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My local Mind helped me realise my self-worth

Thursday, 20 July 2023 Nicki*

Nicki* blogs about how her local Mind helped her learn how to value herself.

*Names have been changed.

Content warning: this blog mentions abuse and suicidal ideation.

Mae'r dudalen hon hefyd ar gael yn Gymraeg. This link will take you to a Welsh translation of this page.

When I first came to Mid and North Powys Mind in 2020, I was a very lost individual. I had no motivation or direction, and day-to-day life was a real struggle, especially as a single mother of 3. Though I’d worked with other organisations to try and combat my anxiety and depression, nothing really fitted, and it was always very short-term relief. I also found it very difficult to remember to take medication, and sometimes felt suicidal. I never dedicated any real time to myself, instead going to sit in my car, or on a bus.

“I had no idea of how to form coping mechanisms”

I knew that something had to be done, so I called my local Mind and was put in touch with Janet. She had a waiting list for the One to One programme, but recommended other courses I could do in the meantime, including Mums Matter. When my One to One programme started over the phone in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, I thought it was going to be like the other mental health programmes I’d tried, but I found myself opening up. Janet made it very clear that she wasn’t there to judge, which made it easier to discuss how I’d been feeling.

Janet helped me realise that along with my anxiety and depression, I could be living with complex PTSD after experiencing abuse and trauma during my childhood and later in my life.  

“I deserve happiness too.”

The thing with mental health is that for me, it’s all about how to regulate my emotions. But because I’d had the experiences I’d had, I had no idea of how to form coping mechanisms for how I was feeling. I found relationships very difficult to maintain, which was hard. Friends are so important to have in your life, but I felt very lonely and thought I deserved to struggle through life. Due to having such low self-esteem, I was very vulnerable, and unable to see any red flags when it came to situations that could be unsafe.

Through talking with Janet, I learned I had a right to feel what I was feeling. She didn’t patronise me or use platitudes, and instead helped me understand that I deserved to keep myself safe. It really changed my perspective to realise that it wasn’t just everyone else who deserved to be happy – I deserve happiness, too.

Through the One to One programme, I’ve learned to recognise what triggers me and it’s made it easier to assure myself that I’m safe in the here and now. I’ve also worked really hard to have more confidence in setting boundaries.

“It’s like what they say on an aeroplane – you have to put the oxygen mask on yourself first, and then you can care for others.”

Before I started working with Mind, I would lose something and feel overwhelmed and feel like a bad person. Literally punish and self-sabotage quite badly.

After working with Mind, I lost a cable for the TV. I starting frantically pulling everything out and began to panic - I’m a bad mum, I can’t provide my kids with a great life, nothing is going right. Then, I stopped. I sat still and said to myself “just stop a second. I’m not a bad mum. I’ve given them a home. I’m sat in a room in my house, I’m safe. It’s just a cable. People lose stuff and that’s okay.”

Previously I would have catastrophised, but I now have the tools to ground myself. I’ve also found a job, and have set a more structured support system in place for my children. It’s like what they say on an aeroplane – you have to put the oxygen mask on yourself first, and then you can care for others.

I do still have problems with my mental health, but I feel more able to cope. I’m now doing another course with Mind, which has made recognise I have a number of symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder, which I’m currently seeking a diagnosis for with my community mental health team.

I can hand on heart say that my local Mind not only kept me alive, they kept me alive and in my home with my children. And I now know that I deserve to be happy.

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