"It didn’t take long for me to realise that I had found a safe, relaxed and very friendly place to be."
Support in Mind Scotland (SiMS) has been, and still is, a huge lifeline to me. I had lost all my confidence and was not in a good place. I felt very isolated and shut myself away from the world.
I started receiving support and attending their Kaleidoscope service in Dumfries. At first, just being there was a huge challenge, but it didn’t take long for me to realise that I had found a safe, relaxed and very friendly place to be. The best thing of all was that I realised that I was not on my own and that I was not being judged in any way. Staff are very friendly, supportive and approachable and made me feel at ease straight away. They gave me the chance to move at a pace that I felt comfortable with and let me start to move on when I was ready. I never felt pressured, pushed or hurried in any way.
When I felt up to it, I started getting involved in a lot of the activities they had to offer – for example, pike fishing. Instead of being shut away, seeing no-one, here I was getting out doing things I enjoyed and activities I had never even tried before. Learning new skills and getting involved in new things, and other activities that I used to enjoy, is enabling me to grow. This alone has made a huge positive difference to my life. It makes it all so much easier having this support and being with people that respect me and never judge me in any way.
SiMS are certainly supporting me on my path to recovery. They have also supported me to take other huge steps in my life. I am now giving talks to students at the university here, trying to raise more awareness and understanding of the condition that I suffer from. Hopefully, by doing this, it will help others along the way. I have also co-delivered training to health professionals. I could never have done that before I received support from staff at SiMS. They have helped me to begin regaining my confidence and self-esteem. The charity has made a huge difference to my life.
I also had a passionate dream to start a user-led peer support group, as there is a great need for it in this area. With the help of two SiMS staff, my dream has become a reality. Staff at Support in Mind Scotland treat everyone as an individual and their person-centred approach is second to none. They do exactly what it says on the tin!
Besides myself, it has been great to watch others who use the service grow and blossom as well. They must be doing something right. If I had to recommend a charity who support people who have a mental illness, I would – without a shadow of a doubt – choose SiMS.
It is a struggle and hard to live with mental illness, but I have every confidence that having SiMS included in my care plan can only enable me to grow and move onwards and upwards.
"Group members all have their own issues, but we all come together for support and that’s what helped me."