A MARKETING consultant has told how her battle with depression inspired her to write a book to help others.

Katherine James, who lives in Whitchurch, has written ‘The Story of Hope’, released this week to coincide with Mental Health Awareness week.

Although it is a piece of fiction, it includes practical advice for anyone struggling with mental health problems, based on Katherine’s own experiences.

She said: “Back in 2014, I was in a really difficult place. I felt like I was in a dark attic, covered with a black cloak. I didn’t know how to find a new direction. So I searched desperately for a book to help me overcome all that adversity and depression. I couldn’t find that book, so I wrote one myself.”

The result is an illustrated publication telling the story of an unlikely hero called Hope who, having been trapped in her attic, goes on a journey of self-discovery under the protection of a cloak.

Katherine continued: “The book encourages people who feel trapped, and have lost hope, to rewrite their own story and find the courage to begin a new chapter. It guides those in despair from what feels like a grey, empty existence to a place of colour and confidence: the life they were meant to lead.

“I really hope, with all my heart, that this new book will help somebody struggling with their mental health, particularly at this difficult time.”

While she now lives in Whitchurch, Katherine grew up in Northumberland, where she recalls being a shy and sensitive child.

“I spent many hours in the attic of our large house by the sea where I grew up - trying to make sense of the world,” she said.

“I fed my imagination with fairy tales and fantasy literature - things like the Hobbit, Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland. The heroes and heroines of those tales became my friends.

“This was also the time that I first came up with the concept of ‘The Story of Hope’ – and it’s great to now see it being published as a book.”

Nine years ago, Katherine managed a programme to train young people with mental health issues to become leaders.

“I’ve fought my own painful battle with depression and saw how the young people retreated into their own ‘attic’ of despair, hiding away from the world.

“I encouraged them to take up a new mantle - overcoming despair and turning it into a positive chapter of their evolving story.

“You could say we’re all on a Hero’s Journey, called to find hope by conquering adversity.”

Katherine began working in marketing 20 years ago, where she stumbled across using storytelling to help businesses. But she says she ‘lost her way’ and after an awful accident, in which she fell from a ladder and broke her back in two places, she found herself at home for a year recuperating.

She continued: “Thankfully, that fall and bang on the head landed me back on my feet. I followed my heart, launching a storytelling company to help clients attract like-minded, like-hearted clients they’d love to meet.”

Now Katherine is hoping her very own fictional story – inspired by her own challenges – will inspire readers to take their own hero’s journey of self-discovery to find their true calling as well as the courage to start again.

She added: “I was inspired to write ‘The Story of Hope’ having undergone my own dark, painful journey through depression. I want to empower people to share their own story of hope, where victory through vulnerability is their greatest strength.”

The book is available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Waterstones and other good booksellers.