Louise's story

My mental health struggles began after the death of my mum five year's ago. As a child I had always been sensitive and anxious and had displayed signs of OCD, but for the most part these had disappeared once I reached adulthood.

When my mum died and the grief I felt was like a huge grey cloud hanging over me. I literally couldn't see colours, everything was so dark. I have always been ambitious and had a well paid job with many responsibilities. My employer offered support, but because there was so much work to achieve, I felt I couldn't take time off. To avoid my grief, I threw myself into work, returning straight back after the funeral. After mum died the OCD behaviours came flooding back, along with night terrors and and I would hide away at work constantly washing my hands, rubbing them angrily until they bled. I would openly talk to myself when I was walking down the street and friends became worried about me, but because I come across as quite confident and defensive, they didn't want to approach me about it. This went on for 2 years until I finally got some help.

I was self stigmatising. I had been brought up with the motto "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade" and I didn't want to admit that my grief was real, and that my unwillingness to recognise and address it was becoming a problem and impacting upon my mental well-being.

I back the Change Your Mind campaign and my pledge is try to ensure that anyone who feels the weight of stigma is supported.

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