Gemma Bird: ‘I Didn’t Think I’d Ever Be Able To Rebuild My Life, I Thought I’d Had My Lot’

After opening up about her mental health on Instagram, the influencer was overwhelmed by the response. Here she opens up about her daily struggle.

Gemma Bird Money Mum mental health

by Gemma Bird |
Updated on

‘You might look at me and think ‘she’s got her life together’… 42, married, have two kids, a great career and a mortgage-free life. On paper everything’s perfect, right? Well, that’s far from the truth.

What many people don’t know is I struggle with severe mental health problems. I’m on medication to help manage it, but it’s a battle. There are days when simply getting out of bed feels impossible. I wake up feeling trapped inside my own thoughts, I don’t want to face the world, and even if I could, I can’t think where to start. Should I go for a walk? Put makeup on? Tend to the chores? It can be really overwhelming.

In my line of work as a social media influencer, I’m privileged to have connections with many different people from every corner the UK. As my focus is on money and saving (something which intersects with so many areas of life - health, housing, education, leisure just to name a few), I often get DMs from people who are struggling mentally with such pressures. I know what it feels like and understand how money worries can exacerbate things even more.

My social media makes me look like I have all the answers and despite the fact it helps people (which I love) it’s also a way for me to manage my anxiety and overthinking. It gives me a sense of control. Remember, social media can be deceiving. It’s a square, a 15 second story. It shows a snapshot of a day, but what about the other 23 hours, 59 minutes and 45 seconds? I’m so passionate about making social media a safe space. Especially for people with money troubles and mental health battles who use these corners of the internet as an escape, like myself. Instead of trolling or leaving hurtful comments, we have an opportunity to be uplifting, supportive, and to share experiences.

I was 29 when I got divorced and had to move back in with my mum - it was one of the lowest points of my life so far. I hadn’t just lost my husband, I’d lost my chance to have children… and the strangest part is, I didn’t even realise I wanted to have a child until I felt like the option was taken away from me. It really hit me hard and I almost used it as an excuse for my mental health issues.

Things have changed since then, I’m now lucky enough to have met, and had children with, the man of my dreams and yet I still have my dark days. This has made me understand that mental health doesn’t discriminate. You can have it all; materially, emotionally, physically, and still battle internally. And so, to those suffering with their mental health, I want to tell you, from experience, no matter how dark you feel, no matter how far the light at the end of the tunnel seems, things can get better and there are tools you can put in place to help bring about those changes.

I didn’t think I’d ever be able to rebuild my life, I thought I’d had my lot. But after a lot of trial and error, I figured out what worked for me. I realised talking and sharing my experiences with others took some of the weight off and made me feel less alone. Surrounding myself with people who bring joy and laughter into my life, taking walks and enjoying a really great coffee. - these are some of the little things that bring burst of happiness to my life.

You can lose it all at 37 and discover new parts of yourself at 50. Life has no age limit. Sometimes, things fall into place later in life, just like they did for me.

The key message is, whether it’s debt-related or brain-related, it’s so good to share your problems. Talk to someone, whether it’s a friend, family member, or an organisation like Mind or Step Change. One thing I can promise is sitting in silence will not help. There will always be someone who will listen and help you. Know you are not alone. Keep putting one foot in front of the other and you can get to where you want to go.’

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