Jenny, from Herefordshire, first entered mental health services when she was 16, and at 19 she was diagnosed with clinical depression by a GP.
She says surviving or thriving is a powerful message.
She said: “Surviving or thriving is an amazing message and has been key to my recovery.
“It’s not just about surviving; it’s about thriving, and getting beyond the depths of depression.
“I’ve survived and have worked incredibly hard; never stop trying, even though it might be painful and difficult.
“I never let depression stop me. I went to college and university and, when it didn’t work out, I made changes. I never quit. Even when I had a bad relapse, I didn’t give up.”
Jenny saw a counsellor when she first diagnosed and, in her words, “scrapped through college” before going on to university, where she experienced what she describes as a “wobble”.
She explained: “I had person-centred counselling during this time and, while it was great to have someone to talk to, I was still feeling very shunned and alone.
“I then experienced similar problems at work and couldn’t put my finger on what it was ; I just thought that for some reason I was having a terrible, terrible life.”
But about four years ago, Jenny was referred to ²gether NHS Foundation Trust, who provide mental health services in Herefordshire, and had a course of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) through the trust’s Let’s Talk service.
She said: “The first course of CBT was a revelation.
“This was the first time I’d come across a therapy that actually had meaning and purpose; it even had homework! For someone like me, who likes to see results, it really worked and was refreshing.
“I found I had an instant connection with my therapist and she made me realise that I need to work at this all the time. I’m now in remission for the first time in 20 years.
“I cannot thank the service enough; it was an amazingly therapeutic process and it promotes self-care as well. Even if you are unsure whether it will work for you, give it a try.
“I think it is really important for people to realise it is not just people who fall into stereotyped groups who may have mental health issues – they can affect anyone.
“One of the things I’ve found really useful on this journey is the five ways to wellbeing. I’ve started putting them into practice and they are ideal for helping you to take care of your own mental health.”
Help and support
Our Let’s Talk service can offer help and support if you are suffering with depression, please visit www.talkghc.nhs.uk for more information. You can refer yourself to Let’s Talk or you can ask your GP to refer you.
If you think you may have depression, you should visit your GP who will be able to help you further. If your GP agrees, they will refer you to our services so you can be assessed and given help and support. For further information about depression, please visit ghc.nhs.uk/conditions/depression.