Life long strategies for my mental health

Ruth has experienced periods of depression and anxiety for over five decades, though she didn’t always use these terms. She tells us how she learned to recognise her triggers and manage her mental health, and how those lessons helped during the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It began when I was 12, after a traumatic assault.

This was an incredibly difficult time in my life, because I was also dealing with the pain of my older brother dying. We’d always been close. He was my protector and even taught me the alphabet and counting when I was younger.

I can trace my love of cats to this time – getting the comfort and cuddles I needed. My actual memories are thin though, because I repressed them to protect myself. It wasn’t until ten years ago, when I passed through the town where the assault occurred, that a memory resurfaced.

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Portrait of Ruth