A Compassionate Ethos of Self-Empowerement
Back in 2017, I was struggling with depression and substance use, and I was sectioned with psychosis. Since then, getting my life back on a stable path has been a long and difficult struggle. With the hospitalisation, there were a lot of difficulties with accepting care when it was given to me. At the time I struggled a lot with my self-esteem, loss of interest in activities, insight problems, delusions, bouts of irritability and rage, and suicidal thoughts. I started receiving support from Penumbra during lockdown when my family and I looked into a care package, which made a huge difference.
Since receiving support from Penumbra, I have managed to rekindle an interest in hobbies such as music, mathematics, meditation, and swimming. I am also learning to cook good meals for myself and to take better care of myself. The major impacts have been that I have managed to embark on a one-year MRes (Master’s by Research) degree, learning about computer-aided algorithmic composition, which combines my main interests of music and mathematics. I also recently had an idea for a PhD, which could open doors for me in terms of job opportunities in the long term. None of this would have been possible without Penumbra’s help.
I feel hopeful and optimistic about the future.
Penumbra staff have been fundamentally respectful to me from the very beginning. Not only do they provide a listening ear when I want to ramble, but they are also supportive with practical activities, such as helping me to take exercise and to keep my flat clean. They bring a compassionate ethos of self-empowerment to the support which aligns well with my values, and that is especially important to me. They also help to divert attention when I have chores that need done that I am struggling to focus on, which is particularly helpful. In addition, the fact that people care in the long term has helped me to value myself and to be kind to myself.
Mental health is a lifelong battle. My perspective is that distance makes everything seem small. Currently, my life is not perfect – it never will be – but it is so much better than it was. Substance use is simply not a part of my life anymore. I am learning to live with my mental health, I take my medication as prescribed every morning. This has a stabilising effect, but also my social life and interpersonal relationships are much richer than they were, the social aspect of life being a factor that a lot of people don’t take enough time to consider in terms of the benefits for mental health. I struggle with workaholism from time to time, and Penumbra, in recent weeks, have been helping me to relax and take time for myself outside of my research project, which I really appreciate. Overall, I feel more hopeful and optimistic about the future, especially the possibility of doing a PhD. I still have issues, but they are far more manageable issues than they were.
Thank you, Cameron for sharing your journey.
Read more inspiring stories here, penumrbra.org.uk/your-journeys