St Annes mum Emma Ball hopes she can share her secrets for mental health recovery with as many people as possible.
The 28-year-old recently held a launch event to mark the publishing of her book Stairway to Happiness.
The book contains worksheets and exercises used by Emma herself, which she hopes will make a difference to the lives of others too. After using the techniques successfully, she shared them online in a blog and on her website last year and received such positive feedback, she decided to put them together into a book. The book, which contains 10 sections, is available to buy, but Emma has hopes it could one day perhaps be given for free to patients on the NHS.
Emma suffered for around 10 years with mental health issues – including grieving, eating disorder, severe anxiety and severe depression.
She said: “After going through my own mental health illnesses, I took it upon myself to get better. Lots of planning and self-work, that has truly enabled me to heal and have a very happy and healthy life. A life that mental health illnesses make you feel is impossible to achieve.
“I felt I could not get the help, so I would help myself. Waiting lists for counselling are very long. People sometimes feel the only way to stop it is to die, but I have a little girl and I knew I had to find another way to make it stop.
“I started writing, every day, how I felt, what I was struggling with. I just did that with every single issue. I had developed agoraphobia and at that point, I could not go out. It was about finding a way to make me feel more comfortable. I used the worksheets in the book for around two or three years. My anxiety started to reduce and I was able to go out and socialise.
“I’ve trialled them and am proof they work. I put them on my website and people worked with them and were seeing differences. When I got good feedback, I thought they could help more people, so condensed it all in the book.
“I believe medication is just a part of recovery. Due to the long waiting periods for counselling in the NHS, I have dreams and hopes to get my material into doctors’ surgeries to help people start working on their mental health. There’s all the stigma and I want to help break that down.”
Emma has also set up a mental health walking group, to allow people with mental health illnesses to get together and meet others in similar circumstances, and experience the benefits of walking and fresh air.