Mental Health in Our Words

Janet’s Story

janet-1Around 3 years ago I moved from London to Kettering. When I moved my physical and mental health had become so bad I couldn’t see a way out. When I lived in London I was going through a difficult divorce that led to a very troubled time in my life. I moved into a studio apartment and night after night sat up listening to police & bailiffs hammering on neighbour’s doors. I just wanted to lock myself away and never come out.

When I came to Kettering I was very isolated and unmotivated, most days I didn’t want to get out of bed. Soon after I moved I reached out to Kettering Mind which was the best phone call I ever made. I had volunteered at a Mind in London before leading several groups so I hoped there was some support for me here.

When I first went to Kettering Mind I could hardly talk, I couldn’t even bring myself to ask for a cup of tea. My confidence slowly built by having someone to talk to 1to1 and getting involved in different groups like talking group and art groups. Each time I went into a new group I worried about being judged or not understood but I never should have worried. Straight away I felt accepted and a part of one big family.

As I had benefited so much from peer support I knew I wanted to help others. I still needed support but I wanted to give something back. With the support from staff and other members I had new self belief and my confidence continued to grow. I now lead on a few groups including art groups, Elefriends Group & Chatterbox at Kettering Mind. I try to keep things positive and just be there for people to talk to. It’s important for me to feel comfortable so I try to make others feel comfortable as well. We’ve laughed together and we’ve cried together but we are always there for each other.

Next I want to get more involved in new groups and keep the groups going. I’d like to learn new skills and I know I’ll get the chance for more training in future which i’m excited about. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to see if I’m still awake, I feel so blessed.

Janet Marriconda
April 2016
Kettering Mind Peer support helper