I had been struggling with my mental health for a while throughout the Covid 19 pandemic and lockdowns but had tried to soldier on. However, things got very bad frighteningly fast over a very short period and I stopped functioning and was unable to look after myself. The period that followed this is blurry, but I received good professional support and alongside the support of my family I began the journey back from a severe depression, requiring ongoing support, medication, and psychotherapy.
After a bit of a bumpy start, I began to do well on medication and was able to engage in therapy. With support from my family, I was able to structure my days and manage well, being able to take care of myself and regain some independence. But although I was making good progress, I was a long way from where I had been before getting ill. I no longer had a job, often found it hard to leave the house, felt isolated and had lost all confidence in myself and my abilities – my world had become very small.
It was at this point that I discovered Recovery In Mind and for the first time in a long time things really started to change for the better. I joined the five week ‘Welcome To Recovery’ course, I was incredibly anxious to start, but Angela and Fiona immediately put us at ease. It was exactly what I was looking for, a structured course that really was all about getting back on your feet and back into life. Being able to meet trainers who had themselves recovered from mental health challenges was so inspiring and gave me hope that I could too. Interacting and talking with the other students on the course was amazing – being able to help and support each other in our recoveries. This is what is so great about Recovery In Mind, it is like a family, or ‘tribe’, our own community – we all support each other as we travel along the road to recovery.
For a long time, all I desperately wanted was to ‘get better’ but being part of the Recovery In Mind ‘Tribe’, learning new skills, putting what I’ve learnt into practice and being part of a non-judgmental community I instead changed my focus to ‘living’ and ‘learning’. Depression is the great deceiver; it prevents you engaging in the things that can and do lift you out of the black hole – but through Recovery In Mind getting back into life was a lot easier and my world started to get bigger.
Learning new skills, having new experiences, meeting new people, giving, slowing down, learning about mindfulness and self-compassion has really been life changing.
I’ve found a new sense of purpose and fulfilment, I now do things that I would have never dreamt of doing, it really has opened my mind! What has been key for me is learning that recovery includes responsibility – responsibility to yourself, your family and friends to get well and stay well. There are lots of people who will help you on your way – but it comes down to you, to take those first steps, make those changes and then keep on going!
I was over the moon when I was asked to become a Peer Trainer, what an amazing opportunity, I jumped at the chance to be able to be part of such a great team and give something back to the people who helped me so much. Being part of other people’s recovery, to see the positive changes in people as they work on their own recovery is incredibly rewarding and I feel blessed to have the opportunity to do so.
Looking back to where I was, to where I am now– my life is very different, I have changed jobs to an entirely new area, have different interests and made many new friends, I have learnt to just go with life and let it unfold, I couldn’t be happier! If you can – I whole heartedly recommend joining Recovery In Mind, it has made such a difference to my life and it can make a difference to yours too!