Shed Talks Episode 18

Mary Ryan was a GP for over 35 years, is the mother of four children and the wife of one husband. She is the national adviser for the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health, an Oxford graduate and scholar. Throughout her life, she has been fearless and shown great courage and humour. In just the same way, she talks about her diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), its stigma and the lack of understanding surrounding it, and how her own feelings about it have changed.

Life Jackets

TV/Radio – The Archers – ‘I’ve listened to it probably almost since my first day at Oxford’, Classic FM, Radio 3, Test Match Special.

Pet/Best Friend – My kids have been very important in keeping me going, wanting the best for them and wanting to be there for them. Now my 2-year old granddaughter Rosie is powerfully happy-making and lives relatively nearby.

I couldn’t manage without the constancy of our family dogs, previously Drogo and now Flint- both highly intuitive and gentle black Labradors who usually know all my innermost thoughts from our walks together or from their own canine intuition.

Gardening – I have a large garden, which I moan about, but it does mean that I always have more to do than hours in the day, which gives a sense of purpose and forward momentum. The grass wont stop growing just for me.

Hobbies – I clean and tidy my way out of many a glum patch and get distraction and consolation from cooking, especially making all our bread and an endless supply of cakes, scones and biscuits.

Exercise – Biking, walking and swimming make a big difference. I swim at home every day all year round and this often feels like a powerful way to wipe the slate clean (of angst) and start again. I never wear anything to swim in here and there is something about being cold, starkers and at one with the rest of early morning nature that is very exhilarating.


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