That’s me – yes in the picture, next to Jessica Rowe! Sure I hear you say, what’s the big deal about that?

Well it is not the picture but what it represents that is important.

Today I sat and listened to Jessica Rowe and other high profile women talk about the business of being a mum, of being a professional business woman and of the struggle to do it all. And I reminded myself, that it needs to be me standing up on stage sharing my story.

I will be, I have too.

Jessica told her story, I’m sure she has done it hundreds of times before, but I hope she does it a thousand times more – because people like her speaking out, make it easier for people like me to be honest too.

We don’t share the same story, I fortunately didn’t suffer from Post Natal Depression as Jessica did, but we share the challenge of recovery from Mental Illness.

One day I will be out there in front of an audience of women, of welfare workers, of managers and carers and share my story – because I know if even one person will benefit then I need to tell it.

I spent too long thinking I had to be everything to everyone, trying to live the unrealistic juggle, running from place to place, never really good enough at any of it, feeling I needed to be perfect and responsible for others, having what I believed in and valued challenged daily and pushing on through, way through the warning signs and the point of no return.

My breakdown, anxiety and resulting depression left me unable to continue in my Social Work profession, unable to do what I had spent an adult lifetime training for and practicing. Whilst I do not for one moment regret the decision to walk away don’t let my positive attitude and determination to find the good in the situation mask the challenge and the loss.

Being vulnerable about the reality of my situation now and how it came about is part of my recovery process, accepting I have a new normal and managing the challenges of creating a new fulfilling life is an ongoing process.

So you see it is important that one day I will be confidently sharing my message of self-care, of being enough and of knowing it is essential to put yourself first so you can continue to serve others.

Life is challenging, with all the wonders it bestows upon us there are always the obstacles too. Add to that a profession of front line work where you witness trauma and know of things you wish you could un-know and it is not surprising the turnover rate in the welfare sector is so high.

My message is one of warning but also of potential – you need to listen to the warning signals in whatever form they come. The work you love should not make you unwell, Living Well and Working Well needs to be a reality.

So until the time comes that I am in front of an audience telling my story let me keep sharing snippets of it here. And thank you Jessica Rowe for standing tall and sharing how we can all be touched by Mental Illness and promoting the message as I do that you need to take care of yourself first, ask for help and listen to your own warning bells.

Just putting it out there….