Personal stories of reclaiming life from mental ill health

Rachel: Light bulb moment

I think you can even manage amazing things when you are feeling wobbly. I’m loving every single second

I wanted to make a positive change in the world. I wanted lots of teachers to be inspired. I didn’t really imagine the book taking on as much momentum as it did. It started off as a little project and turned into something I had to sign the world rights away for. I suppose it’s like parenting – you get used to each new stage. If someone handed you a two-year old instead of a newborn, then no one would want babies! In the same way although it was a lot of pressure, I felt like I was doing some good, so it was worth the stress. A charity book felt right. Technically all I did was put it together. I was lucky that all the contributors agreed to waive their fee.  I picked [a charity] with no dubious political affiliations. Action for Children  do good work with food banks in schools – hard to argue with that.


Everyone [at the book launch] was amazing. Seeing how happy they were to have contributed and how pleased they were with ‘Don’t Change The Light Bulbs’ will stay with me for the rest of my life. Ian Fordham from the Education Foundation did a lovely speech which made me all teary, but really all the hugs from the contributors, who I really rate, made my night. Having [Nic, my] wonderful friend there made it much less scary. She keeps me calm when I get stressed by telling me to ‘Suck it up Princess! She is ace.

I think without social media I would still be sat in my classroom feeling pretty isolated. Professionally, it has given me many opportunities. I would not have done any writing at all, otherwise.  I think though part of using it as a professional is knowing when to draw the line and turn your phone off. A DM or tweet can wait, often my boys cannot.


This academic year is busy, I’m writing my own book and I may have agreed to do another ‘Lightbulbs’ [compilation] book. I’ve got [various] conferences to plan for as well as the actual job that I get paid for. If you feel well enough to do something then you can. I think you can even manage amazing things when you are feeling wobbly. I’m loving every single second. Well, all the time I’m not worrying about not being good enough…


Rachel: Light bulb moment