A WOMAN who became a prisoner in her own home after suffering from a severe anxiety disorder is celebrating her new-found confidence.

Melanie Edwards, of Ashley, New Milton, was forced to face her fears after her husband became critically ill in 2011.

“My husband had renal failure and I donated my kidney to him,” she explained. “It’s the best thing I ever did for him and for me.”

Prior to the operation Melanie had barely left her home in two years due to the condition.

“I had severe anxiety disorder and didn’t go out of the house,” she said. “I have always had it but it got to the stage I didn’t want to do anything. I didn’t want to leave the house.”

The 30-year-old, who is now training to become a nurse, said giving her kidney to her husband marked a key turning point in her life.

“I was in hospital giving Trevor my kidney and it made me realise I really wanted to be a nurse,” she said.

“I decided that’s what I was going to do.”

Following the transplant, her husband made a full recovery and Melanie enrolled on an access course at Brockenhurst College.

She later secured a place at the University of Southampton to study nursing.

She said: “I started in September and it’s been brilliant. I’ve really enjoyed it so far.”

Melanie received a bursary from the charity the Helena Kennedy Foundation, which provides support to students from disadvantaged backgrounds to help them progress into higher education.

And last month she joined 100 students, who have all received support from the charity, during a visit to the House of Lords.

“It was lovely,” she said. “It was a bit daunting going to London, I don’t really like London because it’s so busy, but obviously going to the House of Lords is not something you get to do very often.”

Melanie said she is now optimistic about her future and is learning to manage her anxiety.

She added: “I don’t let it rule my life. I won’t let it beat me.”