Where do I begin? Before I came to Transform I was rock bottom, I couldn’t have gotten any worse really. I had very bad mental health, anxiety, depression, PTSD and really bad suicidal ideation is what they called it.
It started when I was 15 and I was feeling really bad and struggling to cope with school. Eventually I went to counselling and I told the counsellor about an incident that happened to me when I was younger that I hadn’t told anyone about before.
The police got involved and it led to a court case which meant I couldn’t get any support with my mental health as it would have apparently interrupted the court case. So, for two years I had to deal with it on my own which led me to try to kill myself. I had planned out everything, the train station was my go-to place because if you jump in front of a train, you can die. It’s easy.
Eventually I did get some help, I went through a number of different services, but it got to the point where I either go to live with Transform or I get sectioned.
I remember going for my assessment with Transform, and thinking ‘oh, they’re not going to let me in’ and almost straight away they said, ‘We have a place available; would you like to look at it?’ And I said yes!
There was a point where I felt like I was just always going to feel depressed and that I was going to die – I never thought I’d get past that.
I went to see the room and I was pleasantly surprised at how nice it was. I also really liked the Resident Volunteer Anna, she works in a prison and is really strong, I just felt really safe which was a huge deal for me – I didn’t have that when I was growing up.
My keyworker Amy actually helped me move in! I thought she was really nice. I feel really insecure when I meet new people but that went almost immediately with Amy.
She took things quite slowly with me, we did a support plan which meant I didn’t get overwhelmed – it was great. Once I’d settled in she helped me sort my benefits and access the JobCentre, and then we moved on to things like bills and food shopping. I hadn’t done things like that before so we slowly built up to getting me used to them and now I can do them myself.
I loved the fact that I had regular appointments with Amy; every week someone cared enough to come and see me and ask how I am. It sounds very simple but that was so amazing and was a really big part of my progression. She’s professional, kind and actually makes sure that I am feeling okay. Okay it’s her job but she could do it in a really simple, quick way but she doesn’t. She’s really taken the time to get to know me, which since, I have lost so many friends in my life, must have been a pain. She pushed me just enough to make sure I was still growing.
In just two years I have made so much progress. I can’t say I’m not depressed anymore but it’s definitely more manageable. I used to have manic episodes that would last weeks and weeks, now they will last maybe a day at the most, and I can manage them because I know they’re going to end. I am also not suicidal anymore. There was a point where I felt like I was just always going to feel depressed and that I was going to die – I never thought I’d get past that. I am also doing a bit better with my anxiety and I am a little more confident – a lot of people have told me I am so different than I was two years ago.
When I found out I was able to move to my new home I was completely giddy, and then I had my first panic attack in two years! It was tough because I’d sort of forgotten how to deal with them. Transform has an out of hours number that clients can call if they need help. It was about 2am and I spoke to Ben who was amazing, he literally stayed up talking to me until I stopped crying. This sounds really weird saying it out loud but having that emotional rollercoaster was probably my standout moment because it made me feel like I was, kind of, normal for once.
What’s next for me? I want to continue working on myself – get a bit healthier, improve my motivation and get a bit more confidence.
Transform has literally given me my life back – if I hadn’t come here, I would be dead. I can guarantee that. It’s given me a future, better mental health and, just everything – there’s no simpler way to put it than that.
I have worked with Emily since she came to Transform. She came from her parents’ house because the situation at home was having a detrimental impact on her mental health. Emily had mentioned feeling suicidal on a regular basis and she was finding it hard to continue with her life.
Emily is diagnosed with PTSD, clinical anxiety and clinical depression. She was having panic attacks almost constantly. That was one of the reasons that she wanted to move.
When Emily first arrived at Transform, she was very shy, had no confidence and just didn’t believe in herself at all.
She moved from Godalming into a shared house for young people in Guildford. She was excited to have her own place. The other young people living in the house were quite settled and the Resident Volunteer was great, so it was a good solid base for her to start her next chapter.
The biggest barrier we faced was Emily’s lack of self-belief. I had to offer her a lot of support for her to believe she was capable of doing anything she wanted. When she moved in she felt confident about her cooking skills and was always batch cooking for example because she knew she was low on money, but anything else she would think, “I can’t do that, I don’t know how.” So together we developed her own support plan with her goals broken down and gradually worked through.
We also focused on building her confidence on things she was unsure of. It was all about empowerment and making her realise that she didn’t need to hold herself back. So, to start with, we would do it together, then I’d say “we did that last time, I think you can do it…” and then she gained sufficient confidence where she was fine doing it all on her own.
Emily needed support to claim benefits, including Universal Credit and to attend work commitment meetings. With encouragement she accepted and successfully completed loads of free courses she was offered through the job centre and she showed real commitment to improving her skills and knowledge.
I supported to Emily to develop her confidence, life skills and social skills. When she was ready to move-on, I assisted her with securing accommodation through the local authority. To help her prepare, Emily took the initiative and registered with Facebook marketplace and found loads of furniture, built it up over time so when she was ready to move, she had everything she needed. It took a lot of trips in our small van and a lot of heavy lifting but eventually we got everything moved!
Emily is such a lovely easy-going person, she made it very easy for me to support her. But it wasn’t just me – when she was preparing to move, the whole team kept coming to me with different things that they thought she might like or need. Some of our younger people don’t always feel they need that much help, but Emily took all the help she could get!
She has also developed a much better relationship with her parents, they are just around the corner. She’s able to spend time with them on her terms and then leave when she wants to – it’s great.
So since moving into her own place she has secured a management position at a local charity shop, I had to convince her she would be able to do the job and to apply, and I was right! She absolutely loves it.
I was pleased to see when she got her bungalow and the job, that she was actually excited rather than anxious – it was such a significant change. Emily has developed a lot of life and social skills and confidence in the past two years, so I hope she continues to grow as a person and continues to trust that she can do anything if she believes she can. I am pleased to have helped Emily on her journey and think she’s getting there!