About the author

I thought about my future, about what I would be doing with my life at the age of 50. As an aged 30-something marketing professional, I simply couldn’t imagine myself spending decades longer working on marketing campaigns, no matter how successful they were.

It was a couple of years ago when I started examining my feelings about my career; this coincided with returning to work after going on maternity leave with my daughter.

Enjoying the Brighton seafront with my daughter.

The first time I said my thoughts out loud, I was battling gale force winds and driving rain on the Watkin Path in Snowdonia, talking to a complete stranger, who – like me – was mad enough to join a Love Her Wild excursion to North Wales despite the adverse conditions.

Would you believe this was in August? It was certainly memorable.

In a strange twist of fate, she had also been working in marketing, and decided to take a risk and change her career to one which was more fulfilling on a personal level. I was in awe of her bravery; having to start at the bottom and, inevitably, make less money than she previously was.

But it spoke to me. So I spoke to her. I shared how I was also feeling disillusioned with the feeling of putting money in the pockets of corporate companies, and always feeling stressed and busy with projects that were fairly inconsequential in the grand scheme of things.

It wasn’t until months later that I had a (drunken) conversation with my husband, that some of the pieces started falling into place. We were speaking about his passion for people management, and how his job role had fundamentally changed in his time with his employer – but for the better. He was doing less of the work that he found repetitive and dry, and instead, started adding value by caring about people and progression.

A drunken decision that I didn’t regret – taking hold of my future.

By the time I’d had my second seventh cocktail, I was probably talking a lot of shit. But one of the things I do remember saying, was “Wow, I’m so jealous that you get to do more of what you’re passionate about.” And within seconds, I then said “maybe I should just do that too”. And as they say: that was that.

I applied for a counselling skills diploma course with my local college (some distance learning courses are free for adults!) and then registered my interest with a university that had a course I thought would be a great match for me, with the benefit of being available on a part time basis. Perfect for a working mum.

It was an MSc in Nursing (Mental Health) and I thought the chances of me getting a place on the course would be slim to none, based on my highly irrelevant BA in Journalism, and a decade working in the marketing industry. To my surprise, I was invited to an interview, and later found out I was offered a place. Wow.

So that brings me to the question of “why mental health?”. Why the hell not? We all struggle with it at some point, whether we keep it to ourselves, or share our stories with people we trust – family, a friend, or a professional. I hate the idea of people falling through the gaps though, something which happened to me when I tried to access counselling services for my anxiety and depression.

I didn’t expect to end up in A&E, but mental health can be unpredictable.

The mental health nursing degree will open up a career for me in an area that will (hopefully) make a difference to other people at their time of need, whilst I will also be able to confidently say that my work fulfils my desire to do something meaningful and human-focused.

This website is the by-product of my journey. It doesn’t seek to give you the answers, it just gives us a space to talk, listen and discuss. I’ll share my own stories, and some of yours too. I’ll highlight some resources, books and activities I’ve found to be important in my own life. But mostly, think of me as your friend and remember that you aren’t alone, regardless of what you’re going through.

I’m a big believer in spending time outdoors in nature.

Keep talking. Keep breathing.

Hannah x