This is me – Jessie Howells

Isolated is a feeling people suffering with mental health know too well. Unable to truly talk about their illness, without fear of being automatically judged by people’s preconceptions of the illness. Sadly I was no exception to this rule. I have never been able to make my issues fully invisible to those around me; anxieties often finds a way to show itself. Off days are obvious and panic attracts affect my ability to concentrate. My Personal Story in O2 is less a story and more a struggle, but more of me challenging myself and conquering my anxieties.

“When I left University, I had way more confidence than when I went in.”

I was a real high point. A first class honours degree with awards to match. I finally had the chance to live without the anxieties that had plagued me through university; convincing me to hide away when I felt pressured. The freedom was undesirable. However, my freedom was short-lived. Post university depression. Something never truly understood by those around you, but is very real and hit me hard. I felt stuck in the job I was in, not being challenged but at the same time worried when work asked too much.

Leaving my old job to join O2 was a hard one, but I made the leap and so far it has hugely paid off. Whether my team know it or not they have played a huge part in my recovery. They made me instantly welcome and challenged me without making me uncomfortable or stuck. They have pushed me to face things that make me scared, sending me to Slough for training, to other stores to cover, to meetings and into new roles. I feel like I have my determination back and my sense of drive, something I lost for a while when things were most difficult. I wouldn’t be where I am now without O2 and my team. For me, to be unapologetically cheesy, the skies the limit.

My name is Jessie, I am unique, and this is me.

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