Lidia came to Thistle in 2020 while struggling with depression.
I was going through a very difficult time. The personal challenges I was experiencing started small and built over time, having a huge impact on my mental health. My self-esteem plummeted and things deteriorated to the point where I tried to take my own life. I became very unwell and was signed off work for many months.
My family, and my husband in particular, were so supportive. But it was difficult for my husband: he saw me change from a confident, high-functioning, career-focussed person to someone in a very bad place. People normalise daily tasks – having a shower, interacting with others – but at my lowest my husband was having to make me get up, have a shower and eat something. And that would be my biggest achievement of the day. I would just lie in the dark waiting for the next day and the next.
I was fortunate to have a supportive GP who put me in touch with a Community Mental Health Nurse, who in turn told me about Thistle.
I started the online Lifestyle Management and Mindfulness courses. If I’m honest, I did it because I was told it was a good idea. I didn’t think it would work. I felt I didn’t have anything to say, that no one would be interested in me, and that there was nothing in me worth sharing. But then again, I had nothing to lose and at least it was something to do.
It was the way people worked that changed my approach to life. There was a genuine sense of care, understanding and respect. It’s not that other people I met through my illness weren’t trying to help me, but there was always something too professional and too detached that didn’t feel right for me.
The other participants on the courses helped me tremendously. As soon as I started listening to the women in the group, I no longer felt alone. Although I had friends and people in my life who told me they loved me and that I would recover, there was a part of me that didn’t believe them. It was the generosity of the people in the group at Thistle that helped me realise that people, human beings, are kind and good. Due to the pandemic, the courses were online and, though we have not met in-person, I am part of a community that looks after one another.
Coming to Thistle saved my life. The combination of realising I wasn’t the only one going through a difficult time and the kindness, humanity, and care that I was met with at Thistle were amazing. If you’d met me two years ago I wouldn’t have used those words. I was focused on my career and was in a mind-set where I had to function, had to produce, had to ‘do’. Now, not only am I taking care of myself but by taking care of myself I’m taking care of others better.
Thistle equipped me with tools that will be with me forever. They helped me to understand myself and become more resilient. I now practice mindfulness regularly and it’s changed my way of being. Today I’m able to be in the present and to enjoy it.
I can’t explain what it feels like getting up in the mornings now and smiling. My husband told me he’s noticed me wearing bright colours again. It’s like something magical – not magic that has come from thin air, but magic that came from the people at Thistle. I’m in a totally different mind-set today. I feel at the beginning of a journey and that there is so much I want to learn, do and give.
To someone who was feeling how I did before coming to Thistle I would say, what have you got to lose? There’s nothing to lose and everything to gain by trying it. In the worst case you’re still where you are, but opportunities that are there for you are endless.
You can help us ensure support is available for people who, like Lidia, want to regain control and live the life they want: