"I feel like I'm part of the community again"

8 April 2019

Louise-Image
Serious mental health problems in a stressful workplace meant that Louise had to leave her job. With no experience in any other industry she was lost, but with a bit of support and advice Louise was able to get herself back on her feet. 

 

Last year I was admitted to hospital because my mental health got really bad. While I was there, the nurse found the number for Aspirations and told me I should call them.  

I have worked in social care since the age of 16. It got to a point where I couldn't cope anymore. I was stressed and anxious all the time and I was calling in sick more than I was going in. It got so bad that I couldn't do the job.   

After that I was low, as low as I could get. I couldn't read, my English skills were poor and my maths isn't great. I had no skills to get a job and I couldn't work in care anymore. I thought I'd reached the end and I didn't know what else to do.  

I couldn’t cope with challenges and everything seemed like a huge problem, even if it wasn’t. I would get anxious, panic and turn to self-harm. I felt like I was in despair and I wouldn’t even leave the house on my own. I felt like I was outside of society. 

Runway Training (part of the Aspirations service) first tested me on my English and maths. My English came out at quite a low level which I was disappointed with. We found out that I might have a condition called irlens syndrome. This means my brain's ability to process visual information is different to most people’s. Knowing this helped me understand why I found it difficult to read.  

Now I use a filter screen which helps me read. I've read 8 books in the past 3 months. I never used to read.  

I felt like I was in despair and I wouldn’t even leave the house on my own. I felt like I was outside of society 

They also introduced me to a stained-glass course. I started talking to people there and that started to build my confidence. Going there meant I had to drive somewhere new which was nerve-wracking, but it got easier.  

I'm working again now in a local shop. I used to dread going to work, but now I actually look forward to it.  

My confidence is through the roof. I've been going to the gym and I’ve lost weight. Now that I’m back earning, I feel like I'm part of the community. 

Now when problems come up, I can handle them so much better. I can stay calm and deal with things rationally, instead of panicking straight away.    

I think when people see you as mentally ill, they write you off, and think you’re not able to achieve things in life. But now I think to myself “I can do this, I will achieve". 

If anyone else out there is not working and feel like they’re struggling, I would direct them straight to Aspirations. I just can’t praise them enough.