Category Archives: Service Users Stories

Female Service User Story and why she wants you to vote for STAGES

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I first joined stages in 2014. My sister in law handed me a leaflet which remained on my fridge for a week until I plucked up the courage to email to ask for a place on the upcoming mindfulness course. I went to that first session and never looked back. As a sufferer of bipolar disorder and OCD, I found I could feel very isolated. With stages, I have built up friendships and as I’ve said many times, it’s like a second family to me. The support is always there and the holistic therapies are extremely relaxing.

Mindfulness has changed me in ways I didn’t know possible. It has led to more rational thinking styles, acceptance of all emotions, even the bad ones and the ability to meditate to shut off my very busy mind.  It is a godsend for me and I feel it has not only been a benefit for myself, but my husband and children who have a calmer wife and mum. One in four of us will suffer from a mental health condition and services in this area are lacking.  We need stages so we can always be able to support people who are suffering in silence.  To help get rid of the stigma surrounding it and to prevent people becoming isolated. I am extremely fortunate that my sister in law passed on that leaflet, that one act turned out to be a turning point in my life.

Leigh’s story which was shared briefly on ‘Corby Radio’ this morning

In 2014 I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Extreme Borderline Personality Disorder.   Life had been really difficult for me and I was at the end of my tether at the point when I found STAGES.

I had been through the system being shoved from pillar to post with everyone making me relive my story, which with PTSD is not helpful at all.  It just made me feel worse and eventually made me give up hope, feeling like a bad father and worthless.  I was suicidal on a daily basis.   I felt that my life was not worth living anymore.

I was in a desperate situation and I felt that no-one could help me, until I searched Google one last time to see if I could find anyone that could really help me and I came across STAGES.pp_resources_social_engFB_Cover

I began attending their weekly reiki, holistic therapy and tea/coffee and chat sessions, met for social lunch meetups and registered for the next Mindfulness course.  I immediately bonded with Sandra and Katie and once I began my Mindfulness course, I really made a wonderful connection with Lynda and Carol who were attending the course as well and eventually connected with everyone else at STAGES.

I had been a bit concerned about Mindfulness, as I had attended what was supposed to be a Mindfulness course with the mental health team.  That was very different to what I attended at STAGES.  At Corby Mental Health Team, I felt that it was very much a classroom/ teacher, child setup and I felt very unsettled there as things were just written on a board and we were pretty much left to get on with it.  At the end, I was told that I had FAILED the course.

I went on to learn from Katie that there is no such thing as failing a Mindfulness Course and that Mindfulness becomes a way of life and eventually, even after several courses a little something will sink in each time we attend.  I have completed 3 Mindfulness Courses and a few mindfulness workshop refreshers since I started with STAGES.

Now with hindsight, I realise that the reason the mental health team’s mindfulness course didn’t work for me was because we were only really taught a bit of theory about it.  I learned at STAGES that meditation is a huge aspect of mindfulness and acceptance of things as they are and letting go and trying to live in the moment and not keep going back and dragging up the past.

Before I joined STAGES,  I was pretty much a recluse, agoraphobic really.  I locked myself away in my house by myself, most of the time.  Now, when my kids come to stay with me, I can actually spend some quality time doing things with them and take them to the park without even thinking about it.   This in itself has been a massive achievement for me. Now, I try and get a bit more involved in helping to raise awareness of STAGES, because I know just how different life can be, with the knowledge that there are people out there who understand me, because they have also been through similar life experiences and who actually care about me.  I even managed to do an interview for ITV News (6pm, 21st March, Anglia West) and went onto give a bit of my story on Corby Radio today, which previously would not have happened.

I recently relapsed because my benefits were stopped just before christmas.  I had felt so awful I didn’t go anywhere again and then just before christmas,  I managed to get myself back to STAGES. They could see straight away, that I was in crisis and had gone downhill rapidly.  They helped me so much, especially Michelle and Katie, who made sure that I had food on the table for my children, when they were visiting and gas and electric in the meter.   As far as the government were concerned I could starve and freeze to death.  They did not want to know when I pleaded for help and they didn’t seem to care about the impact that it was having on my mental health.  I really don’t know what I would have done without my family STAGES.  They really made me feel that everything was going to be ok,  because they cared about me.

Please VOTE for STAGES ‘Healing Minds – People Helping People’ Project,  so that we can help others in the same situation that I was in.


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