JADA SEZER

29, MODEL AND AC­TIVIST

Women's Health (UK) - - STRENGTH IN NUMBERS -

‘Study­ing psy­chol­ogy and psy­chother­apy at univer­sity, I had a text­book knowl­edge about the me­chan­ics of men­tal health. But it’s only in the last year that I’ve un­der­stood my own.

When my fa­ther died four years ago, I pushed my­self to achieve in my stud­ies and at work to dis­tract from the pain. When a long-term re­la­tion­ship broke down, the anx­i­ety I’d been try­ing to out­run for years fi­nally caught up with me. As a blog­ger and cam­paigner, my job was all about con­nect­ing with peo­ple at events, but some days I was too afraid to leave the house.

It took a friend invit­ing me to a hot yoga class to turn things around. When the hour was up, I looked a mess, but felt lighter than I had done in weeks. I went back the next day – and the next. Some­thing clicked in my brain and body; I re­alised how much ex­er­cise meant to me, and it’s been a vi­tal part of my tool­kit since.

It’s been more than a year since I walked into that yoga class, and I fi­nally feel ready to open up about my jour­ney. I reg­u­larly give talks to young peo­ple about men­tal health, and I’ve never wanted my per­sonal story to out­weigh the tools I’m teach­ing them.

But I asked my­self: why am I go­ing to keep my story hid­den? I’ve learned first-hand how to take care of my mind and that’s not some­thing to keep quiet about.’ Jada is an am­bas­sador for Young Minds UK; youngminds.org.uk

‘Tak­ing care of my mind is not some­thing I’ll keep quiet’

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