Jasmine blogs about how Mind has supported both her and her mother with their mental health.

She’s taking action this World Mental Health Day by sharing her story. She blogs about how Mind has supported both her and her mother with their mental health.

Our World Mental Health Day campaign is all about how awareness is just the start and it’s now time to act. Whether that’s sharing your story to help others, like Jasmine has done, or doing something completely different.

Whatever action you take, you’ll be helping to fight for mental health. Find out how to get involved with World Mental Health Day here.

Mind has always been there for me and my family as far as I can remember. My mum was diagnosed with schizophrenia when I was a child and needed lots of help with housing and other issues. I was only a teenager so I couldn’t look after her, but there were charities, including Mind, to help.

“My mother was in and out of psychiatric hospitals. While she stayed in hospital, I was put in various foster homes.”

My mother was in and out of psychiatric hospitals and the police would section her. While she stayed in hospital, I was put in various foster homes with the aid of social services. I had to have most of my teeth removed due to rot.

In the early 80s, I was taken away from my mother by social services and placed in a children’s home before going to live with my Gran (my mother’s mother) in Cornwall in 1985. I am very visual and have always drawn from very young. I couldn’t read or write properly until I lived with my Gran and she taught me over a five-year period.

Numbing my trauma

In 1990 after winning a national art competition, I left home at 16 to go to Falmouth University. Unfortunately, I got into alcohol and drugs to numb my trauma and developed an addiction that led to an anxiety and depressive disorder, which has recently been diagnosed as complex ptsd.

As for my mother, she was placed in a wonderful care home in the late 1990s. Unfortunately she had a stroke last year and is now bedridden and unable to communicate. Mum was in denial about her mental illness for many years and may have had a better life if she’d accepted it and received help. I followed suit for years but, now in my 40s, I no longer feel ashamed of my illness and am receiving help from Mind and the Charity CARA along with taking medication and changing lifestyle habits that no longer serve me.

“I was suffering from severe panic attacks, which I believe were my body’s way of telling me I needed to process the trauma.”

It wasn’t until my husband and I decided to try for a baby that I actually started to address my problems. I was in my mid-30s and I learned about cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) from the Mind website. I was suffering from severe panic attacks, which I believe were my body’s way of telling me I needed to process the trauma that I had stored up. The CBT helped me get my panic attacks under control, although I still suffer from them. As well as CBT I’ve tried tapping, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing), martial arts, yoga and breathing exercises.

Mindfulness, meditation and hypnosis (in changing my neural pathways) are also big parts of my management plan, along with being by nature. Perhaps the most important thing for me was relational therapy. I was incredibly lucky in having the support of a great psychologist, who helped me see things in a more positive light.

I was closed off for a long time but I’m beginning to open up about my mental health. I’ve recently told my employers that I’m struggling, and they’ve been incredible about it. I work from home in customer services, but I’ve been signed off sick while I process the abuse I faced in my childhood. It’s tough, but I feel like it’s the final hurdle I need to face. I’ve learned it’s never too late to start the healing process and it’s a long journey.

Mind is there to help

I’ve always used the Mind website to check my symptoms, find out about different therapies and read other people’s stories. Mind has been with me for such a long time that I want to give back. I donate when I can and shop in the Mind charity shops. I’ve created a comic that I’ve donated to Mind. It’s giving me confidence to tell my story, and hopefully sharing it will help others. I think it’s important to reach out to teenagers who are struggling and let them know it’s okay and they don’t have to do it alone. I tried to do it alone and I failed. I want them to know that Mind is there to help them and if they can face their problems early, they might not suffer for as long as I have.

I worry that mental health is hereditary as I know my gran suffered as well as my mum. My daughter is 12 and she’s had to be a young carer and help me with my panic attacks. I’ve told her that at the first sign of anything, we’ll get help. I’m determined to break the chain and I know that Mind will help me do that.