for better mental health

Putting anxiety to bed

Friday, 31 July 2020 Livvy

Livvy blogs about how her bedding design company has boosted the mental health of young people while raising money for Mind.

At 43 and after a lifetime of mental health struggles, I now realise it has only really been in the past six years I have truly felt and known who I am and am happy in that. In fact I think I'm pretty ok if rather quirky! 

After all this time, I have lots of hard earned strategies for managing my mental health, but it hasn’t always been like this, I know for lots of people, especially young people, it can be really hard to get the right support at the right time.

I can’t really pinpoint when I was aware that I wasn’t happy in myself.  I had always struggled but I spent most of my time putting on a brave face and pretending I was fine. I was sent to boarding school aged seven.  I am dyslexic, and my parents lived abroad.  I don’t think they really knew what to do with me, and in the 1970s dyslexia wasn’t really known about.  I think my dyslexia was a major part of my unhappiness. My daughter also has dyslexia, and together we celebrate it.. I tell her it is a gift, which I truly believe it is.  But my parents were embarrassed that their daughter wasn’t academic. I  felt stupid, different and thought I would never achieve anything in my life.

I was around ten when I first experienced all-consuming sadness. I was in an art class and I felt this overwhelming need to cry.  There didn’t seem to be a reason, I don’t remember anything that had happened particularly but I knew I had to get out of there because I was about to break down. I ran out of the class and ended up in an empty classroom and broken down in tears. I didn’t want to be me anymore.

This pattern of behaviour continued throughout my teens and well into my 20s, but it all came to a head when I had children. After my third child I completely crashed. I felt that I couldn't function. Many times, I was found on the floor of my room unable to move, just heaving with tears. I will never forget my five-year-old girl coming in and the horror on her face.  It will live with me forever.

Finding a wonderful counsellor, CBT, and antidepressants saved my life. It made me realise the power of a positive mind.

At this stage I was taken under the care of a hospital and  put on strong medication. I had an intense course of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and counselling.  It took me a while to find the right therapist, but when I did, it changed my life. In fact, finding a wonderful counsellor, CBT, and antidepressants saved my life. It made me realise the power of a positive mind and trying to find even the tiniest silver lining in a negative feeling.

I have tried many times to come off the antidepressants but I always end up going back on them, even If it’s just a small dose.  I have come to terms with it, and it doesn't bother me anymore. I mean if you have a heart condition or diabetes or any other physical medical condition you take drugs for life to help you, so what is the difference with antidepressants if they keep  me happy.

I still have bad days and weeks but I know they will pass and I put all the tools I learnt into play. I am also lucky to have a wonderful close network of friends and family and when I am struggling I tell those closest to me so they understand if I cancel things or need help. 

I’m now in the best place I’ve ever been in. I have finally found the confidence to believe in myself

I’m now in the best place I’ve ever been in. I have finally found the confidence to believe in myself and this led me to starting a company selling bedding for the teen market.   

After my experiences growing up I wanted my business to do good for others like me, and soon an opportunity presented itself. During a walk a friend of mine expressed to me her concern about the amount of anxiety her daughter was experiencing during the build up to her GCSEs.

The teenager is a talented artist and so I then thought who better to ask to help me design bedding for teenagers, than  her. I hoped it would help her to have a focus away from the pressures she was experiencing. She came up with a fabulous paisley print and chose colours that I would never have thought of – her design has been one of my best sellers.

I wanted to make sure no one had to wait as long as I did to find the right support for a mental health problem.

And this was just the start, I decided to continue working with young people who were struggling with anxiety and self-esteem. I also wanted to help make sure no one had to wait as long as I did to find the right support for a mental health problem by donating 10% from every  sale I make to Mind.

Read about Information and support

You find out more about all the different ways you can fundraise for Mind on our fundraising pages.

 

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