Louise's story: "I feel like I’m part of the community again"

Now Louise is feeling positive about the future

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.

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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

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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'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".