"Group members all have their own issues, but we all come together for support and that’s what helped me."
My journey started when I was in my early 30’s. I felt a darkness in my mind that made me feel unable to cope with daily life. I wasn’t taking care of myself – I was too busy looking after my family, children and husband. It made me feel like a failure as it led to financial difficulties.
I felt like I was in a bubble of depression. It was emotionally draining and left me feeling numb. I was physically unable to acknowledge other people as I was in my own bubble.
My daughter was attending a support group for her own mental health, but I hadn’t considered that they might be able to help me too. Through the services she was using I was made aware of counselling available to me.
After accessing counselling for the first time I felt like a heavy weight had lifted off my shoulders. I remember feeling as if light was surrounding me, people appeared out of nowhere. I began to feel again, see faces and acknowledge others. Being able to connect with others again left such an impact on me.
Through the counsellor I came to know of other support services they provided, and I joined the Rethink Mental Illness Sangam Support Group in 2015. Joining wasn’t an easy process for me. I needed a lot of encouragement to come out isolation and begin sharing and participating in the group. But I’m so happy that I did. I now wanted to leave the house, meet new people and become less isolated. Group members all have their own issues, but we all come together for support and that’s what helped me. I found happiness in making new friends and learning new things.
I enjoyed trying new activities like cake decorating, and I completed health and safety training at the local Adult Education Centre. Taking part in the course gave me new confidence. It made me feel like I was capable of learning and making progress.
In 2016 I was given the opportunity to contribute to devising group activities. I suggested knitting, because it’s a hobby of mine, this was supportive for me and involved the group.
The positive impact the group has had on me is huge. I don’t feel so isolated any more. If the support had not been available I would still be facing depression and loneliness, unable to look after myself and over-thinking things. Rethink services also supported me with practical and emotional support, including obtaining the right benefits for my health.
Something that really helped me was keeping a diary alongside my therapy. I can now look back at where I was in previous months and see how far I’ve come along.
"This gave me a purpose and made me feel a part of something as well as having support from staff who encouraged me and made me feel accepted."
"It just felt like everything came at once, and I had nowhere to turn. I felt as though I had failed as a dad."