"He saw I had a lot going for me that I didn't see in myself"

15 July 2019

Craig experienced a traumatic experience when he was younger. For 15 years he tried to bury these memories, but when he lost two very close family members, the trauma came back. Everything became too much and he had to leave his job.

"When I was younger, some men attacked me and I was badly assaulted. It was traumatic, so I locked it up in the back of my head and tried to deny it. I didn’t want to ever think about what happened. The only people in the world I spoke to about it was my brother and the police. 

15 years later I lost my brother, nan and grandad, all in the same week.

It just all seemed to come at once. All the bad memories flooded back. It felt like getting run over by a lorry. I had a lot of bad in my head and it led to me to having a breakdown. 

I was working at the time at a private members club as a fitness manager. I was put on leave for two weeks and then had to take a further year off from work because of my mental health. 

Afterwards I thought I was ready to go back to work. I went against the advice I was given and went back to my job. I noticed that people looked at me in a different way and treated me differently when I went back. I had been starting to feel good but going back to work put me back to square one." 

I noticed that people looked at me in a different way and treated me differently when I went back to work.

"After that I felt like I was in a hole. I avoided thinking about my future, I avoided other people. I wouldn’t talk to anyone. Things like food shopping, I tried my hardest to do at night after 11pm, because that’s when I knew no one else would be around. 

During that time, I tried single therapy and group therapy. That helped me but then the support came to an end. I was referred to Porchlight's Aspirations service, and I didn’t think it would do me any good, because I'd been passed around to so many different people. I didn’t like interacting with anyone, especially not men. Jack (my Aspirations worker) was different though. He didn’t pity me, he treated me like an equal, not like a patient.

I don't know when, but somewhere in those 6-8 weeks my brain changed. I don't know how he did it, but he helped my switch my brain to positive. He saw I had a lot going for me that I didn't see in myself.

It gave me a new lease of life. He believed in me and his energy makes you more feel confident. He pushed me into doing things in a good way. Once I met him in a coffee house for a practice interview, even though I would never usually go out in the middle of the day. But because I was thinking about the interview, it pushed my boundaries without me thinking too much about being out in public with other people. 

I remember coming home after that with a big smile on my face. Nothing could phase me, and I thought blimey I can't believe I’ve just done that in the middle of the day.

He has given me the tools to keep positive and to be able to cope when things are tough. He made me realise not everyone out there is out to get me."

I can't wait to start working again. It’s not even just about the money, it's getting myself out there again. 

"I’m now looking at getting into support work. I want to use the bad experiences I’ve been through to help other people. I’ve been offered five jobs since finishing with Aspirations, and I can't wait to start working again. It’s not even just about the money, it's getting myself out there again. 

I didn't think Aspirations would be able to help me but I'm living proof it can. It's put me back where I should have been three years ago. It's the best thing that's happened to me in the last three years." 

 

Aspirations is funded by the European Social Fund and the National Lottery, through The National Lottery Community Fund.