A robin to me is more than just something to smile at and to admire its songs. That little bird with its bright red breast reawakened me from my ten month battle with depression, paranoia and anxiety which saw me being off work for ten months and being admitted in the St Ann’s Mental Health Care Unit.
The team at St Ann’s were amazing. They stabilised me and their kindness went over and above their duty. I was told I could go home after a period of time – I still haven’t got a clue how long I was in there. When I did go home it all felt unfamiliar. I was scared to go outside. It was my doctor who knew of my love of nature that suggested that I set the timer on my phone for a five minute walk down through Bournemouth gardens to take some photos. When my timer went off, I went home and wrote in a diary of what I saw and how I felt. When I felt comfortable I could then extend my time outside.
It was while I was doing this that I heard a Robin letting out its beautiful tunes that something inside me switched on like a light switch. I wasn’t in the dark anymore. I carried on improving my mental health and eventually my doctor said I didn’t need to take any more antidepressants.
My last breakdown was in 2013/14 since then I’ve been a firm believer in the power of nature and photography on our mental wellbeing in 2018 I set myself a challenge of raising its awareness to try and help others going through mental illness now I’ve found a passion and motivation I never knew I had that’s seen me being interviewed live on Sky news by Kay Burley – something I would of never ever imagined I would do before my breakdown – I was chatting to millions of people around the world. I’ve also been featured in the Guardian, Country Diaries and the Country Life magazine, given 25 radio interviews, received a letter from Sir David Attenborough and so much more besides.
I’m now trying to help others going through mental illness by telling my story. I’ve found confidence that I never knew I had and I am far happier in myself. That little robin that day sparked something inside of me that’s literally changed my life. Nature heals.