Award-winning eyecare professional reflects on mental health journey over the past 22 years

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“I strongly believe that if someone like me can make it through, anyone can”

An award-winning eyecare professional, who scooped more prestigious accolades in recent weeks, has reflected on her mental health journey which began more than two decades ago.

Sheena Tanna-Shah is an optometrist and mindset coach from Weston Favell, and was named ‘optometrist of the year’ in 2023 at the biggest conference for the optical industry.

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Her husband Piyus Tanna also won the same award this year, and the pair received a further two awards in recognition of their wellbeing work among the profession.

Sheena Tanna-Shah and her husband Piyus Tanna received two awards from Vision Express in recognition of their wellbeing work among their profession.Sheena Tanna-Shah and her husband Piyus Tanna received two awards from Vision Express in recognition of their wellbeing work among their profession.
Sheena Tanna-Shah and her husband Piyus Tanna received two awards from Vision Express in recognition of their wellbeing work among their profession.

Sheena’s wellbeing work took inspiration from her mental health battle with depression and anxiety, which began when she was completing her degree 22 years ago.

It was more than two decades ago that she thankfully woke up in hospital during her first year at university, after she saw no way out.

“I’d lost hope, saw no future,” Sheena told the Chronicle & Echo. “I hadn’t even heard of the word anxiety and knew nothing about mental health.”

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She described that experience as the “wake up call” she needed and has been on her recovery journey ever since.

Sheena’s wellbeing work took inspiration from her mental health battle with depression and anxiety, which began when she was completing her degree 22 years ago.Sheena’s wellbeing work took inspiration from her mental health battle with depression and anxiety, which began when she was completing her degree 22 years ago.
Sheena’s wellbeing work took inspiration from her mental health battle with depression and anxiety, which began when she was completing her degree 22 years ago.

Piyus was the one who supported Sheena through her difficult time at university and she described the way he “had her back until she had her own”.

Sheena first qualified as an optometrist in 2005 and tried methods – from cognitive behavioural therapy, to mindfulness and meditation – to get her out of the dark place she was in.

After seeking help and overcoming her struggles, she decided she wanted to help others. Five years into her full-time job, Sheena set up her wellbeing business Inspiring Success – dedicated to implementing wellbeing in the optical industry.

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The business has been built on accredited courses, workshops, and one-to-one support – as well as Sheena writing articles to share her experiences and a supportive Facebook group for eyecare professionals.

The pandemic was the turning point for Inspiring Success as people in the optical field turned to therapy, coaching and mindfulness to help themselves when they experienced overwhelm, stress and burnout.

Both Sheena and Piyus received awards from Vision Express for the wellbeing work they have done collaboratively.

“We were beyond grateful to stand side by side together,” said Sheena. “To us it was more than an award or recognition, this was a reflection of our mission and life purpose to continue on our journey and continue supporting others too.

“It was a reflection of our last 22 years together.”

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Looking back on her mental health struggles, Sheena described how “everything felt really bleak” and was full of “hopelessness”.

She added: “I strongly believe that if someone like me can make it through, anyone can.”

Sheena’s new, and second, book ‘The Power of Being Perfectly Imperfect’ is soon to be released on March 28.

“It has been two years in the making,” she said. “It is a wellbeing book encouraging people to embrace their perfectly imperfect self.”

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Sheena and Piyus are also organising a first-of-its-kind wellbeing event in May for people in their profession, with a focus on connecting with others and finding purpose.

To find out more about Inspiring Success and Sheena’s wellbeing work, click here.

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