Rachel's story

I love podcasts, travelling and disappearing into a good book. I currently have three jobs: working in mental health, with children in schools and most recently as a trained massage therapist.

Hello, my name is Rachel. I thought I would do this to try to be a little bit braver and share a bit of my story on mental health – I hope I don’t bore you to tears!

I live in Isleworth and work locally in Kingston. I’m currently cuddled up with a duvet because it’s freezing, reading a book by Sally Rooney and watching Love Island (don’t judge!).

One part of my life is that I live with depression and anxiety disorder. I was first diagnosed with severe depression when I was about 17 years old. I went through a challenging time and began to internalise a lot of things, to the point where I felt I was a bad friend, bad girlfriend, bad daughter, bad sister, bad student… “Not good enough and a burden on others.”

Loved ones and people close to me noticed that I was struggling but I also became adept at hiding how badly I was feeling. Until one day I couldn’t, and everything seemed to fall apart. From being a high-flier academically and fairly sociable with friends – I went to not being able to leave the house, talk to anyone and having to drop out of college.

I lost any ounce of confidence I once had, and felt the world was too frightening and difficult a place to be in.

Through a combination of time, unending support, therapy and medication, I slowly recovered from my first episode of severe depression and anxiety. After a few years I was able to return to being “me” again, but I feared ever feeling that way again.

It definitely wasn’t the last episode I’ve experienced, there have been many at varying degrees, but I think that my relationship with my mental health has changed over the years. I feel now that each time I’ve struggled and had set-backs, it can be very painful but I actually learn new things about myself and come out of it feeling that little bit stronger.

I’ve learnt a few things that always help me: I need to talk to people when I’m struggling. I need to trust that I’m not a burden and am worthy of getting support. There are always people who want to help, or who have felt the same way.

It sounds a cliché but you’re not alone. I’ve learnt that after a lot of trial and error, for me personally taking medication daily is a small price to pay to give me a stable foundation for my mental health.

The list of things I’m still learning is endless… but a few things are:  meditation; being in nature; breaking things down into very small steps and saying no. I’m learning that meaningful ‘self-care’ needs practice… hopefully I’m getting there!

Thank you so much for reading. Have a great day.


If you have been upset by anything you have read or listened to, please phone the Samaritans on 116 123, text Shout on 85258 or find out more about Kingston mental health services here.

More about Time to Change

Time to Change is a social movement aiming to change the way people think and act about mental health. Time to Change Kingston is the second funded hub in London. It is hosted by the Royal Borough of Kingston Council and coordinated by Healthwatch Kingston.

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