Being diagnosed with cancer is like being catapulted into another world - the Land of Illness - unlike Mordor, the landscapes are bleached and bright, but just as dangerous. It's a world ruled by men and women wearing white coats, speaking a foreign language, with unfamiliar rules - bad things happen to good people. Unsurprisingly, we are desperate to leave.
Today, my friend revealed to me that her breast cancer had metastasised to her spine and pelvis. I felt like I had been thrown off a cliff, yet I was standing. I wanted to turn back time, but is that resilience? I wanted to scream and cry but I had promised my six year old daughter to practice her dance moves. 'Mummy, let's start dancing', she said. But how could I?
Three years down the line, I still continue to be haunted by my cancer. Like the background music to a movie it's always there, singing the trauma that I have endured. Approximately, two-thirds of women with a breast cancer diagnosis suffer PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and this can make them prone to anxiety and depression later.
Would you like to know what I have learned? Maybe, just maybe, there is a certain strength in weakness. Anyone who has had a family member with Cancer knows very well that this disease will push you to - and beyond - your emotional limits. But maybe such pain is a reality we must all be prepared to experience in some form?
I hope that by sharing my story and helping prompt the start of a conversation about bullying, other people may feel empowered to share their own story or make an effort to not turn a blind eye to bullying. One of the greatest maintaining factors of silence, making others aware of what's going on and seeking support can enable individuals to get through being bullied.
With more and more research showing that mental health is worsening in our schools and that this problem poses serious long-term costs of as much as £105billion a year, then now is the time to be innovative, look at what's working and act. It's time to start piloting mindfulness in our schools, and measure its success.
One of the most useful skills I learnt during over a decade in prison was to be thankful that things weren't even worse. In psychology this is known as comparing down and helps make you grateful for what you have. Comparing down was a skill that I learnt in New Zealand's toughest maximum-security prison, Paremero.
What do you think the purpose of education is? If you agree things need to change, what will you do about it? Whether you're a headteacher or a class teacher, at any stage of education, whether you're a parent, or a pupil, you have the power to make a difference in the small daily deliberate actions you take.
The 7.8 magnitude earthquake on 25th April left the country reeling, killing over 8,000 people, injuring more than 18,000 and leaving 2.8 million people without homes. There was much talk that this earthquake was expected, but it seems that no amount of preparedness will be enough to keep pace with the increasing disaster risk...