The inspirational women that I have met have one thing in common. They are humble about their amazing journeys.
Most inspirational women have simply led their lives and not really stood back to appreciate how far they have travelled.
Emma Jaynes is certainly one of those inspirational women. Emma is only just beginning to realise what she has achieved and how much she has overcome.
There were many moments as I wrote up Emma’s story that my jaw dropped as I contemplated what her life must have been like.
In Part One of my Inspirational Women Blog with Emma we looked at her school days and an insight into her home life.
In Part Two we look at how self harm became a coping mechanism; and how becoming a mother to three boys was not going to stop her from commuting to Leeds from Stevenage to do her Masters Degree! …
1. From Cornwall to Japan …
Towards the end of my first year at University I was in a relationship with a University Lecturer much older than me.
Shortly after we’d started to see each other he moved to Japan to teach and wanted me to go with him.
In the summer I travelled to Japan but he turned out to be not a very nice person (a massive understatement).
While I was in Japan I started to self-harm as a coping mechanism. The physical pain kept me grounded and took the panic away. It helped to survive the mental agony of working out how I’d survive and get back to England.
When I got back the UK nothing was said about my scars and injuries at home.
2. Back to University …
I went back to University but struggled to cope.
A friend recommended a doctor who dispensed prescriptions with no questions asked.
The final straw was a night out with a friend. We’d had a great evening and said goodnight before I carried on to my house.
A guy we knew emerged from an alleyway and offered to walk me the rest of the way home. When we got back to my house he tried to attack me. I still don’t know how I found the strength to manhandle him out of the house.
That night I took an overdose of the sleeping pills that the prescription friendly GP had given me.
I really had meant to end my life, but ended up in hospital as one of my housemates happened to visit the toilet and find me collapsed in the hallway!
3. So much for counselling …
Back home I did see my own GP who arranged some counselling but it was a disaster!
The counsellor asked – ‘would you murder someone?’ – I said no, so she asked why did I think it was right to murder myself!!
I decided that I needed to take some time out from University. By this time my former Primary School Head Teacher was an advisor in the Local Education Authority. We had stayed in contact and once again she took me under her wing and found me a job working for her.
My only goal in life was to finish my degree but I needed the strength and support of friends closer to home. I transferred to Anglia Ruskin in Cambridge and completed my degree in Art History gaining a 2:1
4. Then there were five …
I met Martin through my singing. I was passionate about singing and we shared a common interest in music. Six months after we met I fell pregnant.
At the time I shared a house in Watford, which was known as the party house of Hertfordshire! Every weekend was one big party!
During the festival season I would load up the car with a tent and head off. So to suddenly find myself pregnant was a complete culture shock.
Martin was the antithesis to me – sensible, grounded and logical. We ended up having three boys in quick succession. Thinking each time it was a fluke!
My drinking became heavier between pregnancies but being pregnant was a blessing as I couldn’t stand the smell of alcohol within a mile of me!
5. Commuting to Leeds …
I wasn’t destined to be a full time mum and was desperate to return to work.
But by the time we’d paid for childcare I’d be £1 in profit! Martin said ‘no’ but I was going crazy at home.
I’d been offered a place at Leeds to do my Masters Degree but had deferred for four years. I decided now was as good a time as any to take up my place!
So began another crazy time in my life! I commuted to Leeds to do my Masters twice a week. I’d drive to the station at 4am and head up to Leeds twice a week arriving on Campus before the students in Halls! Journeys back were a booze filled jolly and crazy conversations in the smoking carriages!
6. Motherhood didn’t come easily…
I struggled with motherhood. It put me in a pigeonhole I didn’t think that I belonged to. I felt judged as a woman and a mother. I didn’t want to be labelled.
Once I’d worked out how to cope with two babies I had this ridiculous notion that one more wouldn’t make a difference!
Needless to say it impacted on me way more than I imagined and I felt incredibly trapped.
I approached parenting the same way I approached everything else in life – doing everything to perfection, which meant putting myself under immense pressure.
But at the point of having three young children I worked out that I couldn’t actually express 27 litres of milk and so I became a more natural parent.
7. At 30 years old another very rugged milestone
Martin is older than me and provided a stability I’d never experienced. I couldn’t have chosen a better father for my children. But I realised that I wasn’t really happy in my marriage. I realised that my life to this point had just ‘happened’.
My moods were all over the place and I drank myself ‘better’.
At this point I was diagnosed bi-polar, which was convenient as I could blame my drinking and moods on my diagnosis. I didn’t have a drink problem, well at least that’s what I convinced myself!
I was put on stacks of medication. I had more suicide attempts under medication under Mental Health Services than I ever had in my entire life. My drinking in this period just got worse.
8. Pizza and Cake – Life in a Psychiatric Unit
In 2009 I was admitted to a psychiatric unit. It was a great way to spend a month drugged up to the eyeballs, we would order pizza deliveries in the evening and be offered cake every day!
On my admission I couldn’t speak, or remember my name. The only thing that stuck with me from that conversation was when the doctor remarked ‘you’re doing a Masters at the moment in what subject?’ I couldn’t remember and had to ask Martin.
The doctor’s response was ‘well you do realise that you’ll probably never do anything like that again!’ It stuck with me for the right reasons…
Subconsciously the doctor’s remark became a motivation to get better. I’m still not convinced he intended it that way!!
If you missed part 1 of Emma Jayne’s story in my Inspirational Women Series of Blogs then you can read it here. In part 3 we will look at Emma’s destructive relationship with alcohol and the significance of St Patricks Day!
I would love to hear your thoughts about Emma’s remarkable story, so please share in the comments below. I would also really appreciate your shares on social media to give hope to other women who may be struggling.