For quite a while in Spring 2013, I spent a lot of time cut off from people I love/loved, whether they’d be friends, family or colleagues. I found myself spending most of my time in the waiting room of my GP asking for somewhere to go where I felt safe.
It was strange to think that I was more comfortable seeing someone on a professional level and not a personal one.
I felt uncomfortable, unwelcome and not on the same level around people I usually would be fine with and would enjoy spending time with, but I felt vulnerable, unsafe and out of control when I was on my own…. What a tricky feeling.
I would often dread the “see you soon, take care” at the end of my ten minutes in the consultation room with my GP as I knew my time was up and I had to seek safety elsewhere. Sometimes I stayed in the waiting room for a while after, even though that sent my anxiety through the roof due to my Emetophobia.
I couldn’t bear to be around my own thoughts and feelings, nor the growing negative sensations running through my body.
I spoke to a few organisations, one of them being Mind. One of the many on the list my GP gave me for ‘what to do in the mean time’ as I was on a hefty waiting list for psychotherapy.
The waiting surely made everything worse and I found myself not even thinking about the 9 months I had to wait as even finding what to do in the next half an hour was a struggle. Who knew it was the test of time?
Mind told me about a local charity that offered a daily drop-in centre, counselling and group activities which were specifically for people with mental health, so I gathered all of my courage and gave them a ring.
MHR (Mental Health Resource Ltd.) are local to me and I met up with the staff and spoke to them about attending the drop-in centre. I looked at the various activities on offer and saw that quite a few were of interest to me; creative writing, art group and the user led Personality Disorder Group.
Even going to speak to the staff at the centre was a big thing to do, due to being in a brand new place with brand new people, but I found the experience very welcoming and a big relief, I had wondered why my GP had never suggested this place before! Did she not know about it?
After being introduced to other staff members and service users during a look round, I felt I was able to come back and actually use the service, and ever since, I have found it so helpful for a number of reasons.
Being accepted, understood and supported not just by staff but by other service users, really gives hope, re-assurance and a bit of a pick-me-up. Knowing that there are others out there like me and that there is somewhere to go.
My confidence is improving slowly but surely and my social skills are also improving too.
I have been able to join service-user led groups to talk about specific subjects; gaining support, sharing experiences in confidence and gaining more awareness.
I have used the creative groups to my advantage, for example, getting back into my interest in art and also even starting this blog with the help of the creative writing group.
I have found myself surrounded by people with such a diverse mix of ages, illnesses and backgrounds, that all gel together (of course with a few inevitable hiccups), that have welcomed me in with open arms that I feel very much accepted and supported, and when you sometimes think that you would never feel those things, that itself is something quite valuable.