My service user journey - Michael

“I started being able to go out with friends again and I am back to a more normal life, although I know that it will never be quite the way that it was before.”

For a long time my life had been very difficult, and every aspect of my life was being affected by how I was feeling. I spent two years of my life in my bedroom and for many more years I struggled to leave the house at all. I found it difficult to see anyone at times, even my family. I was a long time without any help, apart from the support of my GP. I did have counseling in recent years, it helped a bit, but I didn’t feel that it went far enough.

After I had tried the counseling my GP recommended that I try coming to Health in Mind and made a referral for me. I worked with one of the CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) therapists for quite a while and, between us, we identified aspects of life that I would like to work on. We set goals for some of the things that I would like to be able to achieve. One real positive was that I have now conquered my phobia of lifts, which is great, as I never thought I would.

Whist we were working together I became physically unwell so I decided, with the therapist, that I would stop treatment for a while. After I stopped treatment I quickly felt myself going down hill again and I knew that I needed to get help again to give me a push. I got back in touch with the therapist again and she discussed my options for therapy with me and gave me some time to think it over. I didn’t need time to think about it though, I was ready and I wanted to get started. However, there was a short delay until I was able to be allocated to the EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapist. I had been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder many years before and I was advised that EMDR might be helpful. I decided that I am willing to try most things once, so I would give it a try.

I was very nervous when I first met the therapist as I don’t go out alone or talk to people that I don’t know. However, I felt better because the therapist said that my wife could come in with me for the first session.

The therapy brought back lots of memories that I hadn’t recalled for years. It helped me to be able to focus and start concentrating again which was something I had found difficult for many years. I didn’t feel better overnight but over time, and with lots of patience, parts of my life started to feel better.

I finally managed to get back to some of the activities I had enjoyed before. Even though it was difficult I was determined to put the work in and to make myself try to do things despite the fact that I might feel uncomfortable. I started being able to go out with friends again and I am back to a more normal life, although I know that it will never be quite the way that it was before. I always need to know that someone is around but I can at least get on with my life now.

I can also relax again, I can enjoying listening to music and chilling out. I hadn’t done that for a long time.

Although I have finished treatment now, I know that I can contact the service again if I feel that I need to. It feels good to know that.

The service has helped me very much and I hope that sharing my story will help other people by encouraging them to make contact with Health in Mind.