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Visit the Blucando website to find out more
Visit the Blucando website to find out more

MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS PAGE HEADER

Real Life Mental Health Stories

Hear from some local people living in Surrey and Hampshire discuss their experiences of living with mental health problems.

From counselling to being counselled

Feeling depressed and suicidal

Feeling depressed and suicidal

Trudy Barker was a qualified counselling living in Frensham, until her life was turned upside down at the loss of her son.

Trudy became seriously depressed, and tried to take her life.

Living with Bipolar

Jonny Hennessey-Brown is from Guildford, he is a father of two, a teacher, and plays the cello in The Santiago Quartet. Jonny is also Bipolar. He's opening up about his experience with Bipolar to raise awareness and help others find the support they need.

You can read more about how MIND and music has helped Jonny here - and donate here.


Living with Anxiety

Toni, 49, has never known what it’s like to not feel anxious. A constant sense of panic has accompanied her entire life. 

“I was a very anxious child but I didn’t really understand it and thought that was how everybody felt."

But the pressure of bringing up two children with undiagnosed post-natal depression, breaking up with her husband and holding down a job put so much pressure on her façade that she had a breakdown. 

Unable to cope she quit her job and, having stopped paying the mortgage, she lost her home soon after. Toni dreaded waking up in the morning and shut herself away for a year.After being helped to recover by the council and NHS, Toni started to attend Oakleaf two years ago.

Toni says old habits die hard, but she puts on less of a front as she learns how to manage:

“It’s that feeling when you get to the checkout at the supermarket and realise you’ve left your purse at home. But that panic is a constant.

“I became a weak person and I think that’s where all of my troubles have stemmed from. I don’t feel able to say that I don’t want to do something and I end up getting myself into situations I don’t want to be in.

“I always have a chuckle to myself that I shouldn’t be on this planet. At work I have always been a different person. I put on my best outfit and I put on this invisible happy hat. I have done it for so many years in so many different situations.

toni oakleaf

“I was a florist for 20 years but it became harder and harder. I started to go blank when I was on the phone to customers. I couldn’t cope.

"I would just pretend that I was doing what they asked because I didn’t know what else to do. I had to get out."I’m quite creative and decided to make things to sell, then I wouldn’t have to deal with customers, it would all be hunky dory. But it didn’t work and I panicked. I couldn’t pay the mortgage.

"I didn’t know what to do next or where to turn. I couldn’t go out at all."

“When you have depression or anxiety you feel like you want to be alone, but really that’s the worst thing for you. You want someone to cradle you and look after you.

"Oakleaf feels like such a safe environment, it’s like that massive cradle. Whatever you’re terrified of you can talk about here - those things that overwhelm you and make you shrivel up like when you put a salt on a slug.

"I’m still guilty of shutting myself away and I don’t like to socialise.“I can’t help but wonder where I might be now if Oakleaf was available when I was in my 20s. The way I was three years ago, I would never have thought that any of this was possible.”