Building confidence and rebuilding trust in recovery

Michaela is 22 and accesses Penumbra support services. She wanted to share her inspiring story with Spotlight and we’re so glad she has. Here’s Michaela’s story.

I was really young when my parents found out I was diagnosed with epilepsy; I was about 18 months old. I have had treatment for it and now I have been seizure free for over 13 years. My mental health issues started at a really young age, at around the age of 8/9 years old. This was when I started getting picked on by other girls in my school for the way I look and the way my skin was. It had led to me being really depressed and anxious. I hated being picked on because when I told someone about it I always felt like I wasn’t being understood or how I was feeling.

As I was growing up, I have had quite a few traumatic relationships and developed really bad trust issues. This had led to me to not wanting to speak about any of this to anyone as I didn’t think anyone would listen.

I moved in March 2019 and I finally got the courage to go to the doctors to speak about this as I was struggling to stay in a job because of my mental health. They diagnosed me with depression and anxiety. They referred me to a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist put me on a waiting list to get tested for a form of epilepsy and getting me tested for autism.

The doctors also suggested talking to Penumbra. I have been getting support from Penumbra for over eight months now and they are a great support system. I have helped Penumbra with interviews and this has given me experience and an insight into what it’s like to be the interviewer, and not the interviewee. They have supported me to get into college and I’m studying Gateway To College at level 4. I’ve been accepted into college for next year to study child, health and social care at level 5 as I’d like to get the qualifications to become a midwife. I am really grateful and I really appreciate the help that penumbra has been giving me.

It has given me the confidence and the trust back, which I didn’t think would happen.

Thank you, Michaela, for sharing your journey with us.

If you’re reading this and feeling inspired to share your own story, please email Fiona Milne, Communications Officer, communications@penumbra.org.uk