Over the past 10 years my life has gone from having everything to having nothing, and back to having everything plus more. A few years ago, I was given a 5% chance of survival after a suicide attempt and my family were told to say their goodbyes. Amazingly, a few days later I pulled through and decided I had to change. It wasn’t easy but I decided to contact Penumbra’s self-harm service and was helped by my Recovery Worker to start turning my life around.
On a few occasions my worker asked me if I would like to attend the local college with her to hold an information stall on Penumbra’s self-harm service. I enjoyed the opportunity to get out there and let people know about the service. I got so much support from my worker that I knew in the future I wanted to work for Penumbra and help people who have been through the same or similar things to myself, so when the job opportunity came up for a Peer Worker I jumped at the chance. I was given the opportunity to work one day per week and as I was only working one day per week I decided to go ahead and study the rest of the week, this required a 2-day placement which Penumbra were happy to allow me to do with them. It felt amazing to be back in employment after 9 years and doing a job that I always dreamed of doing even if it was only 2 days per week.
It gave me the opportunity to dip my toe in the water to see how I would cope with it all. I got a lot of support from my manager to complete my studies and I finally completed my university course in June. As my placement had then finished I went back down to working 1 day per week. I felt a little flat about it but it wasn’t long before I was offered another 3 days per week on a 3-month temporary contract.
I am in a completely different situation and I know I have a future.
After working 4 months at 4 days per week I knew that for definite this was the job I wanted and wanted to keep doing, so, when a vacancy came up, I applied for and was successful in interview. When I was offered a full contract for 4 days per week I was delighted. I graduated from college and I celebrated with family. I can’t believe that just a few years ago things were so different and because of hard work, the encouragement from my Penumbra worker and having an organisation believe in me and give me a chance, I am in a completely different situation and I know I have a future.
I want to thank Penumbra for being an organisation that really values and supports its employees, for helping me through my mental health issues and then allowing me to work my college placement with them then taking me on 4 days per week. I especially want to thank my Recovery Worker for all of her support over the years and for believing in me, holding the HOPE, when I didn’t believe in myself.
Thank you for sharing your story, J.