was extremely close to me at the time “If I’d have known when I met her …” What, If you had of known I had Anxiety when you met me … what? You wouldn’t have spoken to me? You would have walked away and turned your back on me? Having anxiety (or any kind of Mental Health) doesn’t mean you are a horrible person, you aren’t the devil or a monster you know! This just contributed to the anxiety … how judgemental people could be … I was still me, I just had an extra layer to me that needed some understanding!
Like a lot of people, during COVID I had peaks and troughs with my MH, however I kept it secret. I had just enrolled on a course to begin a new career, I then started a new job in my chosen career path, was dealing solely with 3 small children who were adapting to life in a split parent family whilst home-schooling part time and being a key worker, a daughter who was being bullied at school and was developing MH issues herself as well as the anxieties COVID was bringing the population. But we got through it!
In 2021, life threw another curve ball my way which prompted me to really look into my Mental Health more and do more research. I didn’t want to feel like I was on an emotional rollercoaster anymore, it was exhausting. I wanted to get off … That’s when I found out about Suffolk Mind (from the MH Nurse at my surgery). She advised me to look and self refer for anything I felt would be beneficial, so I did. Whilst I was on the waiting list I decided to begin a journey of self discovery, so I had a better insight into aspects of MH for when the course began. Little did I know just how amazing and powerful this journey would become.
Fast forward to now (January 2023) and the knowledge I have is incredible – this is not only down to having the determination to learn and find out more about mental health, but Suffolk Mind have played a massive part in my knowledge. More so, I feel understood – finally! The thoughts/feelings which have an impact on our everyday behaviours stem from somewhere, from something in our lives and finding the source of those thoughts/feelings and knowing that they are valid is so important.
My ultimate goal is to #breakthecycle of mental health going forward in my family downline for “When we heal our trauma, our wounds – we break the pattern for the next 7 generations. That is my work, that is the greatest gift to my children”
Trauma can happen at any time in our lives, which can then lead to poor mental health. You never know when you – or a family member – may need that extra support.
I decided to do the Half Marathon to really challenge myself in 2023. Doing this and raising vital funds for Suffolk Mind is my way of saying ‘Thankyou’ to them. I am in the best place I have ever been right now, I want the stigma attached to MH to disappear … Yes it is a real thing and No it’s not something you can ‘just get over’.
If the funds I raise helps just 1 other person to understand themselves/have the opportunity to gain the support that they so desperately need or saves their life then it’s mission accomplished!
We all know the cost of living crisis is very real, money is tight – but mental health is also, if not, more important during this time than ever before … So please, if you can spare anything, even £1 to sponsor me to run Ipswich Half Marathon in September – I’d be eternally grateful … And so would Suffolk Mind!
Imogen, Declan and Jaxson … Everything I do, I do it for you xxx