If I’m being truthful, when I first heard about Llanelli Mind, I thought ‘I’m not ill enough to go somewhere like that!’ When you hear people say ‘Mind’, you think of people with mental health problems, and you think the worst. You think that the people who go there are really, really ill, but when I came in, it wasn’t like that at all. To be honest, it was a big surprise.
They were all like me.
We each have our different problems that we we’re trying to cope with it, but we’re all a support for one another too. I’ve had counselling which was very, very helpful. I’ve got Body Dysmorphic Disorder and over the years it’s like I’ve brainwashed myself. I’d tell myself that I couldn’t go certain places because people would be looking at me because I’m ugly; that’s what I see when I look at myself in the mirror. So I’d often panic and stay at home, hiding in the house. Working with the Llanelli Mind counsellor has started to change my way of thinking though. It hasn’t cured me, but I’m learning to cope with new things and I’ve realised that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
I know now that I can have a better life, a happier one.
20 years ago, I was ok to get on the train and I would go to Cardiff and other places but, as the years went on, my confidence went. Eventually, I was afraid to go anywhere; dentist, doctors… that’s how scared I was of everything. But at Llanelli Mind, we go on trips and we have social events like cream teas. I try and get involved when I feel I can. I’ve been on trips to Llansteffan and Tenby, and that’s helping me build my confidence back up. There was a time that if I’d said to my husband ‘let’s go for a walk along the beach’, I’d have my bag, I’d have my bottle of water, I’d have my Temazepam, I’d have all my tablets, just in case… But I don’t do that now. I still can’t go into town because I’m from Llanelli and I worry about seeing people I know; I worry they will look at me and judge me. But when I’m out with Mind I just feel safer because I’ve got people around me who are similar to me. I think we all support one another.
If it wasn’t for Llanelli Mind, I’d probably just stay at home sitting in the house. I come here Mondays, Tuesdays, and on Thursdays we get a class in the morning with Karen – that’s really good. It covers things like mindfulness and positive thinking. If I wasn’t coming here, to be honest, I’d have nothing, really. No other support.
If anyone is struggling with their mental health, I would tell them to come here straight away. Come in and talk to people, you don’t have to cope on your own. I know I could go to Jen, Karen, or any of the staff or volunteers, with anything really.
It makes a big difference knowing that somebody cares.
And I know that If I keep coming here, I am just going to get better and better. I don’t drive so my aim is to be able to get on the bus and go to Swansea, like I used to. If I can go back to doing that, then I’ll have achieved the world. Coming here is really making a big, big difference.