My mental health journey: anorexia, depression, anxiety and OCD
Jodie shares her mental health journey of the last 18 years and explains why her employer fundraising for Mind is so important to her.
Jodie works for spa and beauty product company Temple Spa as a Spa To Go consultant. She lives with her husband and their two children.
This is really out of my comfort zone, but I’ve been inspired by my employer – spa and beauty product company Temple Spa - who are fundraising for Mind this October, to share my personal mental health journey.
My mental health probably started deteriorating when I was in primary school. I was really badly bullied throughout primary school and in year six I was diagnosed with anorexia.
"I was really badly bullied throughout primary school and in year six I was diagnosed with anorexia."
My way to cope with the bullying was to stop eating altogether. I would go days without eating and I had to go to the doctors most weeks to be weighed. I almost ended up in hospital because of it, all of which must have been really stressful for my parents.
At the time the doctors were great, but 18 years ago there wasn’t as much awareness as there is today and I don’t think I ever dealt with this properly as I grew older. Over the following years I’ve suffered from depression, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). I’m sure this has all stemmed from my experiences in childhood.
"I’ve suffered from depression, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)."
For me, my OCD meant I had to have a list and if I didn’t do everything that was on that list my anxiety would go through the roof. My husband put various things in place for me to help and his support has been brilliant. While he hasn’t always understood where I’m coming from he would do what he could to best support me.
"My OCD meant I had to have a list and if I didn’t do everything that was on that list my anxiety would go through the roof."
With the birth of my first child it all calmed down a bit, but after my second child I developed post-natal depression. This wasn’t about being unable to bond with my child, it was the anxiety around taking the best possible care of my children. I couldn’t go out to parent groups, even though I wanted to, I couldn’t bring myself to go out the door, no matter how hard I tried.
"Throughout my life I’ve been on and off medication."
Eventually I went back onto medication and had the support of an amazing healthcare visitor, who came to see me every few weeks to see how I was doing. The support from her and my GP has been fantastic.
"The support from an amazing healthcare visitor and my GP has been fantastic."
Self-care has also really, really helped me. Over the last year or so I’ve been able to come off the medication and I’ve started meditating and practicing mindfulness. That has really helped me. I know it might not help everyone, but for me that has really been the difference in my life. I also take time for myself and try not to feel guilty about it. There are still days now when I feel so guilty for just taking half an hour for myself, but it’s so important.
"I’ve started meditating and practicing mindfulness. That has really helped me. I also take time for myself and try not to feel guilty about it."
This is just a snippet of how mental health problems and especially anxiety have been a big part of my life and I’m still working with it every day.
Some people will suffer all their lives and some people will suffer for a short period of time and everyone will experience it differently. The best thing we can do is support each other and be understanding. You never know what is going on inside for someone.
This is why I’m so passionate about Temple Spa supporting Mind. Mental health awareness is so much better than it was, but there is still so much to do.
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