Baby Steps, Big Dreams: Journey to my mental health recovery

So I haven’t posted in a while (a year and a half ago eek!) but I have been taking time to blog on my own personal life. Truth is, this year really hasn’t been easy and to know I have made it through and to still be at university is a blessing.

A lot has changed since the last time I blogged, especially as last year I was diagnosed with depression.

I had always been prone to problems related to anxiety but it had never really dawned on me that depression would be the root cause of how I was feeling. After placement last year, I struggled a lot. I was ill for the first week with continuous bouts of tonsillitis. It was only when I got home in summer that things really started to go downhill. I was so lethargic and I didn’t really manage to get out of bed to work. From someone who was so sociable, smiley and friendly, I became tired, overly emotional and a recluse. The point I am trying to make is mental health issues do not discriminate and what I have learned from this is to never judge a book by its cover.

I knew that things weren’t okay, I just didn’t have the motivation or energy to do anything about it. It actually ended up being family members that spoke to me about it as they were extremely worried about my well-being. I am speaking about this on such an open forum, not for sympathy, but to share my story in the hope that others can relate and not feel isolated in what they are going through.

Furthermore, I have created an Instagram account (@babystepsbigdreams) and started up my own website ( to share my own personal experience with depression and to document my road to recovery.

The response has been incredible so far with folk from all over messaging me in with their stories of recovery. I want to be as positive an influence I can on a topic that affects so many people. I also feel that opening up the forum in Orkney is what’s been needed for a long time. To feel like I am not alone for the first time in years has truly helped me in so many ways, but as well, it has helped others to not feel alone either. That was the sole purpose of why I wanted to go public with my story. I do not want it to define me because I know, with the help and support that I have received that I will get there, in time. I have a lot of aims that I have made recently and one of them is to make sure that I take care of myself more. Not get stressed over little things, let things go and not be so hard on myself.

However things haven’t all been doom and gloom! For one, I can definitely take some positives from my experience but also…


Something I never ever thought I would achieve! So the camp I am heading to is Camp Kennebec and it is for kids and teens with special needs, learning disabilities, and developmental delays including autism, Asperger’s, ADHD, ADD, Down Syndrome, OCD, brain injury, anxiety, social skill and other challenges. This is going to be such a special experience for me and I honestly can’t explain how excited I am to go! New challenges, conquering fears and having fun are all up on the tick list!

The message I want to send out today is its okay to not be okay, its okay to take time out for yourself and I cannot stress the importance enough of having good, supportive people around you. Little things like organizing your room, getting up and getting out and seeing friends is all part of getting through each day. Its the little things in life that count. Without the support system I’ve had from both the university and outwith, I don’t know where I would be. Everything takes time and it won’t happen overnight. Do what you need to make your life yours again and to make yourself feel like you ♥

The view from my new flat for next year – onwards and upwards!

My next post is going to be reflecting on my feelings surrounding our brand new Education and Social Work society, which is now up and running! I was fortunate to be voted in as president for this year so I look forward to writing up about it all soon!

So for now, lots of love and take care,

Gemma ♥





3 thoughts on “Baby Steps, Big Dreams: Journey to my mental health recovery

  1. Linda Lapere

    Thank you so much for sharing this Gemma! You are such an inspiration and I am glad to hear that you have such good support and have lots of exciting plans! Love your proactivity with your blog, website and Instagram. This may not be required, but if there’s anything I can do to help at any point, just ask.

    1. Gemma Harcus Post author

      Thankyou Linda, it means the world to have the university’s support and I am so thankful for that!

  2. Derek Robertson

    Seems a little bit low key and understated to say thank you for sharing this Gemma but, thank you. Yes, it is ok to not feel ok but it is good to share that with trusted people if you are ready to. I no doubt speak for all my colleagues in saying this, just let us know if there is anything we can do to help in future. That goes for all students. Thank you again.

Comments are closed.