I want to tell you about my journey I’ve had. I joined FDAMH about 2 years ago and wasn’t much of a mixer. In fact I had no confidence, very low self esteem and was paranoid with the world it seemed. Stuart seen this in me and one day we were having one of our chats Stuart suggested a befriender to me. I wasn’t too keen but hey ho in my head nobody really liked me anyway so I knew it wouldn’t work so I agreed to it.
A couple of weeks went by and Stuart came back to me to say he’d met the perfect person for me and would I agree to meet her. Again I thought she won’t like me anyway, so yeah I’ll give it a go. On the day I was to meet Michelle I felt sick. I thought ‘why am I putting myself through this just to set myself up for a fall again?’. Anyway, Stuart came down into the drop in to get me and said Michelle was waiting for me. He said if I really didn’t feel comfortable to just go and get him and that would be that so I said ok. You have no idea of the things that were going through my head, all “what ifs”. Anyway, next thing I knew there I am in the room and being introduced to Michelle who I must add looked just as terrified as I was. We still laugh about that. Stuart settled us down and said he’d pop in and out to check we were ok. We never needed it. Michelle was bouncy, bubbly, friendly, everything I would love to be. But you know I heard myself laughing and meaning it. What a shock. Michelle showed no difference to me than she would any other person. She asked things I would like to do, promised me we would take it slowly and even though it was just our first meeting I was already putting a little trust into this complete stranger. For once someone was actually treating me as me. So on our journey we went.
Don’t get me wrong at the start it was difficult getting to know each others ways but Michelle being Michelle we soon overcame them. One thing she never pushed me into anything if I couldn’t go into a shop she’d say that’s fine lets try another one and on we’d go. I remember one morning I came into the centre and said to Michelle I don’t feel like doing anything I’m crabbit this morning and she said ok and left me alone that morning. That was the great thing about her, she never pried, she just left you. But just after lunch that day she said right get your coat and we’ll go for a walk and I said but I’m crabbit, ah she said, that was in the morning you said, it’s now after lunch so come on. I did laugh that day, what a perfect attitude she has.
What I am trying to say about the befriending service is I could write a book about it. It’s been absolutely wonderful for me, my confidence is tenfold. I mix at the drop in. There’s no such thing as ‘can’t’. This service needs to be kept for many more service users like myself as without it I wouldn’t be this new person ready to take on my next step of my journey and I hope one day with a little more confidence I might even be able to help someone on their way. Thank you Stuart, Michelle and all the team at FDAMH.