Aged just 18, in June 2007, Helen Galsworthy lay down in front of a train with the intention of taking her own life.
‘It was a really bright, sunny day and it was the one day when I sort of felt OK – and that’s because I knew I was going to die. I didn’t feel scared at the time, I just felt completely at peace.’
Her next memory is of waking up in hospital, with her mum next to her. ‘I said to her, “I’ve lost my legs, haven’t I?”’
Helen explains how her feelings were of sadness and stupidity. ‘I felt like, I mess up everything in life and I even messed up my own suicide attempt!’
Having narrowly escaped death and being left as a double amputee, Helen says the adjustment was slow and painful, as she watched friends embrace their futures while she felt stuck.
That all changed though, when five years later she found a new purpose in life, becoming mum to Thomas.
‘It suddenly wasn’t just about me anymore,’ explains Helen. ‘It’s simple little things like his smile, his laugh, the way he’ll look into my eyes… He makes me happy every day.’
Of course being mum to a toddler as a double amputee has its practical challenges – but Helen is more worried about the one thing in the future which she knows she must face. Telling Thomas what happened to his mummy’s legs.
‘I’ll wait until he’s old enough to understand, but I really do panic about telling him,’ she admits. But she won’t be alone, as she now has the love and support of boyfriend Will.
Now studying criminology, Helen also wants to help others who are suffering from depression. ‘It’s a great passion of mine to help other people with mental health issues,’ she says. ‘I like to think everything happens for a reason, and that could be why I survived.’