To celebrate our 10 Year Anniversary, we are sharing journeys of our staff and ex-young people. This blog post was written by a ex-young person who recently left Care in Mind as part of our “Independence Package” – this is where the young person lives completely independently but still have access to psychological support.
Part 1: Catching you up to speed
Before I joined Care in Mind (CIM), I was in and out of hospital jumping in, getting meds and being discharged. The last time I was in hospital before moving to CIM, I did a severe attempt on my life and was sectioned on section 3 and was about 3 months into it. I felt hopeless about leaving Psychiatric units due to my recovery being very up and down. At this point, my Care Coordinator said she wanted to try something different than medication and wanted me to try psychology sessions, with a place to stay outside of the hospital while recovering. She told me that she had found a place called Care in Mind and that she wanted me to go there. A few days later, I got told I was going to be assessed by CIM with a Residential Manager and a CNS (Clinical Nurse Specialist) in the coming days. I felt excited about leaving the hospital, but also nervous that I may get declined or “not make the cut”. However, I knew the hospital wasn’t the right place for me and was preventing a successful journey to recovery.
Assessment day soon came, and I met two men in the hospital meeting room, who immediately gave off warm vibes. They asked about my history, how I felt, what I wanted to do in the future and if I felt I would ever reach those goals. The conversation lasted around 45 minutes and they then left, after I met those two from CIM I hoped that the rest of the staff I meet if I go are like them, they were great. Around a week passed with no news about the placement or funding, but I kept pushing on in the hospital as I didn’t want to go on a downward spiral. However, my Care Coordinator rang one day and said that CIM had accepted me and I would go there as long as the panel accepted the funding proposal. It took another tough two weeks to get funding approved before I could start transitioning to my supported accommodation with CIM.
Part 2: Moving up and out (of the hospital)
The next step was two staff members from CIM coming to visit me in the hospital to talk me through the transition and show me pictures of the home – I was excited! The home looked nice, the two staff members were super friendly and I got told that the CNS that had assessed me was going to be my CNS at the house. This all made me feel like I might have a chance at recovery. The following week, I met the rest of the staff and we went out in the local area to get out of the hospital environment. After that, it was then about beginning to transition into the house.
The first day of my transition into CIM was when I met the other young people, and I was happy because they were all nice. I spent a couple of hours in the home; playing board games and talking. After this though, I found it hard to go back to the hospital after being out, and I noticed a decline in my mental health at the hospital due to the environment and my want to move on. It took six weeks in total to transition into the house, and of course, there were ups and downs, but I quickly felt at home.
Part 3: The first six months
I loved being at the house for the first 6 months, even though there were difficult days, I felt motivated to try my best as I really didn’t want to return to the hospital. About a month in, someone close to me passed away from suicide, which hit me really hard, especially as I was just getting used to my new home and environment. However, I managed to get through this, mostly due to the team really helping me. The downs which I had in CIM weren’t as bad due to the freedom I had compared to a hospital environment, this was because the hospital was too restrictive and I felt completely locked in, there was also no therapeutic risk which was needed in my situation. I wasn’t as open with the staff as I should have been at first due to fears of past issues with staff and family giving up on me in the past
My weekly talks with the CNS really helped as we discussed the issues that arose during the week. Over time, I built a great relationship with him as he really understood me and knew how to adapt to each person he saw. He also helped me work through any issues I had in the house with staff or young people. For example, music is very important to me and helps me when I feel low or angry etc, but there was a blanket “no swearing” rule and as most people know, most music has some level of profanity. He managed to help me work with staff and the young people to play music that everyone felt comfortable with. His understanding of me and wanting to help me when I couldn’t speak up allowed me to gain confidence and speak up about issues I had more.
Part 4: Stuck in the middle
After the first six months, the progress I was making slowed down due to my own feelings of fear of abandonment. Subconsciously, I also felt I wasn’t ready, but this is where my psychologist really helped me with coping strategies and focusing on the now first so I have a stable base to move on from then tackling past trauma. The progress was slow but due to my great working relationship with my psychologist, she helped me to realise that progress cannot be made without a need to get better. This made me realise that I’m the only one who can help me in the end and what people tell me, I still need to put it into practice myself.
My progress began to really gain momentum and I started dealing with real-life issues better than I had before, and I was able to evaluate them on my own and bring them to my sessions. Sad news came though when I found out that my psychologist was leaving, and there was a short break between her leaving and my new psychologist starting. It was a worrying time for me, but looking back, I can see that this time really helped me to cope with bigger issues alone, which I could then bring to sessions, and share what I had already done and how I coped with it.
When my new psychologist started, we decided that I was dealing well with current issues but needed confidence in knowing that I was doing the right thing and that the way I was coping with them was healthy. My progress continued to go well, and my CNS suggested I think about a date which I may like to start towards taking my next steps in recovery, was I ready?
Part 5: Moving on
I knew that I still wanted to stay with CIM but didn’t want to stay in the residential home much longer so it was decided that I would transition to the newly-created “Independence Package”. This meant I would be living in my own flat, but I would still have psychological input, CNS sessions and meetings with my psychiatrist. I loved this idea and we set a date for me to leave the residential home.
By May 2020, the plans were sorted and a move-in date was set for some time in June. The time leading up to June was hard, as I felt my independence was only growing and my eagerness to be in my own space increased by the day. However, the day soon came and my slow transition from the home into my flat began, along with my ferret, Chase. I had gotten Chase earlier in the year to help with responsibility and to give me something to care for and build a bond with. By mid-June, I was being supported only by the Clinical Team and was living independently.
Part 6: Living alone and moving forward
For the first six months of living independently (June 2020 – December 2020), I spent a lot of time sorting out housing including funding, insurance, internet, electricity, things for the home, and generally getting acquainted with the area. However, I was also excited to catch up with my friends who I hadn’t seen that much due to being around an hour away from them when I was at the CIM home. During this time, I was so busy with moving in and getting used to living alone, I didn’t really think about my mental health and didn’t have time to ruminate or think about the next steps in therapy. However, in December me and my psychologist decided that I would start EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). This was new to me and quite scary as I had never dealt with my past so deeply. It was the first time I felt genuinely scared about therapy, but my psychologist did a really good job at calming my nerves and preparing me for the therapy. In April 2021, I and my team decided that I would have three months of fortnightly therapy then it went down to once a month for three months, and then I completed the therapy. Therapy really helped me deal with past trauma as well as how to cope with issues that arise in the present. I am really looking forward to my future and feel there is a lot for me to do with my life and it has only just begun.
To make a referral or to find out more information about our services, please call the team on 0161 638 3285 or email firstname.lastname@example.org