Our impact Blogs What Doesn't Kill you Makes You Stronger Writing blogs like this to share my struggles with Mental Health gives me a sense of purpose again. I hope to write many more pieces in the future. If I can help other people with my writing then all the better. Anxiety and me The school years From childhood, I never felt like I fitted in with the world. I was a very anxious child, never really had many friends at school and struggled with being shy all the time. I had very low self esteem and always felt like the other people in my class at school were laughing at me because I was so quiet. I remember once in secondary school being bullied because some girls in my class were laughing because one of their older brothers thought I was attractive in a class photo and that it was highly amusing to them that someone so shy and quiet who was seen as 'different' would be fancied by someone. This really knocked my confidence and I remember running out of the class in tears once hiding in the girls toilets because I felt so humiliated. From then on, I never went out to school discos or did the things that teenagers usually did. I never had a boyfriend at school and most of the time I stayed indoors and never socialised with other people in or out of school. I just wanted to hide from the rest of the world in case I got laughed at again. My 20s This continued for most of my teenage years and then at the age of 20 I joined a social group in my local town for people who struggle to make friends and to meet new people. This is where I met my late husband. David was my first boyfriend. He too struggled with being quiet but we got to know each other and started going out in 2001. We were together for 5 years when we got engaged and then married in 2007. I remember the feeling of finally finding happiness and having someone who cared and loved me for me. He was the kindest and most caring man I had ever met. In 2008 I suffered a nervous breakdown. For years I hid my anxiety and how much I struggled with my low self esteem and anxiety. I ended up as an inpatient for treatment that year for a few weeks. My husband was there for me all the time and helped me through my lowest point in my life. This is I think was a turning point for me. Up until then I never talked to anyone how I was feeling and realised I needed to open up more if I was to get better. This was the start of the long road to recovery. I had several years of therapy and went along to The Hub in Tunbridge Wells. This was a lifeline to me in my recovery and I am eternally grateful for all the support I received there in 2008/2009. Tragedy in my 30s My husband and I were happily married for 6 years when tragedy struck in 2013. He was having pain for several months in his neck and back but no one really knew what the cause was. He steadily got worse and it wasn't until the day before he died that he was taken to hospital and we found out what was wrong. He had an aggressive cancer which had spread throughout his skeleton. He very suddenly took a turn for the worse and passed away the next day at just 37. This was the worst day of my life. I thought my life was over and I would never get through this. I was 33 and suddenly a widow alone in the world. I felt the huge sense of loneliness and anxiety all over again. I do believe though that my late husband's death has made me a stronger person and I am forever changed because of what I have been through. My breakdown in 2008 made me more resilient and able to cope with things better. Even though I was in deep shock over how quick he passed away, I believe I am the person I am today because of him. I have changed my outlook on life and even though I will always struggle with anxiety, it has made me realise how much I can cope with in life. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. The Road to recovery The last 8 years since my husband passed away in 2013 has started me on a road of recovery and self awareness and discovery. I have learnt more about myself in the last 8 years than I have for the last 30 years previously. David's death is something I will never get over, but I am slowly learning to live with it and come to a place of acceptance over my loss.