The second of our #maternalMHmatters interviews is with Personal Trainer Kay Tinsley. A single mother of 1 living in Glasgow who has struggled with her own mental health for many years. As well as being a personal trainer Kay also runs her own business Nachorattie selling handcrafted jewellery.
What is your experience with mental health?
I’ve suffered with poor mental health since I was in my early teens. I was always a worrier and had a deep fear of not being accepted in all aspects of life. If I failed at something, even something small, my thoughts would spiral out of control and suddenly I felt like I had failed at life as a whole. I worried about everything and would overthink every tiny detail. Catastrophising every scenario. I’d spend weeks in a depression and not want to leave my room. Sometimes I wouldn’t eat and sometimes I would eat too much. I’d sit on the edge of my bed rocking back and forth watching day turn to night and fall in and out of sleep.
When did you know something wasn’t right?
I knew when I started having suicidal thoughts in my early 20’s. Life got far too much for me. My relationship at the time ended badly, my friendships were crumbling, I was stuck in a rut with work and family relationships weren’t the best either.
Did you seek out professional support?
I got prescribed a course of medication, which really I didn’t feel an effect from and just breezed in and out of depressions for years after. Tried counselling and CBT. Sometimes it would help, but more often than not, it made no difference to me.
How did you find asking for help?
I had no problem asking for professional help, I knew there was something wrong but I didn’t go to friends or family much. I felt like my family didn’t understand and it would just make me feel worse. They thought that I could just snap out of it.
What informal support did you seek?
I didn’t really seek any kind of informal support, I felt like I was just a burden on those around me. I tried to get myself out of it by using distractions, like forcing myself out my home for a while or looking at “happy’ things on the net. I used to keep an album of pictures in my phone that I would call upon in my darkest times to remind me that there was some good out there.
How are things different now?
Having been depression free for a few years now, but very much more anxious than anything else, I decided one day that enough was enough. I was going to stop just existing as a person and and do something for me, so I went on a weight loss track. A few weeks in I started working out at the local gym and got some sessions organised with a personal trainer. I started to see changes in my body and it gave me a positive outlook for a change. I realised that I no longer had to take any anxiety medication and any time I felt stressed I hit the gym instead. I later went on to study to become a personal trainer myself and upon passing my exams started working in the gym I trained in all along and I’m now working towards specialising in Pre and Post Natal Exercise. I haven’t had an anxiety attack for months, and on the rare occasion it does happen, I’ve learned to control them better.
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If you’re struggling and in need of support I have begun to compile a list of supportive links via my SUPPORT page but you will find a larger more comprehensive list over at PNDandME‘s page. Below is also a map of support services in Scotland.