As many of you already know, I suffer from a mental health disorder which has rendered me housebound until pretty recently. I have anxiety disorder which I am currently working on recovering from, but for the majority of the last 3 years it has left me having horrendous panic attacks at the thought of going anywhere other than my own home, and my safe places such as friends houses etc.
This all started when I was bullied out of a job in 2009 and progressively has gotten worse and worse, and due to this disorder, I haven't worked in a "conventional" work environment since then, and have chosen to start my own business and become self employed.
It's been really difficult, but I'm coming out of the other side and I'm just very grateful to still be here thanks to the support of my family and friends. I almost didn't make it.
For the last year or so, I have decided to really focus my efforts on creating the life for myself that I want. For me, this means being happy, getting my independence back by learning to drive, building my business into a successful brand and owning my own home which I can fill with laughter and lots of animals. I dream of having a home with a garden where I can grown vegetables, look after my family in and enjoy cooking meals in a gorgeous kitchen, but mostly, I just dream of living a normal life.
Since starting this business in January 2013, I knew that I wanted to include dog grooming as one of the services that we offer, but I didn't know how I was going to be able to do this whilst still battling with my disorder. After my successful Crowdfunder campaign to fund my grooming course which I will be starting in January (how exciting!) I decided that I was really going to have to push myself if I wanted to get better and make my dreams a reality. I wrote to several grooming salons near me and asked if I could come in and do some work experience for a few days.
When I wrote that email, I had no idea how I would physically step foot out of the house, should any of them accept my request, but I knew that this was what I truly wanted and I would find a way to do it, no matter what.
A few weeks went by and I hadn't heard from anyone that I had contacted so I just assumed that it wasn't going to happen at this time, and that I would email them all again in a few months time. Groomers are really busy in the summer months and I thought that they just might not have the time to take me on.
Then I received an email from the lovely Suzy Bradley from The Groom Room, Windsor and she told me that I could come and spend a week there. I was so excited but also really nervous.
I completed my week long work experience on Saturday and I'm so pleased that I was brave enough to do it. I learnt so much in my week there and the girls were so lovely and helpful. It's actually cemented my view that this is what I want to do with my life and I can't wait to own a salon of my own.
If you had said to me even 6 months ago that I would have completed a weeks work experience with strangers in an unfamiliar place I would have thought you were crazy. I still can't quite believe that I've actually done it, and looking back on the week it does seem like a bit of a blur.
It just goes to show that if you are determined you can achieve anything, and it's like I always say - DREAM BIG!
I would like to say a HUGE Thank You to Suzy and all of the girls at The Groom Room for letting me into their family and giving me a chance to experience life as a groomer. Thank you for believing in me.