Hannah's Story

Hannah's Story

'It’s true when they say exercise releases endorphins, cos it does, it’s like a happy hormone.'

Hannah has lived with mental health problems since she was a child, spending occasional stints in psychiatric hospitals starting in her teens. Because of her depression, she has often felt demotivated and low, with exercise being the last thing she’d like to do. Happily, Hayz encouraged her to move more, even if just a little, and get out of the house. What started as going on short walks has gradually progressed to a range of activities that Hannah enjoys doing and helps manage her conditions.

Hi, I'm Hannah, I live in Southend-on-Sea and I'm 31 years old. But I know I only look like 22. I live with a mental health illness, mainly depression and also self-harm. I was around 8-9 years old when I was first introduced to the community mental health system. And then from the age of 14, a few days after my 14th birthday I was admitted to a child/adolescent psychiatric hospital. Living with these conditions, some days I almost feel as if I couldn't see the light of the next day. I was put on medication and I subsequently put on a lot of weight. Throughout my life I've often thought "I wish I could do this, I wish I could do that" but my weight's stopped me. And sometimes my motivation would stop me because I didn't feel like able to do it. So recently I have taken up walking. It makes me feel so much better, it makes me feel fresh and rejuvenated. It's true when they say exercise releases endorphins, cos it does, it's like a happy hormone. I prefer going on walks with my partner than I do by myself. She's amazing, she doesn't just motivate me to get out, she motivates me while I'm walking. And I'm like, "Ahh I need to stop." And she's like "Come on babe, you can do this." And it makes me think, yeah I can do this, I can go a bit further. We've done some tennis and we actually really enjoyed that. You just feel like you can conquer the world after you've had a game, an hour of tennis. Also you feel like you're about to die [laughs] but you feel really good.

We were supposed to get married on the 5th July this year but because of COVID it didn't happen so we had to put it back. I've actually dealt quite well with COVID. While you weren't allowed to see anyone, you weren't allowed to be in different households and things like that, I found that difficult because I missed my dad. My cats, we've got 4. I know it sounds silly but they really help my mental health. Lola had, at the beginning of COVID, a litter of 5 kittens, so that kept me very busy. And I play acoustic guitar and sing. When I'm playing or when I'm singing, it's, if I'm honest, it's the only time I don't hear my voices. It's just, it's peaceful, it's lovely.

Being undefeatable means to me to be empowered and taking your own goals and choices into your own hands and not letting anyone else define them for you.

How Hannah Gets Moving

Hannah lives near a park, which she enjoys getting out for a walk in – helping to clear her head and improve her mood that day. Hannah occasionally has to pause and sit for a rest when she's out, but with a little bit of support and encouragement she’s able to get back up when she’s ready and go a little further. She also enjoys playing games of tennis on the public courts, which is always fun, even if sometimes exhausting!

Related Resources

Here are some resources related to Hannah’s story about moving more:

Rethink Mental Illness - Mental illness and being active

Mind - Physical activity and your mental health