Kirkcaldy woman Vicki Litster is putting her heartbreaking personal experience to good use to help other people in times of need.
The former Balwearie High pupil is starting up a support group for anyone suffering from anxiety, depression or suicidal feelings, as well as their family members and friends who are often also affected.
The group will hold its first meeting next Tuesday evening in Abbotshall Church, Kirkcaldy from 7.30-9pm.
And Vicky (30), a photographer, says that although she is not a professional counsellor, she has more than enough personal experience to call on to help run the group.
“I first suffered from anxiety at the age of 8 and by the time I reached puberty I was suffering from full-blown depression,” she explained.
“For some people it can be something traumatic which sets them off, but for me I just always remember having it.
“It is a chemical imbalance and like everyone, I have good days and bad days, or sometimes weeks. However I have now learned to cope with it and if I sense it coming on I just go to bed and cocoon and sleep until I feel better.”
One of Vicki’s lowest points was when her beloved big brother Shaun Lindberg took his own life two years ago, leaving behind a wife and two children.
“The pain he left behind was horrific and the family really didn’t know what he was going through at the time,” said Vicki.
“He was really my inspiration for setting up this group and, if I can make one person feel that this is not their only option, then it will be worthwile.”
Vicki says that one of the biggest things which helped her turn her life around was when her mum Elizabeth realised what she was going through.
“Mum was always a get up and get on with it type of person and it was only when I was in my 20s that she finally got what I was going through and that felt like a big weight had been lifted off my shoulders,” said Vicki.
Another great saviour was her beloved cocker spaniel Jasmine who Vicki says was what made her get up in the morning.
“If I am feeling down then I take Jasmine for a long walk and getting out in the fresh air and getting exercise while watching her enjoying herself is a great healer for me too,” she explained.
“I am also careful about my diet because what you put in your body can also have an affect on your mood.”