Joanne Quinn, Founding Director of With You in Mind
Supporting mental health and wellbeing
Last year I was diagnosed with a rare form of migraine that meant I collapsed regularly, became temporarily paralysed and sometimes lost the ability to speak. My condition got to a point where a few days couldn’t go by without something happening. It felt like I was living on a knife edge and it was an extremely difficult time not just for me, but for my husband and three children.
The only reasons the neurologist could give for why this was happening to me was that it was age and stress-related. I was only 45 and a director within a global PLC, but I didn’t feel any overwhelm from my career. Personally, I had three school-aged children to take care of (one of whom has ADHD) and was providing emotional support to my mother, who cares for my father who has dementia. Life was busy, but I felt I was managing everything well.
My experience completely changed my outlook and when I got the migraines under control through a combination of prescribed medication, cutting out caffeine and alcohol, being more mindful and taking up yoga, I realised I hadn’t been focusing on my own wellbeing.
Having returned to work part time, I began experiencing a lot of anxiety after going through the migraines. Even small things at work were a trigger and I knew the time had come to do something different. My employers, who had been supportive throughout, fully understood my decision to leave.
Following my recovery, I’d enrolled on a hypnotherapy course; seven months later, I was fully qualified. I spent the summer with my family – taking plenty of rest and time out to relax – and when the kids returned to school in September, I launched With You in Mind.
I now specialise in helping individuals with stress and anxiety and support businesses with their wellbeing strategy through mental health first aid, stress management and resilience training, and other wellbeing initiatives.
My mission is to help support and prevent people reaching the point that I did last year. For me it’s vital to put the message out there that we must invest in our minds in the same way we do our bodies.