Our Mental Health Week: Abbie Martin

Abbie Martin, Faculty IT and Business Relationship Manager, CiCS, shares her mental health experience following her son's diagnosis with leukemia. 

Abbie Martin's son, Dominic

In October 2012 I came to work at the University as I was getting divorced and wanted to become financially independent. I was finishing off my degree in Psychology and took my final exams a few weeks after I started. My eldest son, who was seven-years-old at the time, kept getting poorly and he was diagnosed with leukaemia, three weeks after I started working here.

The University and many of my colleagues here were a lifeline for me and coming to work was a great distraction. I was doing a job that wasn’t too challenging for me but I enjoyed it and the department were very supportive and allowed me to reduce my hours, approved additional leave and flexible working. I found that being open with colleagues about my situation really helped. Most people can be really kind if they know you are going through personal stuff.

I still fill up when I talk about Dominic’s leukemia today but I’m not ashamed to cry! People can be very supportive if you tell them what’s going on. You don’t have to go through things on your own and it really is true, a problem shared is a problem halved!

The picture is Dominic comparing himself to a dandelion clock when his hair fell out because of the chemo.