I remember when I first had contact with BYHP. My occupational therapist from the community mental health team had phoned BYHP and asked them to make contact with me. I was too anxious to answer the phone and even more anxious to return their call. I eventually managed to make contact with them and was offered counselling. At the time anorexia, depression and avoidant personality disorder were crushing me, I felt like the ant being squashed under someone’s shoe. I was far from okay, I hardly wanted to be alive.
I missed my first counselling session. I had got up and dressed and walked to the bus stop in plenty of time but I was too anxious to put my hand out and stop the bus and it drove past me. I walked back home and cried into my pillow.
The next counselling session I managed to get the bus but got totally lost on the way to BYHP. I was crying and about to turn back home when Deb, my counsellor at BYHP, offered to meet me and walk me to the building.
I went into treatment and had to stop going to BYHP but nearly a year later I was in a worse place. I had made a very serious attempt on my life and had rarely left the house since my discharge from the psychiatric ward. I was in a horrible place. I would cry so loudly at night that it would wake my family up.
Deb began to visit me at home and I would be so anxious I could hardly speak to her. I remember having all this stuff flying around my head but the words wouldn’t form into sentences and I’d get so frustrated and angry with myself.
I began to email Deb. As a child I loved writing, I would spend my summer holidays writing stories but my illness took that enjoyment away. My illness stole everything and I forgot who I really was. Emailing Deb gave me a release, it enabled me to tell someone in this world what was actually going on, it became my form of communication but Deb also picked up on my talent for writing.
Slowly I began to leave the house. It was difficult, I couldn’t get the guts to ring the doorbell at BYHP and there were times where I would stand outside freezing cold with the rain pouring down wishing for someone to walk past the door and spot me. I attended the peer support group and it felt like a novelty to be outside of the four walls of my home. I did the unlocking potential programme as well as art and music sessions. BYHP didn’t make me feel like a poorly young woman nor a sad story, BYHP became my family and empowered me through noticing my talents and boosting my confidence and self-esteem.
My family moved away to Wales and I was deeply upset to leave BYHP but BYHP is a family and you can never truly leave. BYHP will always be a huge part of my life because they really did help me turn my life around. I have never met such lovely, caring individuals. There is no place like BYHP.
My life now is so incredibly different to how it was two years ago. I regularly appear on TV and radio as well as in magazines and newspapers. I run a successful blog and write for The Huffington Post. I visited BYHP the other day and walked to the door with a huge smile on my face and pressed that doorbell without hesitation. Without BYHP I would probably still be stuck within the four walls of my home but because of their love, kindness and helping hand I have gone the opposite way and flown into the spotlight in order to make a difference to the lives of those with mental health problems.
Thank you BYHP for all you have done.
BYHP goes to Stowe! The Unlocking Potential group recently took a trip to Stowe to learn about the house and do some hands on art work, in preparation for the new 'From Where I Stand' art project here at BYHP.
The project will be run with the help of fashion designer Luke Brookes who has recently designed items for Lady Gaga. The young people enjoyed a session led by Stowe worker Kelly and came up with some pretty creative art ideas! We're looking forward to inviting Luke to BYHP from next week and seeing the ideas he and the young people come up with.
Our blog is a great way to stay up to date with current events and projects, stories from our young people and the general goings on at BYHP.