Never underestimate the impact just being there listening to someone can make a huge difference...
Sometimes we all need to feel there is someone there to support us in a time of vulnerability without fear of judgement or stigma.
Whether it's a clinician, a friend or a family member - anyone can help in times of need and what an impact this can have.
I relied heavily on my husband in the past. He stuck with me at the early stages of our relationship when I had a psychotic episode. I expected him to run for the hills - but he stayed by my side with huge love and respect. He never missed a day of visiting me in a psychiatric unit. Even though I felt shame & often could not verbalise what I was thinking or feeling he never put any pressure on me to divulge anything - he just listened - his love was unconditional and unwavering.
For a fact I know this helped in my recovery so I completely understand how it feels to have someone in your corner.
With inpatient & outpatient therapy as well as medication I got through the episode. Unscathed and thankfully never to have suffered it again. I count my blessings each day as it was the most terrifying experience of my life. I've also worked very hard on myself mentally to understand why my brain behaved in that way and how I can make myself mentally fit & self-aware.
My book Seconds To Snap - I'm very humbled to say - has allowed me to have positive impacts on people's lives. It was written as my way of being in as many peoples corners as I can by letting them know I'm here if they need me and also I've been through the experience and understand what it's like to be in a mental hell but thankfully make a full recovery.
Each day I receive messages and this one in particular has stuck with me. It made me feel so honoured, privileged and truly grateful to be able to share the story of recovery & hope - its also shows just how effective all the raising awareness is and also how incredibly important the campaigns across the internet can be...
I bought 'Seconds to Snap' out of curiosity.
I read that book without putting it down in the airport and on the plane, with unashamed tears flowing down my cheeks. The suffering Tina had endured when she was our daughters' age was too horrific to comprehend, and I cried for her as a child, as a teenager, and then I cried with happiness when she turned her life around and is now the beautiful woman, wife, mother and ambassador of mental health and eating disorders.
Just before I read Tina's book, I had found out my niece Katie had been bulimic and had suffered from anxiety and depression while at university, and was suffering again. This came as such a shock, and reading the book I cried for my niece too.
As soon as I finished the book, I had to email Tina to tell her how her book moved me, and helped me to understand eating disorders and how I felt enabled to really help my niece through her illness.
I told my sister and Katie about Tina and her book, and asked Katie to come along to Tina's book signing with me. She was fragile mentally and cried when she heard Tina talk, hiding behind the bookcases in Waterstones. We queued to meet Tina, and when Tina met us, she enveloped Katie in an enormous hug, told her she was beautiful and told Katie to contact her if she ever needed help or support.
Reading Tina's book and meeting her, was a real starting point in Katie's recovery, and she still calls Tina her "guardian angel"
My son is 16, and has struggled with his weight all his life. He read Tina's book, then went on to stand up in front of his class and presented his talk on "Body positivity and childhood obesity".
He moved some of his classmates to tears, and has totally changed his outlook on his "fat" issues and is proud to say "this is me, take it or leave it, but I'm happy".
My son met Tina a couple of nights ago and said it was like meeting his hero!
Tina is a truly remarkable, compassionate woman, and her campaign to spread awareness of eating disorders and mental health is inspirational. She is my hero too!