The voices and experience of people involved with FDAMH.

Social Prescribing and then Befriending helped beat terrible anxiety

I have always been an outgoing adventure seeker … I travelled all over and never had a care … In 2004 I was walking my dog when a tall man started yelling at me he was angry and mentally abusive.. there was no reason for his outburst but such a small act left a massive impact on me .. I was badly shaken.

A few days later out shopping with my partner I collapsed in a supermarket unknown to me I was pregnant .. I awoke to a sea of strangers all crowded around me .. it was the most horrific experience of my life I was absolutely terrified ..i have never felt so helpless ever and felt so incredibly shamed to have been stared at by so many at an obviously traumatic time. I passed out a further 2 times trying to get out of the store too quickly.

From then on I could not leave the house .. I spent 4 years too terrified to leave the house .. I couldn’t make it out my front door without having a full blown panic attack .

Both situations together in a short space of time knocked my confidence to the ground ..

When I had my baby I tried so hard to force myself to go out … after facing my fears a few occasions I found that I could travel in a car with family although I still had panic attacks and could only walk very short distances with family by my side it was still nerve wracking I managed to overcome the panic attacks and control them somewhat with my safety nets, bottle of water, sugary sweets, rubbing the sharp end of a key down my thumb just to keep myself in control.

I eventually lost all my friends due to my refusal to socialise – all I had was my family who lived a half hour drive from me .. I was not able to pluck up the courage to get on a bus or take a taxi so I had no way to get to my family whenever I wanted or on my bad days when I felt I needed them most.

After seeing many therapists over many years I gained some control over my life although I still could not go anywhere without a family member .

My doctor eventually referred me to FDAHM for therapy which helped immensely. I found the therapists (Social Prescribing Practitioner) actually listened to me and helped me with coping strategies, and helped me to control the fear and not let it rule my life anymore …

Then I was referred to the befriending scheme which really turned my life around .. at first it was completely nerve wracking the thought alone of going on a bus with a stranger terrified me .. actually made me have panic attacks sitting at home thinking about it … but meeting with Natalie I found her so relaxed and friendly and completely understanding of my situation never judging me only encouraging and helping me to see the positives in every situation .. she also reminded me to always be proud of my achievements no matter how small they are .. and by taking baby steps she encouraged me to do what I felt comfortable and never pushed me to do anything I felt would be too much for me.

She showed me that there was so very much in life that I have been missing out on even day to day things like going for a cuppa or going shopping its truly exhilarating now to be in a position where I now have found the confidence to get up and go whenever I feel like it without having to worry or panic ..

I never in my life thought I would do even half the things I do now I go on the bus by myself , I can go to my child’s school plays .. I never blink an eye at the thought of panicking now because I have learned through FDAMH that I can control my fears and I have and will continue to do so.

Without FDAMH I guarantee I would not be in the position I am just now of enjoying life to the full and I will be eternally grateful to everyone at FDAMH who has helped me on my journey. It has been difficult and sometimes very challenging but I could not be more proud of myself for facing those fears and not letting them rule me. FDAMH has given me my life back.

Tags: Anxiety, Befriending, Panic, Social Prescribing
15/09/2016 at 2:21 pm

Retirement is the perfect time to start volunteering!

I am thoroughly enjoying my volunteering. It is great being able to spend time with an individual, knowing you are not having to rush back to an office or on to see another person.

Volunteering is something I have wanted to do for a long time but never felt able to commit to with the pressures of full time working. Now that I am retired I know I can commit. I would urge anyone thinking about it to take the plunge. The training and support that goes along with the role is excellent. It is something which people will not regret.

It is early days in my role as a befriender but my lady tells me I am making a difference to her life already. She looks forward to my visits and going out. She finds it helpful to talk to me about things she does not want to bother her family with.

Tags: Third Age Befriending, Volunteering
15/09/2016 at 2:13 pm

Volunteering in Health & Wellbeing Drop-In

I look forward to volunteering each week and for me it has allowed me to meet new people, and further develop my skills, it has also enabled me to become more aware of mental health problems and develop a better understanding. The service users have told me how they feel less isolated, supported and more confident in building relationships.

Tags: Drop-In, Volunteering
15/09/2016 at 2:08 pm

Volunteering with the Women’s Group

I have recently returned to volunteering at FDAMH after a gap of fifteen years. Although there have been many changes the centre has a friendly atmosphere and feels like a good place to be.

I attended the six training sessions, which were interesting, informative and enjoyable. It also gave me a chance to meet other new volunteers and some of the staff.

Since February I have been involved with the women’s group. Every week is different and I thoroughly enjoy my time there.

Tags: Volunteering
15/09/2016 at 2:07 pm

Great personal development in volunteering with FDAMH

On a personal level I am very happy volunteering with FDAMH. There is great support, personal and emotional and great training. After my initial training I was equipped to go into the role. The training was valid and relevant to the volunteering role and situations you may find.

On a professional level I really like the extended training opportunities, there are many areas of training and it gives me an insight into other areas that I can bring to my own work or other areas that I may work in, in the future. It also gives me new connections to people. The training gives me a better perspective of how the healthcare system works and also how professionals work with each other, linking their work. I am able to see what type of issues there are and who to contact.

In my work I deal with a lot of students. They ask a lot of questions about expectations of work and volunteering. Because of all the training I am able to give direction and information and it has helped raise my confidence as I am able to give accurate information.

Since I started volunteering with TAB I have noticed an improvement in my befriendee, their confidence is building and is more positive. We both enjoy our meetings very much.

Tags: Befriending, FDAMH Training, Volunteering
15/09/2016 at 2:05 pm

The importance of feeling comfortable & welcomed

Joe accessed the Immediate Help Service and the worker encouraged him to start attending Drop-In. Joe says:

Jane was the main reason I came back, she was very nice and went out of her way to check I was ok. I would not have come back (to attend Drop-In) if Jane hadn’t been there for me.

Tags: Drop-In, Immediate Help Service
15/09/2016 at 2:03 pm