‘I have to work hard at being happy’
‘Most people won’t understand what it’s like to want to die. I do. Now that I feel well, saying those words feels alien.
I grew up with a violent father and I thought it normal for my stomach to churn with fear. I self-harmed as a teen, and when I was 17, my older sister died. For the first time, I considered suicide because I wanted to be with her. But the thought of Mum having to bury two daughters stopped me. I put pressure on myself to live for both of us.
I was a successful businesswoman by 23 – I only applied to The Apprentice in 2006 to prove my dad wrong and have an experience my sister couldn’t. But instead of celebrating, I had an identity crisis. I’d achieved my goal but had no idea what to live for.
It was the start of a dark time. I was lucky to have enough savings to take some time out but, years later, after the end of a toxic relationship, I turned up at my mum’s house and said I couldn’t live with the pain any more.
I had weekly check-ins with my GP, more therapy and antidepressants. My friend moved in with me, too, because I was too high a suicide risk to be alone.
I did get better, but I’ve had suicidal thoughts since that episode. I’m now conscious of my thoughts and endeavour to be positive. Now I work with people who are suicidal and I ask them: ‘Do you want to end your life or end your current circumstances?’ It might be long, hard and challenging, but circumstances can change.’