For years Gemma Hynd felt like she was locked in a prison in her own head. Now with full support in place, Gemma has been able to set up her own holistic massage therapy business.
When Gemma was in her early teens she would cry herself to sleep, but didn’t know why.
She couldn’t sit still and concentrate at school and soon became known as a problem child.
Feeling unable to communicate well with her parents, she moved out of her family home in Devon and moved to Preston, hoping for a fresh start.
But unable to get away from her own feelings, her problems returned.
She was unable to sit still in a social setting, felt extremely tired and could not hold a job down.
The 37-year-old recalls: “I couldn’t hold a job down because I couldn’t concentrate. I was very unreliable and I couldn’t remember things. When I was down, I couldn’t remember everything. I used to confuse people.
“At the drop of a hat, I would become distraught and not cope with normal stuff. I was depressed 80 per cent of the time.”
She described her behaviour as ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ and it affected her marriage, which ended up in divorce four years ago.
It was only three years ago, at the age of 32, did Gemma realise what was happening to her, as she was diagnosed with dysthymia (persistent depressive disorder) and a personality disorder.
As she started taking medication, she slowly got her life back on track.
She was given the correct support at her place of work, and she got a new diagnosis, which explained her extreme tiredness.
She is also on the waiting list for an assessment to see if she has ADHD.
She reveals: “I recently got another diagnosis which puts the last of my questions into place.
“I have joint hyper mobility syndrome and it is not well understood.
“I have to nap every couple of hours during day as my body has to work a lot harder than most as my muscles in all my joints are very weak and don’t support my body the way it is meant to. I get extreme random bouts of fatigue where I just have to rest.
“I’m in a lot of pain 24/7 but somehow manage it pretty well all considered.
“I don’t ever get relief from it and had it since before I had my son and he’s nearly 14.
“Being diagnosed with this helps make sense of why I live how I do and that I’m not lazy and that it’s not normal to be in agony all the time.
“My joints are extremely flexible which in turn has damaged the tissue and made them weak.
“I still do everything anyone else can do but it’s 10 times harder: my neck feels too weak to hold the weight of my head so I have to work extra hard using my neck muscles to stabilise it.
“My wrists and ankles are weak and I can no longer pull myself out of a swimming pool due to weak wrists and shoulders. I wanted to highlight this illness as it’s not really spoken about.”
Once the mother-of-one understood what was going on, she was able to get the correct support at work as a care assistant with Ginger Home Care.
She then decided to take the leap and quit her job to train in holistic therapy, setting up Gems Holistic Massage Therapy from her home in Stanifield Lane, Farington.
She has also signed up for a reflexology and reiki course to go along side her massaging services.
She reveals: “I worked at Ginger Home Care for five years and they supported me with my extreme tiredness, my outbursts of depression and anxiety. Everyday in between clients, I would cry so much, like I was heartbroken, but I’d ring the office and they would talk with me until I stopped crying.
“I want to thank my old working team for their understanding of the whole illnesses. It has been repetitive, every day and has been exhausting, since I was a teenager.
“Around this time, I was put on the correct medication to manage my mental health illnesses which are dysthymia, Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder (EUPD) and bipolar disorder.
“Due to managing my condition for a long period of time, I got this need to be more financially independent.
“I wanted to try my luck at a holistic massage therapy course.
“So I completed it and left my care job to start up again and work for myself and I am doing really well so far.
“Around the same time the mental health team discharged me as I no longer needed their support and had all the tools for managing my self care.
“To get to where I am now is huge. I have somehow managed to put all my experiences into my business of tranquillity to help others with their back problems and mental health.
“I still need my power nap every day to cope with balancing my mood and I still do get my days where I just can’t cope but that’s normal and those days are nothing like they used to be.
“I’m doing so well and feel stable-ish. I say that as I still have to really concentrate on pulling my mood back.
“It’s been a long journey for me with so many questions and needing answers as to why I was this way.
“I am now an independent woman with my own little business and am out of the dark and in the light with a happy future to look forward to
“I want to show that with so many things thrown my way and tackling them one by one, you can get through it and there is light at the end of the tunnel.
“I look around me and do still wonder how I’m still standing and how lucky I am to stay determined and strong and to always believe it will all be okay in the end.”
For more information, visist www.leylandonline.co.uk/business/gems-holistic-massage-therapy