Diana from Powys was suffering from anxiety following ill health, but our social prescribing project has helped her find her feet.
Before I started participating in social prescribing, I’d gone to my doctor asking for a quick fix. I’d been suffering from anxiety following a neurological health scare which left me feeling unbalanced and worried about leaving the house alone.
My GP said there wasn’t a quick fix, but did suggest that social prescribing could help. Social prescribing is a way of helping you deal with the things in your life that can make you feel unhappy or anxious. Addressing these things takes a little extra time and support, so rather than giving you a prescription for a medicine, social prescribing can help you to access a wide range of activities and support in your local community that can help you turn things around.
"I was struggling to cope and my confidence was absolutely wrecked – I was worried my health scare would happen again."
Since my husband died five years ago following a battle with dementia, I’d felt very alone, and the anxiety made these feelings worse. I was struggling to cope and my confidence was absolutely wrecked – I was worried my health scare would happen again.
This was incredibly frustrating for me as I was so used to being independent and then got plunged into isolation. I was too anxious to even do some shopping on my own.
I met with my social prescribing link worker Rhiannon, from Brecon and District Mind, to discuss how I was feeling and how I thought I could improve my wellbeing. I talked about my hobbies, which include the WI and my gardening club, and how I’d like to socialise more. I realised that I’d been feeling incredibly lonely, as I’d lost the sense of partnership I’d had with my husband before he passed away.
"I’ve learned a lot about understanding my emotions."
I was almost overwhelmed with all the options she had found for me! Within no time at all she’d referred me to Mind’s My Generation, an eight-week programme for older people in Wales which aims to improve wellbeing, build resilience and reduce isolation and loneliness. Through that, I’ve learned a lot about understanding my emotions. We’ve had sessions on how to identify feelings such as fear and doubt, and how to cope with them. It’s been wonderful to hear someone put these experiences into words and realise that others have felt the same way.
Additionally, the My Generation project offers sessions on exploring helpful and unhelpful thinking, which have allowed me to feel more optimistic. The sessions on exploring loss, grief and renewal have also been very encouraging to me. I’ve learned a lot about mindfulness and how that can help me to stop worrying about things as much. It’s good to know I can focus on what is happening around me in the moment, and feel calmer and less stressed.
"You can participate in conversations and interact properly with other people instead of being alone with your own thoughts."
I’ve also been taking part in crafting sessions and going for walks with other participants, which has been lovely. I’ve met someone who has suffered with her own neurological condition and it’s provided a real sense of kinship. It makes such a difference when you’re walking with others rather than on your own, as you can participate in conversations and interact properly with other people instead of being alone with your own thoughts.
Through social prescribing, I’ve also been referred to a number of different social groups, including a Neuro Café where I can meet others who’ve been affected by neurological conditions, a ‘knit and natter’ group where I can talk with others, and Grave Talk, which is a series of workshops aiming to answer questions on death and dying.
"I'm in my eighties, and this experience has surprised me into realising how good life can still be."
Rhiannon has been a brilliant source of encouragement and support. She has listened to me and my needs and has made me feel like she cares about me and my wellbeing.
The number of ways I can make more connections has improved my positive thinking, and has inspired me to make affirmative changes to my life. I’m in my eighties, and this experience has surprised me into realising how good life can still be.
I’ve found the course challenging but beneficial, as it’s helped me to share with others and see things from a different perspective. I’d definitely recommend social prescribing to other people. There are other people out there willing to help you, and I’ve found it incredibly helpful.
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