Being The Person I Am Meant To Be

When it comes down to my own mental health it is not something that I normally discuss or like to, but now that has changed, now I am no longer ashamed about it, now I feel comfortable talking about it and by doing so, here and now, I hope that it might help others with their recovery.

I was age 23 when I was first sectioned (which was the first time I had any contact with mental health services) for acute psychosis, at the time it was a scary experience but I got better and was what I thought recovered but from then my life completely changed, it wasn’t long after that I ended up back in hospital for depression then was released and not long after in again. I have been on section 3 a good few times plus going in voluntary loads of times (purely to avoid getting sectioned), this is how things were for a long time.

" My self-esteem, worth and confidence has rapidly grown, I have made friends, I am finding my true self, I now have goals and a positive outlook for the future...all because of the Clubhouse "

Then, when I was age 30, I finally got a proper diagnosis and this really turned my world upside down. I was diagnosed with Anti-Social and Borderline Personality Disorder with presence of Paranoid, Schizotypal and Obsessive Compulsive traits (previously diagnosed with Depression and acute and transient Psychotic episodes). See the thing that really messed with my head was the Borderline Personality Disorder part, so after I received my diagnosis what happened was I completely isolated myself, not that I was a social person anyway but my way of dealing with it was complete avoidance of everything, total isolation (which is probably the worst thing to do), I did try therapy but soon quit that because it was too triggering for me and I felt judged by my therapist. I was completely tired with everything, tired of the isolation, the self-harming, the suicide attempts, but mainly tired of being tired.

It was then one day just when I was planning another suicide attempt that something magical happened, I heard the most beautiful thing I have ever heard in my life, a voice that truly touched the inner most part of my soul, I heard Maria Callas. She saved my life, see truth be told, I didn’t really want to kill myself I just wanted change, I wanted a different life than the one I was living. On discovering Callas she gave me the will not only to live but to get better, so I went to seek out help and started to re-engage with mental health services, I started to do therapy again (which I still do) but what has been the key factor in my recovery process is Mosaic Clubhouse, my care co-ordinator suggested it to me and I’m so glad that she did because the Clubhouse has helped me more than anything, Callas gives me strength and keeps me sane and the Clubhouse does all the rest.

When I first went to the Clubhouse I was very anxious and on my induction tour I thought “I can’t do this, there's too many people here, crazy people, I’m better than this” but those were just negative thoughts. I had to think of the bigger picture and about how this place could help me, so I bit the bullet and started attending. When I started going to the Clubhouse everyone was so welcoming, but most importantly no one was judging me and that made me feel really comfortable. Also, I very quickly realised that here no one is better than anyone, all members are here for the same reason, to get better and recover from our mental illnesses and progress in life.

Since coming to Mosaic Clubhouse I have learned quite a lot and experienced positive changes, from day one everyone was welcoming from members to staff, staff that really care unlike the staff that you usually find in mental health services which for them it’s just a job (well from my experience). But at Mosaic they actually care, it’s like a real proper family atmosphere here and here’s a quick example, one day after my therapy session which was a upsetting one I came straight to the Clubhouse and within 5 minutes of entering the building 3 staff and 2 members immediately knew something was wrong and asked if I was alright and if I wanted to talk, they genuinely care!

At the Clubhouse I work in Employment,Education & Information unit, mainly in the Info Hub, what I really enjoy doing (which quite surprised me) is giving new members and visitors tours, sometimes this has been challenging due to previously keeping myself isolated but I have found them to have really helped me to regain confidence and to communicate better with people, also working in the info hub has given me the opportunity to do other things like presentations which I enjoy and just recently I have passed the information governance test.

All of these have and are constantly shaping me to be the person I am meant to be. My self-esteem, worth and confidence has rapidly grown, I have made friends, I am finding my true self, I now have goals and a positive outlook for the future, real support and encouragement, people that can relate to and understand me and what I’m going through, all because of the Clubhouse and the service it provides. For the future I have decided that I want to work in the peer support field, the way I see it is this, I wouldn't have a chance at recovery if it wasn't for the clubhouse, (well I don't think I would have found anywhere else that would've had such a impact), the best way for me to give thanks is to give back in some slight way, so how can I do that? Use my experiences and skills to help others to recover, that's what I decided so at some point I want to start getting some experience on the Sanctuary service and doing some voluntary peer support work.

So there it is, I'm 35 years old now and I've only been coming to Mosaic since Oct 2015 and I think to myself at times 'if only I knew about the clubhouse sooner' all those years wasted away doing nothing apart from destroying myself, but then again I wasn't really ready back then for change but now I am and I'm defiantly motivated now, at times I still can't believe how much I've changed and progressed and in such a short time, there's no secret or magic trick to it, it's just down to determination and confronting my own fears and anxieties.

Final words: I'd like to say a big thank you to everyone at Mosaic Clubhouse for your help and support, and thank you whoever you are for taking the time to read this .

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Mosaic Clubhouse is part of a worldwide network of clubhouses that exist to provide support and opportunities to people living with a mental health condition.

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