"I felt able to speak openly and honestly about how I was feeling and what was worrying me."
Charlotte Lewis has used our Health in Mind service - a free service for anyone in East Sussex experiencing emotional or psychological difficulties such as stress, anxiety and depression. The service aims to help people feel positive again, to motivate and cope with day to day issues in life.
Here’s Charlotte’s story:
“I found out about Health in Mind through my GP. I had an accident when I was 25 years old which has left me disabled, housebound and in severe pain every day. Now at 42, I’m still coming to terms with losing my career, my physical ability and learning new ways to support myself emotionally as well as physically. I first saw a Health in Mind practitioner in 2012. I was feeling extremely anxious and my GP referred me to Health in Mind and I received a course of CBT therapy. This year, 2017, with my health deteriorating I found myself, once again feeling anxiety but also depression, isolation, insomnia and I was having suicidal thoughts daily.
“Health in Mind have been a huge support for me. They arranged for an initial assessment over the telephone where I spoke to a very kind lady who told me about all the services Health in Mind offered and we discussed which I thought would be most beneficial to me. Between us we narrowed it down to Guided Self Help (GSH) 1:1 on the telephone to begin with.
“My GSH sessions started a week or two later. For the first session I cried nearly all the way though.
“The second session I didn’t cry so much and by the third session I was chatting happily and evening laughing with my Psychological well-being Practitioner (PWP). I couldn’t remember the last time I had laughed. I felt able to speak openly and honestly about how I was feeling and what was worrying me. I could tell her that I felt abandoned, alone, rejected and judged. I couldn’t share these feelings with my friends. The anti-depressant medication my GP prescribed for me made me feel a world better within a week or so but I still needed help learning how to cope with the causes and symptoms of my depression. This is what my PWP and I worked on. Initially talking with my PWP simply lifted a huge weight off my chest. Just ‘letting out’ and sharing all those scary thoughts was liberating. I slept better that night than I had in a very long time. Then over the course of our sessions my PWP worked with me and taught me skills so I could help myself when I was having negative thoughts or feeling anxious about certain situations. I was fully informed at each stage of the process and was in control of making the decisions as to what type of support I felt would be most beneficial to me. I believe anyone who has feelings like I have expressed could benefit from the support provided by Health in Mind.
“If I could see that a friend or family member seemed to be struggling the way I was, I would suggest that they initially visit their GP to discuss how they’re feeling and enquire about Health in Mind. If they’re not too comfortable talking to their GP I would suggest that they contact Health in Mind directly. The Samaritans are also available 24/7 if you feel that you’re in immediate need of support.
“I hope that the stigma surrounding Mental Health is slowly being broken down. Feeling depressed or anxious are not signs of weakness and they affect a lot of people at some stage in their lives. When I felt that I needed to reach out for help, I initially spoke to my GP who was incredibly supportive. The two practitioners I have worked with at Health in Mind have also been extremely kind. Tears do not worry them! I have learned so much from Health in Mind with my CBT therapy in 2012 and my one-to-one GSH with my PWP this year. Now I can use the skills I have learned to help myself on my low days and manage my everyday life to avoid any additional stress or pressure. Now that I have finished my GSH sessions, Health in Mind have provided me with a list of other services available to me to so I continue to move forward, and I always know that Health in Mind are there if I ever feel like I need a little more of their outstanding support."