This summer, around a rather large Chinese takeaway, I spoke to my family about how I tried to take my life. Between me and my dad, plus a few tears, we talked about the pain this event had caused all of us. It was the first time that many family members listened to this story and it was the first time we spoke about it so openly.
To love someone with postnatal depression must be incredibly hard and exhausting at times and requires so much patience. My darling husband has really been my rock especially over the last 18 months and has been a constant cheerleader to me. He has seen me at my worse, he has seen me broken, he has seen me hate myself and has still been able to love me.
I dedicate my award to my best friend who passed away due to various issues one being mental health problems, as well as to anyone who is struggling with their own physical and mental health. Sometimes it can feel as though we are travelling a long road to see the changes we know need to happen to improve the lives of everyone living with a mental illness, but we must not give up.
It's normal for day to day life at university to consist of emotional ups and downs, but when the usual day to day stresses get too much; students can be particularly vulnerable to mental health difficulties; with 75% of all mental health difficulties developing by mid-20s (Royal College of Psychiatrists, 2010) and 29% of students experiencing clinical levels of psychological distress (Bewick, 2008).
To anyone suffering with anxiety, I know that there is a road out of it. I'm not off that road yet - and who knows when I will be - but I am on it. And that's what matters. To anyone suffering, do yourself the biggest favour and tell whatever (or whoever) is making you suffer that they aren't going to prevent you from completing a duty - whether it be to yourself or, like mine, to others. It's easier said than done, but it is so incredibly worth it. Trust me, I know.