Dee – ex-client and volunteer
I have experienced mental health problems since my early teens and over the years I have been diagnosed with a variety of different conditions. On a day to day basis I battle to stay on top of my symptoms such as low mood, anxiety and panic, erratic thoughts, voices and flashbacks. I have suffered with eating disorders since my teens. It is hard to say which symptoms are the hardest to deal with. I regularly struggle to get out of bed and leave the house and at times things do consume me and I self-harm and disassociate.
I first approached Coventry & Warwickshire Mind about 7 years ago. I had just been discharged from hospital after a long admission and I was scared and had little help, information or support. I knew very little about how to cope with what I was going through and lived every day in fear. I had no self-esteem, no friends and did not see that I had any sort of future and daily contemplated suicide.
All I knew was that I had to find a path that would help me avoid this as I was a mum to 4 children.
When I was discharged from hospital, I took a card off the ward with information about the Wellbeing Hub (then known as the drop in) provided by Coventry & Warwickshire Mind. I sat in the car outside the Hub several times, trying to get my anxiety in check so that I could find the courage to walk in.
On my first visit there was a friendly face that made me feel like I had come to the right place. Before long I became involved in a service user involvement group, which gave me a focus outside of myself, I began to find a purpose.
Even though every day continues to be a battle I am a different person to that person who walked in 7 years ago. I have been involved in service user involvement for 7 years now and Coventry and Warwickshire Mind have invested in me with support and training. They have given me a purpose to live and to improve my environment; they have been there for me when I have been in some very dark places, and helped me climb out of some pretty deep holes. My self-esteem and self-belief is so much richer and improved now because of the service user involvement and volunteering that I have participated in.
I am on a journey of recovery, something I never believed I would have achieved. I am hoping that one day soon I will get a full time job and build the life I hoped for but never dared to dream was possible and I know that this all began with taking that step 7 years ago when I walked into Coventry and Warwickshire Mind Wellbeing Hub.