Suzanne from Rayleigh
Before Suzanne joined HeadsUp she had been unemployed for two years, she was not looking for work due to her mental health as she suffered with social anxiety and depression. She was also trying to cope with personal losses and was “terrified” about where to start. Whilst online Suzanne came across some information about HeadsUp and she felt it was a “light-bulb moment of it might work”, she was of the mindset that if she didn’t take the step now, she never would.
Suzanne made the brave decision to take the first step, she felt sick as she waited for her appointment, she felt as if she “couldn’t be helped” and also questioned if she was not “ill enough for services” as she had only heard of support for those that had had severe mental health experiences and was worried she may not be offered support. As time went by in the lead up to her first meeting, Suzanne started to look forward to “finding [her] way back into the world”. She didn’t know what to expect, but all she knew is that it was worth a try.
At her first meeting Suzanne wanted to run away, she felt uncomfortable and did not look at her Peer Support Worker, she could feel herself physically shaking. However, the more she meet with her PSW, the more she could feel her confidence slowly start to grow. Suzanne reflected on this moment and explained “I am a 1000 miles from what I was”. Others started to notice her confidence grow and Suzanne felt that it was a result of the time spent with her PSW “She believed in me, she didn’t give up, she didn’t talk to me like I was worthless”. Suzanne started to feel like “that I wasn’t completely useless and worthless” and could feel the differences the support was making.
Suzanne’s confidence has grown, and she is now volunteering as a receptionist and has a Saturday job in a Barbers, which involves meeting and greeting people. She is quite rightly proud of these achievements as she has come a long way from where she was, she is now able to talk to people face to face and make conversation, accomplishments that are “pretty special”.
“If it wasn’t for [support from my PSW] I wouldn’t be where I am, I have so much respect and admiration for her… finding someone that has been through similar situations gives you hope… and a glimmer at the end of a very long tunnel” – Suzanne explained how hearing about someone’s lived experiences and challenges and then seeing their career and achievements gives those in similar situations hope. Suzanne went on to explain how those that have not had a personal experience of mental health problems can empathise but can never truly understand, whereas our HeadsUp Peer Support Workers can both empathise and understand.
Suzanne “would recommend [HeadsUp] to everyone” and has already recommended it to those she knows and shares information through her Facebook. Suzanne’s last words to HeadsUp are “Keep doing what you guys do, you are amazing, well needed and a massive thank you”.