My service user journey - Alison

“There were six of us and it was great as everybody understood how everyone else was feeling. It was brilliant and I really felt at ease.”

I had felt low for about four years, since I had my first child. I felt that I would be low for the rest of my life and I was questioning why I had had children. I was having very limited interaction with my children. I did all of the practical tasks like washing, cleaning and feeding them, but I didn’t feel able to play with them. Every day was just like going through the motions.

I saw a perinatal course leaflet in a local centre. I rang Health in Mind and then one of their therapists called me back. The therapist asked me lots of questions and then said she thought they could probably help and I was offered a place on the course. I received some leaflets about the course and some questionnaires to fill out and bring along to the first session. When I went along to the first session I felt really welcome and comfortable.

There were six of us and it was great as everybody understood how everyone else was feeling. It was brilliant and I really felt at ease. My children were also looked after in the crèche and they were brilliant too. It was good to know that they were safe and I didn’t have to worry about them. I had time to myself and to think about myself. It meant that I could do the course and didn’t have to worry about finding childcare.

In the course it didn’t matter how I felt I could just say what I wanted to say. Listening to the other people helped me see that I wasn’t alone or the only one to have these feelings. We learnt about Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. We learnt to understand how our feelings are connected to our thoughts and actions. It made me stop and think about what was causing my actions and how I could change myself and what I was doing. I learnt about my medication too. The doctor had said to take it in the evening but it made me have really vivid dreams. It was suggested that I try taking it in the morning and that has really helped.

The course was ten weeks and as we went through I started to feel better. Some weeks were really tough but I could see where things were going wrong and why I was feeling how I was. There were some weeks where I had a job to push myself to go to the group but when I got there we had a really good talk and it helped.

Now that the course is finished my outlook is so much better. I really wanted to do the course to form a bond with my four year old son, and now I have. A few weeks ago we went to the zoo and my son held my hand and I thought ‘I’m his mum’ and after four and a half years that was quite an achievement and exactly what I wanted. It was my goal and I achieved it. I can now interact with my children and it is so much better.

I definitely would recommend the service to other people. I wish that I had known about it sooner.