From supported living to just living.
I'm a mum. I've had a mental illness. I'm just like you. I am not my illness.
Emma is 28. She has a daughter aged 5 who is her life, her world.
As a teenager, things were different. Emma’s mother was in an abusive relationship and she witnessed things she shouldn’t, things that left an indelible mark. She suffered depression and saw a child psychologist whilst at primary school. In her first year at high school she changed school three times.
Emma struggled immensely with her feelings, there was no peer pressure just an extreme lack of confidence and self-consciousness about everything, and in particular her appearance.
Before her first holiday abroad she went on a diet because she didn’t think she would look good in a bikini. In a short space of time the dieting led to Anorexia and a continuous battle with herself. And between 16 and 21 years of age she found herself in and out of hospitals, continuously readmitted as she fought her battle with Anorexia.
It became impossible to deal with and Emma was sectioned, she had got to the point where she could no longer cope. Eventually something clicked and Emma started to open up and let people in to help her. She was introduced to SAMH Moray Outreach Programme and in her support worker, she found a kindred spirit and friend.
Together they created a recovery plan that would take Emma on a different journey. She was provided with supported accommodation back in her hometown. She got to see the friends who she’d missed and experience the life she had thought lost. Including Salsa dancing and all the things that get you living again. Emma has not being back in hospital since. From supported living to just living.
Emma does have relapses, but her daughter is her focus and gives her the strength to get back up again. She has a close group of friends, who are very protective towards her, but that doesn’t make it any easier for her to open up when the dark days come. That’s where SAMH was able to step in and support Emma.
When I took the small step of letting people in, people who I could trust, I was able to start building my life again.
Emma has achieved remarkable things with the help of SAMH and she offers wise words of advice ‘Just be honest with the professionals, don’t keep things in. Let them in. They’re not there to hurt you; they’re with you to help you. I pushed them away at first because I was scared. I should have spoken to them sooner. The catalyst for me was missing out on my nephews and nieces growing up. I missed my life. When I took the small step of letting people in, people who I could trust, I was able to start building my life again.’
The ability to reach out was both a literal and metaphorical turning point for Emma. Not only did it lead to her introduction with SAMH but eventually it led to voluntary work, then a job in retail. And now the job that Emma loves most, using her experience to help others as a Relief Support Worker for Turning Point Scotland.
They are also a good, enlightened employer, offering Emma the flexible working she needs and support when she needs it.
Through community mental health team.
Service: Moray Outreach Service
Moray Outreach Service provides housing support and outreach to service users in their own homes to help them to develop, regain and maintain independent living skills.