Katie shares her mental health struggles for Hunts Post campaign

Katie Ridley, a Journalist from St Neots. 

Katie Ridley, a Journalist from St Neots. - Credit: Katie Ridley

The Hunts Post spoke to Katie Ridley, a journalist from St Neots, who has shared some of her struggles with  mental health.

Katie talks openly about the problems she has faced, the support she has received and the podcast she launched to help other people who are suffering.

She said:  “Probably since the age of 13, I have struggled with anxiety and at the time I didn’t really know that it was anxiety.  

"I suffered with quite bad insomnia when I was younger and it caused anxiety for me, but at the time I didn’t know what it was.  

"So as time went on, I became more and more anxious and started having lots of panic attacks and it was quite a stressful time. 

"As I have grown up I have always had anxiety, and it has always been part of me and I have never really managed to get rid of it." 

In the end the anxiety took it’s toll on Katie and she had a mental breakdown two years ago.  "She was diagnosed with depression, which came as a shock, as she described herself as a positive person and she said she didn’t really have anything particularly bad happening in her life at the time.  Katie originally thought that something traumatic or heart-breaking must happen in someone’s life to get to this point.  She had just moved into her new flat with her boyfriend, which she explained should have been a happy time for her but instead she couldn’t deal with things mentally well at all.  “I just wanted to be on my own, I didn’t want to get out of bed, I started not enjoying going out that much.  I didn’t want to do anything and struggled to talk to people. I was functioning, but I was just putting on a brave face and finally I knew I had to get some help," she explained.She booked a doctor’s appointment but cancelled it three times before going actually going, because she was afraid.  She finally plucked up the courage to go and they gave her antidepressants and referred her for CBT Therapy.  Katie did not get on well with the antidepressants and she began to put on weight, which made her feel self-conscious.  CBT wasn’t helping her as much as she had hoped either and she it wasn’t until she met a private counsellor called Julie that Katie managed to turn her life around.  The main problem was that Katie didn’t understand that what she was experiencing was a medical condition.  She says Julie helped her to create distance from what she was feeling and the truth and that technique really helped. Katie wanted to share her experience and create awareness, so she decided to put a post on social media explaining what had happened to her. She received a lot of feedback and realised she was not alone in what she had been going through.  “So many people messaged me about the post, some people saying my wife felt that way. "She started a podcast at Black Cat Radio in St Neots that focused on mental health.  “It actually really helped me to talk about my struggles and talk to other people about it too.” 

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 It became a good outlet for Katie and for others to share their experiences.  Katie said: “If your struggling with your mental health and are finding it hard to express how you are feeling, try writing it in a text message to somebody.  

That way you can pinpoint what you want to say, as it is so important to keep up communication with friends and family.” 

Katie's podcast is called: What Next?