I was living at home with my mum and dad. I left home and that’s when I had my first episode. I ended up in hospital and they put me on medication to help with my mental health issues. I then went to college and I really enjoyed it. When I finished college I got a job there but it just wasn’t the same. So I moved back in with my parents.
Everything was fine but then I was a bit silly and I was a victim of fraud. Mum and dad knew what was going on and I think they were just really disappointed. I had a job at the time so I had a bit of money and decided to move out. I started renting a room but it wasn’t great – it was quite small, I had to share facilities with other people and it was quite expensive. I was running my money down, spending more than I was earning, so my counsellor at the time suggested I contact Transform.
When I came to Transform I was going through a really bad time and I was quite ill. I was stressed out, anxious, I was all sorts of things. I was going completely crazy but Transform put up with me. The staff would try and tell me stuff but I wasn’t really listening or taking it in although I did manage to scrape through the first year with Transform well.
I was in a shared house in the beginning and then moved to a self-contained flat which was great. I had a lot more independence but I also had neighbours who I got on well with. I liked the camaraderie between people like myself and anyone who is going through mental health issues. I’ve made some really good friends.
So now my mental health issues are under control – my doctor does a blood test every month, I keep myself healthy by eating oranges for vitamin C, I do lots of exercise like football and kickboxing, and I work, I have got myself a good routine at work where I do 15 hours a week, so I am in a good space now.
Now? I feel great. I have got my job, I pay my bills, everything is sorted.
I didn’t know what to expect when I came to Transform. I felt quite angry because I was just always used to not having much support for my mental health but when I came here I was so surprised at how much they knew and how good they were at supporting me.
My relationship with my parents is also much better. I see them quite often, we’ll go shopping or for a coffee – I really want to drive so my mum takes me out in the afternoon for driving lessons. They are very supportive, they would do anything with me so I am really happy with that.
Transform has done loads of stuff for me – helping me with budgeting, keeping calm, and knowing the signs of fraud. I did one of the training modules recently called “staying safe online” that was really good – I learnt a lot. I was also in quite a bit of debt, I told my keyworker Louise and she got on the phone and sorted it out. I couldn’t believe it.
Recently I’ve been quite busy so I missed a few appointments but I felt fine. I spoke to Louise and she was really happy that I’d been able to manage without her because it means she’s done her job! That gives me a lot of encouragement as well because I know at some point I’m going to have to move on from Transform but I know I’ll be alright.
...I am positive, I feel positive and upbeat and nice in general.
I’m currently working at a hotel in the kitchen. I started there as a temp but they were so impressed with me that they asked me to stay permanently! So I was really pleased. I get on with pretty much everyone and I really enjoy it. I’m in a really good place. I have a really strong work ethic, I’ve been working since I was 16, but knowing things can get a bit too much for me Louise has managed to work it out so that I could work as well as getting benefits so I can stay in control.
I have learnt a lot but the most important thing is to be well because it really does matter and that’s because of Transform. If I wasn’t with Transform I don’t know what I would be doing now, I have just come on leaps and bounds.
I’ve realised that if I need help, there’s help available. I don’t have to go at it alone and do it the hard way. That’s what I feel right now, I feel like I can go to my mum and dad for help, I can go to Transform for help and so I am really grateful about that.
Now? I feel great. I have got my job, I pay my bills, everything is sorted. So yeah I am positive, I feel positive and upbeat and nice in general. The great thing about the team in Wokingham is that even though I may have “officially” finished with Transform, I can still come and visit the drop in centre if I have any issues – it’s brilliant!
Oliver was referred to Transform by the Community Mental Health Team to supported accommodation. He was really quite poorly and didn’t comply with his medication regime. He had jobs but as he was quite paranoid and delusional, he was really frightened about his colleagues. He lost a couple of jobs because he just wouldn’t go in.
He was quite angry, he never hurt another person but he did damage property and himself – he’s a totally different Oliver now. I’ve worked with him for 6 years so I’ve been lucky enough to see him through his whole journey thus far.
Oliver wanted desperately to work but he wasn’t well enough. After some thought and discussion with, Oliver he agreed that it would be a good idea to go back to work but just do a bit of part time and if he felt better then increase his hours.
I think that it has helped that I have worked in support for a long time; I have a very direct approach I don’t beat around the bush and don’t mind asking awkward questions. I was able to say to Oliver ‘what are your voices saying?’ ‘Are they really bad today?’ I acknowledged what was going on and helped him recognise that I understood.
We’ve worked on a lot of things together like setting up his tenancies and sorting out his bills and payment plans etc.
Keeping his benefits in place, that is very important. Supporting Oliver look at maximising his income.
We have supported Oliver to ensure that he is not being taken advantage of, because he is still vulnerable.
Oliver is living more independently now, things are going to happen which I can’t stop but I can give him skills and tools to deal with issues that may arise. The training module “Staying safe online” is the newest one Transform has produced but it couldn’t have come at a better time! He found it really useful.
I think one of the big moments for me was his moving day into his new flat. Moving is stressful anyway but on the day Oliver couldn’t actually get in because the lock was broken. He rang me and asked me for advice but in the end he, and his new neighbours, managed to get it sorted between them. I was a bit concerned on his behalf but he handled it really well!
I am pleased that our service has been able to empower Oliver to move on to independent living. I feel that his confidence has improved so much, although Oliver still has some struggles with his mental health and wellbeing he has a better understanding and has managed very well.
I’m so proud and pleased for him, I hope that his life continues to improve and that ultimately he continues to stay safe and well and happy.