In early 2019, I felt like I was flying.
At just 26, I was an account director at my dream PR agency, I’d bought a beautiful house with my boyfriend and had a buzzing social life. I wore ‘busy’ like a badge of honour and loved being known as the girl who just got it done. My days started before 5am where I commuted into the city and headed straight to the gym for a gruelling workout before arriving at work for a long day of hustling. I was addicted to being the first and last person in the office and proudly referred to myself as a workaholic.
I had everything I’d ever wanted. So why was I still so deeply, profoundly sad?
That nagging question circled round and round in my mind and got progressively louder as the weeks went on. What was I doing? What was the point? What did it all mean? How could I ever be happy if what I thought was perfect turned out to be so empty? My mental health deteriorated quickly into anxiety, severe OCD and eventually I became suicidal.
So I quit.
I left my job with the intention of taking a break and then coming straight back to my career but it quickly became apparent that that wasn’t going to be an option for me. I hired a therapist and soon realised that my hustler, go-getter personality was a mask that I never even knew I was wearing.
For my entire adult life, I thought the only way to get past what I now know to call rape and emotional abuse by my first boyfriend was to act like it never happened and make sure that I could never be hurt like that again. So I set about trying to hate myself into the most successful, beautiful and strong person possible — and it worked, until it didn’t.
I was mentally and physically broken, and I realised that a high-stress, full-time role wasn’t going to give me the space I needed to attempt to recover, let alone heal — and in that moment, my business was born.
What was originally an alternative option for me to make a living has turned into the lifeline I never imagined. Logistically, it fits completely around whatever I need at that particular moment — I never have to worry about fitting in that extra therapy session, taking some time for myself if things feel heavy or shifting my focus if I feel my stress levels creeping up again.
It’s also gifted me the time to be able to focus on improving my mental and physical health. High impact, punishing workouts and skipping meals have been swapped for restorative long walks with my dog and nourishing, home-cooked food. I’m committed to a daily meditation and journaling practice to build up my self-worth and self-love that is now a priority in my morning — a far cry from rushing to get to my desk to start the daily grind again.
My business has also provided me with the space to re-learn my relationship with hard work, productivity, achievements — and stop leaning so heavily on them for validation like I did before. I’ve learned to embrace my whole self — not just the shiny, beautiful parts that I used to think were the only pieces of me that could be shown to the world. In fact — the more honest, vulnerable and authentic I’ve been, the more successful I’ve become.
Most importantly, my business has connected with so many people whose lives have been touched by a similar story to mine. My experience of trauma and mental illness left me feeling so broken, alone and in need of a friend who knew what I was going through — and I’ll be eternally grateful to Amy Williams PR for giving me the most precious gift possible.
Entrepreneurship has given me a second chance to live my life in a way that makes me happy and healthy — and it’s shown me that healing after hell is more than possible.