Where I get my inner strength
To get where I am today, I have been supported by my partner, my mum, close friends, a few medical professionals. They have been there for me emotionally, financially, spiritually, when times have been tough. I’ve been diagnosed with a ‘prolactinoma’ – a benign tumour on the pituitary gland at the base of my brain – that has impacted on my physical and mental health. The past 3 years have really been taxing on my body and at certain points affected the direction I could see my career/career options/life going in. The medication I’ve been given is costly but it helps to shrink the size of it and helps with the symptoms too.
Without all of this support, I simply wouldn’t be at the place I am today. At times when I felt like giving up, they were there holding me up. Last year was a major turning point in my life and the career I’m trying to build. My Work it Out coach at Young Women’s Trust also helped me to recognise my strengths and set of skills that would help me carve out my own career opportunities.
YWT Advisory Panel has given me opportunities
I’m in employment, I’m on the YWT Advisory Panel and have been involved in some fantastic opportunities. I’m an illustrator and OCD/mental health advocate and have worked with 2 of the UK’s leading mental health charities. I see all these positive changes and it’s down to my determination as well as the incredible support I’ve had from my fiancé and my mum.
I grew up in a single-parent household, I have a lot of wider family support, but it was always me and my mum as our own little family unit. My mum has worked incredibly hard to provide for us all my life, and I know that her resilience, determination, and drive is where I get the mindset I have from.
I’m a mum-to-be now, with my first child, so I know that changes things for my future goals. I’ve spent time over the past month looking into what I’d potentially earn whilst on maternity leave and it’ll be a drop in my monthly pay. That worries me. It also means that I wouldn’t be able to take more than 9-10 months off. Maybe less. In the future I imagine I’ll probably need financial support, flexible working arrangements, support from my employer, and childcare support. I would also need medical support because of diagnosis.
Allow young women to have a voice
A number of women are hesitant to speak up in social circles, their workplace, or advocate for themselves when they need to seek medical care and I think those in leadership positions or medical staff in positions of power could do more to offer young women support. I’ve been in situations where GPs have undermined symptoms or not looked into something in enough depth until the issue gets worse.
Also, one of the simplest ways to offer support to young women is starting conversations with the young women around you – in your family, your workplace, your community. Seek to understand what their challenges are, what their concerns or worries might be.
Find out more about Young Women’s Trust’s creative work opportunities for young women