I’m Daun, and I have lived in the Cynon Valley for ten years now. Having suffered long term depression, I along with thousands of people who suffer mental health problems have a GP and also a psychiatrist whom I see from time to time. And yes they are a very important part of mental health care.
But for years I just got by on medication, and support from family and close friends; because they were the only ones who knew my problems and I felt safe within this circle. However never stepping outside this circle was limiting my moving forward. Inside I wanted to do other things, but just not having the confidence to do anything different, until I had the opportunity to attend classes which are supported by carers of Ty Heddwch.
At first I went to an arts and craft class. I was worried that I might have a panic attack, but the atmosphere was so relaxed and informal, and I think everyone there probably felt the same. Knowing that there were carers there to help and support us was reassuring. The carers are very helpful and understanding, and dedicated to their work with us at the classes.
Users at the classes have different kinds of mental health problems, and we all get on great together. At the moment I am attending computer classes. We all have a good chat together, a cup of tea or coffee, and also a laugh and a joke. I’d like to say to users who attend all classes “don’t underestimate your own input; as this is a boost to other patients along side you like myself. Some of us may only greet each other with a nod or a smile, but when I receive any communication from other people in the group, it makes me feel that it was worth being there.
I would like to thank all carers at Ty Heddwch who have helped me to start rebuilding my life in the last two years. The carers I feel are the one’s on the front line of the rebuilding of confidence, self worth and ultimately the lives of mental health patients’ like myself, and its certainly not an easy job as rebuilding the confidence of someone who doesn’t think they have any to start with seams impossible. I myself have only experienced some of their work, but I have seen progress in other users like myself.
I really hope that carers don’t feel that there is no appreciation for their work with us. And I know we get a knock back from time to time, but I’m sure that once you’ve experienced the care and dedication that these carers give, it gives hope in itself. Ultimately not only my life has changed; my whole family has seen a difference in me. So it has had a knock on effect and their lives have improved too.
So even though doctors and psychiatrists are an essential part of mental health care, it wasn’t until I started these groups with other users, supported by carers that I felt better about myself. So once again thank you carers of Ty Heddwch, and in fact carers everywhere for your dedication.