"When I came to Thistle last year I was struggling with chronic back pain, I felt anxious and at times it was difficult to sleep. The doctors couldn’t get to the root of what was causing the back pain. I was looking for an alternative to medication, and after trying different things, I was referred to Thistle.
I had a few one-to-one consultations with a health and wellbeing practitioner and after talking about some options, I decided to join the mindfulness course. I had tried mindfulness before but just drop-in sessions rather than the structured progressive course that Thistle offered – the idea of the course really appealed to me.
I was nervous at the first session back in February my confidence was low and I felt anxious. But everyone was really friendly. There was tea and coffee and it felt relaxed, I started to get to know the other people taking part and by the end I felt motivated and ready to take on the rest of the course.
At the time, I wasn’t working and didn’t have a lot of structure in my day, so I found physically going to the Centre to take part in the group really positive.
Then, at around week 6 of the course, coronavirus hit. We had a few weeks off and then Thistle re-started the course but it was online. I was quite apprehensive as I hadn’t used Zoom before and wasn’t sure how it would go. But it was good! Not as good as coming to the Centre and meeting people but I really enjoyed it and I got a lot from it. Getting back into the sessions helped me to get back on track doing my daily mindfulness practice.
During lockdown you’re in your own zone, sometimes it feels like you don’t know what day it is.
Practicing mindfulness has really helped me, it makes me feel revitalised and I know I’m doing something positive. The course is fantastic, I’ve found it really helpful and seen a massive change in myself since it started. Each week I noticed something different. For example, it made me notice the way I think. I have a tendency to think about the past a lot and it can make me quite negative and that impacts daily life. Noticing that – and remembering that things from the past are not in the present - has been helpful. I remember to check in on how I feel in the present moment. It’s made me more positive and I feel like I have a fresher outlook. It’s changed my thinking patterns.
I sometimes struggle with getting to sleep at night – my mind is so busy thinking about things it’s hard to switch off but if I do a practice, I can put aside whatever my mind is pouring over and relax.
Mindfulness has also helped with my anxiety – just being able to stop and breathe. When I have a day where I’m constantly busy and on the move I remember to stop and give myself credit for what I’ve achieved that day. I’m calmer and more introspective, which has helped with my confidence. I’ve felt such a change and know that others have noticed it too. My partner thinks I’m calmer. He told me he often used to see me biting my nails and wringing my hands and I’ve stopped doing both of those things.
Thistle is a great place, really welcoming and easy to go in and speak to people. I’ve already recommended Thistle to other people!"