We first were introduced to the amazing HJ when she spoke at the Be.Nips ‘Children and Mental Health Seminar‘ event at Widcombe Social Club earlier this year, and have been following her with great admiration ever since. In this first part of her story Hannah-Jayne gives us an introduction to her life and the complexities of living with anxiety from an early age…

A small introduction.

I’m HJ. A short-haired, blue-eyed whirlwind addicted to campaigning within the mental health & wellbeing sector. I do this through public speaking, writing, and volunteering my spare time to mental health companies.

The stories I tell from the journey I’m on, come from a deeply personal place. I had a good childhood, but one that was riddled with puddles on the path to wellness. From two years old, my family were concerned of my developmental abilities, and by the age of four we started the quest for a diagnosis. I couldn’t attend school, I was scared of almost everything, and nothing in life made much sense to me. I was somewhat robbed of a care-free childhood. At eleven I was diagnosed with a severe Anxiety Disorder, and we finally started receiving the right help from the right professionals.

However, in my mind it took far too many years, and far too much pain for everyone involved.

With thanks to the tenacity of my caring family, the hope and hard work they imbedded in my veins and a handful, from hundreds, of professionals, I can call my adult life a fairly successful one, and one fully integrated into ‘mainstream societal living’. With this luxury, I now campaign for children so no other family gets labelled to having ‘just a naughty child’, and I campaign as an adult to give a slice of hope to anyone relating to anything I go or have gone through.

My objective in life is to kill the stigma surrounding mental health, to raise awareness in every walk of life, and to improve people’s emotional intelligence. Absolutely everyone has a mental health, it runs alongside your physical one. If you deny yourself a mental health, you deny yourself a mind. I hope to see schools teach less of the Pythagorean Theorem, and more about the complexity of our own selves.

I first lectured on my personal experience when I was seventeen years old. Since then, the need for a voice has escalated. After speaking about my diagnosis on the TV programme ‘First Dates’ I was inundated with hundreds of requests and messages saying, ‘I thought I was the only one’. Since this uplift, I have been on the radio, written for publications, facilitated workshops, campaigned for Men’s mental health, Women’s ante/peri &postnatal health, and spoken to hundreds at debates, lectures and seminars. I regularly use Instagram to voice my stories and thoughts (hannahjayne_1990) as a desire to make social media more real until my website is ready. I want to spread the word to everyone, in every profession – no stone is to be left unturned.

My journey, as everyone’s is, is imperfect and continual. I am forever learning on a human level, and I share my thoughts, mistakes and feelings as I go, to whoever will listen. I am addicted to people, their thoughts, their darkest secrets, what crushes their hearts and what ignites them too. I am a huge believer in there being so much more than to be ‘just happy’, but to actually validate all our emotions, good and bad, and still have the self-regulation to be ‘very well’.

I’m here to tell you the story of a girl obsessed with the mind from the very beginning. I hope you’ll enjoy listening.

Find out more about Hannah-Jayne’s life and living with anxiety in the second part of her deeply moving and personal story coming soon…