I began to struggle after my baby was born and was referred to Home-Start by my Health Visitor. I had never heard of Home-Start before. The co-ordinator got in touch and came out to see me and to discuss how they could help. I had to wait a few weeks and then my volunteer was brought to my house to meet me.
Panic attacks and anxiety
I was suffering from panic attacks and anxiety so I needed someone to help me to get out of the house and ‘out of myself’. I needed someone to talk to that I didn’t know on a personal level. She encouraged me to leave the house and came with me to various places. We then went to our local Sure Start Children’s Centre together which I managed with her help. Both my child and I enjoyed going there.
My volunteer understood me
When I had down times we just talked, just the two of us. She would ask me how I was feeling and was a very good listener. We would talk about my feelings. Sometimes she would telephone me several times between her weekly visits to make sure that I was ok. My volunteer interacted well with the whole family when they were around.
When I was down I didn’t always realise how bad I was but my volunteer did. On one occasion I couldn’t get an appointment at my GP so she went and told them that I needed to see someone and made the appointment for me. When I thought that I didn’t need medication, she helped me to realise that I did and encouraged me to sort out getting repeat prescriptions and going back to my GP when I needed to.
In time, my GP decided that I should see a counsellor, but I wasn’t keen to ‘rake up the past’. My volunteer encouraged me to give it a try and I’m so glad that I did because it has really worked for me. I’ve been able to deal with the issues from my past.
The difference having Home-Start made
I am now seeing my mother again, on my terms so that I can cope. My child has benefitted from her mum’s recovery from depressive illness and anxiety. She doesn’t need to see me how I was sometimes.
I have been able to go out shopping, to the park or to do anything that I want to for a long time now. Last year we all went to the trip that Home-Start put on to Gulliver’s Land which the whole family enjoyed.
I have even got myself a part-time job which I love. I feel so much better. I haven’t felt so good for years.