Sherry is the Programme Lead for Portsmouth Support and Recovery Services at Solent Mind. She’s lived with depression since she was a child and wants to help others who might be struggling with their mental health.
“I’ve lived with depression since about the age of 12 but didn’t know it at the time. I worked really hard to ignore and avoid how I felt until I gave birth to my daughter and was diagnosed with post-natal depression. As time went on, I went on to study for my degree full time and was lucky enough to be able to access counselling at university.
“After university, I was just about coping but I had lots of low times and was struggling to deal with my emotions and moods. This was difficult, and as a lone parent, with a home to run and a full time job, I begin to get very unwell.
“When I was 35, I had a major depressive episode and was admitted to Elmleigh, a mental health hospital and took a career break for two years. I was diagnosed with depression, complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder. After Elmleigh, I was supported by the Community Mental Health Team for 2 years and completed various therapies including Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Schema therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprogramming (EMDR).
“When I was discharged from the mental health team, I eventually went back to work but continued to access counselling on and off for a number of years. Through an employment support provider, I got a job with Havant and East Hants Mind as a Wellbeing Worker, then was promoted to Wellbeing Manager.
“I then moved to Solent Mind where I am now the Programme Lead for Solent Mind’s services in Portsmouth.
“I still dip in and out of counselling – talking therapy really works for me. I also take anti-depressant medication and use lots of wellbeing tools, rest, relaxation, being with friends/family, gardening, crafting, upcycling etc I have learnt a lot about myself throughout my mental health journey and believe I am a much better person because of this.
“I see my mental health condition as always being part of me, accepting this and seeing the benefits that have been added to my life and work because of it. I have taken control of my mental health and give myself the attention I need to live my quality of life alongside my symptoms.”
Visit our mental health webpage for more information about getting support.