This is Sarah Banks from Derbyshire and this is her story of how she keeps going…
At the age of 19, during the final year of my degree I had a breakdown and was diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety. My illness was so bad that at one point I spent most of my time in the room of the house I shared with friends. Over a 12 month period, I fought my way back, however my demons returned and I dropped out of University without completing my degree.
After moving to a new city at the age of 21, I started my first job, but my mental health problems continued and I was forced to resign. A few months later the same happened and my relationship also broke down. At this point I was alone in a new city, with no job and the prospect of homelessness.
This was a key turning point when I realised I had to get up and fight. I started a part time CLAIT course which led to me developing further skills in Microsoft Office and began to apply for jobs, whilst also getting treatment for my illness. By 2005, I had been in employment for over 12 months continuously and felt like life was back on track.
My career saw me move from working in further education, to taking on a project coordination role within education and after having my first child I took a step back to work in an administrative role at a local University.
My past mental health problems still haunted me from time to time but I was building a successful career. In 2014 I returned to work after having my second child and things weren’t quite right, our family balance was off kilter and was feeling physically and mentally ill – something had to change.
This was the pivotal point and the start of my business. By building a business that allowed me to work from home, I was able to be there for my girls, bring balance back to our family and allow myself to work in a way that supported my mental health better. It has been challenging at times, but nearly 6 years on I am now the owner of a successful online business consultancy, working with a range of clients and also have a team of associates who support me. My business has also allowed us to travel as a family and we plan to do this more by living and working abroad in the next 18 months.