Back in 2011, I was feeling just a little jaded, having only a couple of years before crashing out of a 30-year corporate career. I had lost all confidence; my self-esteem was zero; my trust of others extremely low, and my recovery journey was just starting!

I typed ‘Time to Change’ into Google, as, at the time, I wanted that to happen, and up popped Time to Change (at that time, it only existed in England). 

I was informed by the organisation that, while I could do the training, I couldn’t volunteer for them, as I lived in Wales; however, they would keep me updated, as Time to Change Wales was going to begin in the very near future. 

‘I was not alone feeling the way I did’ 

I did the training and, for the first time, I entered a room where I understood it was okay to talk about my experience and how I was not alone feeling the way I did. 

Fast forward to 2012, and they did indeed keep me updated as promised. I was invited to attend the very first session of training with Time to Change Wales. I loved it. I was made to feel so welcome and was encouraged to share my story to help others.

‘I felt my confidence lift’

I remember doing my first Champion talk to a housing association in Cwmbran, and, at that moment, I felt my confidence lift. 

I was supported by the then-programme lead and felt her holding my hand the whole way through. I shakily shared the story of my burnout and how the stigma/discrimination in the workplace had aided that diagnosis which, in turn, had left me with the clinical depression and severe anxiety I was then having to battle.

‘I had my own mountain to share’

I am so proud to say that, 10 years on, I remain an active Time to Change Champion, stepping in where I can to help, doing talks and encouraging others to get involved. Over this time, I have done hundreds of talks (I celebrated my 100th in 2016!) to many audiences large and small. 

I have many highlights, but one was following Sir Randolph Fiennes onto the stage at a Welsh Water Board conference, where I discovered that, while I hadn’t climbed Everest, I had indeed my own mountain to share. 

‘Always standing in my corner’

Being a Time to Change Wales Champion helped me to rebuild my confidence and self-esteem. The people I have met have encouraged me every step of the way. Even when I had shaky moments, they have always been standing in my corner. I am so grateful for the support I have been given which has led me to help many others with my own story.

The biggest compliment I get is when a member of the audience says to me at the end, “Because of you I am going to reach out for help. Thank you”.

Today my thanks goes to the team present and past for all that you have given me. It has and continues to be one of the greatest experiences on my journey to recovery.

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