Sara's brave admission
Sara (51) is someone I feel privileged to call my friend. Not only has she reached the very top of her profession - becoming a company CEO - she has also been admirably open about her mental health problems, and in doing so has initiated and encouraged vital conversations about recognising mental health issues in the workplace. As inspiring as she is brilliant and lovely.
"In my 30s I worked ridiculously hard and ended up suffering from anxiety and then depression. I wasn’t ill the whole time, but there were patches when I felt incredibly flat and couldn’t get any enjoyment or excitement out of anything. The best description of depression I’ve ever read was ‘It’s not feeling, it’s the absence of feeling’. That’s exactly what it was like for me. I did eventually get help in my 40s and have had very good help over time, both with therapy and anti-depressants.
I had ridden a lot as a child and when I started again I was at a stage when work had taken up a lot of life and I’d started to feel physically unconfident. So I went back to riding and I loved it again immediately. It was so emotionally uplifting and made me remember that I can be brave and also really determined and focused. It also helped me to get stronger and fitter, and to realise that even though I’d had these problems, it wasn’t because I was a weak person, I was actually a brave person. That was really, really good for me.
I realised that even though I'd had these problems it wasn't because I was weak, I was actually brave
I bought my first horse when I was 42 and it’s honestly the thing in my life I’m most proud of. Horses are so trainable. Personality-wise they’re actually a bit like dogs, except they don’t live with you! They’re very loyal, and loving.
I have hurt myself quite a lot through riding. I’ve probably fallen off more often than was absolutely necessary. I realise that either makes me very brave, or really quite stupid! Clearly aversion therapy doesn’t work on me at all!"