May is mental health awareness month. A time to share experiences and challenge stigma.And one thing you are sure to hear is someone to say: it is time to talk.Being vulnerable about your mental health can be beneficial and aid recovery, but to be brave and start a conversation often feels impossible.It did for me.My diagnosis with post-natal depression and anxiety took me by surprise. I didn't know what it meant. I felt ashamed and afraid of how others would react.Better to deal with this in private and keep my friends, than be honest and risk losing them, I thought.But...

Two weeks ago I sprained my ankle. I was exercising at home and for no obvious reason, maybe I wasn't fully paying attention, maybe I was being a little gung-ho, I went over on my ankle and fell to the ground. As I fell I heard a loud snapping sound, turning my stomach and convincing me it was broken. I shouted, a lot and loudly. Then I tentatively undid my trainer, eased my foot out and removed my sock. I watched, with fascination as my ankle doubled in size before my eyes.I was in pain and I was angry. This was...

It is New Year's Day.We are in Auckland, New Zealand and have stumbled across an international tennis tournament. The tournament is not under the radar, but we do not follow the annual tennis schedule so, to us, it feels like a gift. The luxury of no other plans allows us to stroll down, wait in line, buy tickets and take our seats to watch some of the world's best female tennis players. Such joy.As we wait for play to begin my mind wanders through the possibilities the coming year holds. I am relaxed, happy, looking forward. It occurs to me;...

You have permission to make a changeI am giving it to you.Not that you need me to.You were already allowed.If something is not how you want it to be, if you are not getting what you need, if something else would make you happier, you are allowed to change it. You are allowed to try something else. You are allowed to quit, or have a go, or say no this time even though you have always said yes.You have permission to make a change.Life is big and busy and full and it can feel easier to stick with the status...

Maintaining good mental health can be hard work.I didn't manage it, and when my third child was a few months old I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety.I had probably been anxious for 5 years by then, since my first baby was born in 2004. In those days mental health was not something that was discussed often. I hadn't realised what was going on and had assumed I was weak and needed to pull myself together, everyone else seemed to be able to cope - so why couldn't I?But it turns out I wasn't weak, I was ill.There is a difference....

When things are taking their ordinary course, it is hard to remember what matters. There are so many things you would never think to tell anyone.  And I believe they may be the things that mean most to you...

In the Summer my 11 year old daughter went to a drama club. This club was being run by one of the original cast members of Matilda (the musical) and another actor who I knew from my time working as a theatre director.As I dropped child number 2 off for her day of fun, I got chatting with my actor friend. Our conversation ambled along predictable lines while I propelled my son back to the car. Soon enough he asked me if I was still working in the theatre. I told him no, that just over a year ago I...

A few weeks ago I wrote a letter to my strong, exhausted friend. (You can read it here.)At so many points in my life I have been the person who needed to read that letter, and often still am.But I am re-learning how to live and a large part of this has involved re-discovering how to rest.I know rest is important, and yet I don't make it a priority. It gets squeezed out. I find myself exhausted, falling into bed either to sleep fitfully or to lie awake aware of all I still need to do but haven't managed to...

Do you feel you are constantly on the hook?It's a strange phrase - think - the opposite of 'off the hook'.Being caught on the hook makes you feel culpable, or guilty, as though you can never relax or let go.In recent years letting myself off the hook has been an idea I have become very attached to. I like the idea that I am freeing myself from...