“Recovery is possible. It happened for me and it can happen for you too!”
Angie has had mental health issues for most of her life.
It was in her teens that she first realised that something was not quite right as she struggled to cope with day to day life more than others around her. She was continuously unhappy, crying for no apparent reason and losing the ability to think rationally.
Growing up, Angie saw some of her family struggle with their own mental health. Among other things, she witnessed her mother being hospitalised, make numerous attempts to take her own life, as well as her brother devastatingly succeed. On top of all this, she became homeless at the age of 16.
Angie says: “This probably all had an effect on how I see the world, affecting the coping strategies that I formed and not always in a positive way. After all this, I was left with a feeling of inadequacy. I never felt good enough to make my family love me.
“I have always struggled with feelings of failure, being extremely shy when I was younger. This may all come as a surprise to those who know me, but not to those who really know me well!”
At the age of 26, Angie knew that enough was enough and she couldn’t continue to suffer in silence. She felt that it was time to seek medical help and was diagnosed with depression and anxiety, after attempting to take her own life.
However, despite the problems she had, Angie has fortunately managed her mental health well for the most part, without needing time away from work. She has been at Remploy for nearly 10 years, starting as a Disability Specialist Employment Advisor and is now an Employment Consultant.
Angie found that delivering Mental health first aid (MHFA) training on a regular basis keeps her more insightful about how she is feeling. She says that “...using some of the free Apps on my smartphone to monitor my mental well-being on a daily basis again keeps me proactive about the coping strategies that I need to complete to keep me well. Most of these are as simple as ensuring time to recover from busy/stressful times and I try hard to ensure my work life balance is balanced.”
Summarising her mental health conditions, Angie said:-
“Although I have received support from some family, friends and colleagues, sometimes have been very hard for me and I have sometimes felt judged by people who know nothing about feeling unwell. When I have been particularly low, I have found it hard to talk to others or ask for help. I know this is usual for someone who is not coping well but when I feel unwell, I retire from life and avoid people and situations - even family and close friends. It has affected my personal relationships too. However, when I feel well, I have no adverse effects in my life and have a full and active home and social life.”
For Angie though, despite the fact that she feels that she has experienced some stigma and discrimination at work and in her personal life, she is happy to be open and honest about her mental health issues and encourages others to do the same. She is very enthusiastic about trying to help others and sharing her story.
‘I have accepted that I will always have to monitor myself but I think being mindful is a positive not a negative.
“I have great empathy for those who are struggling with major mental health issues. At every opportunity I promote positive well-being and I think this helps others. I also actively encourage others to share their own thoughts and feelings which is important”.
Angie wanted to end her case study on a positive note: “For anyone with a mental health condition, you don’t have to suffer alone as help is available - you just have to find the right help for you! Recovery is possible. It happened for me and it can happen for you too!”