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Before Thistle was before I had a stroke so I had a really normal life – I had a really good job. I had a stroke two months after I had a baby. I couldn’t live in the house I was in.
My home care is from Thistle Foundation and I do activities based around Thistle. I have an excellent team of girls who are very, very good and most reliable that come around to the house. They’re very much on time and take me to everything I need to do and I have every confidence in them.
It gives me a feeling of real confidence knowing I’ve got the support – I do a lot of things for myself but I’ve got that safety net that I know and trust and really like the people that are with me. They enable me to do stuff that I wouldn’t have dreamed of doing before – like get a voluntary job which I’m doing at the moment.
I’m quite a positive person. I don’t think, ‘why me?’ I think, look, I’ve got this beautiful daughter who I had two months before the stroke and if I didn’t have her then I wouldn’t have had her at all. So I think I’m always a glass half full type of person and I maintain that.
I think if you’re thinking of coming to Thistle there’s really no other way to go. I have so much confidence in all the support I receive from the staff who have now turned into friends as well as support workers for me.
Before I started using the Thistle Foundation I suffered from severe depression and anxiety. I didn’t have a social life or really have any friends.
Now I help out in Lifestyle Management courses, I was leading the walking group – I finished my training for that last year. I’m helping Margaret and Chris in the gym now, once a week on a Thursday.
I think physical activity is very important. Because I have a condition with my legs and ankles and I find that if you don’t do that you tend to stiffen up so it’s very important, even if it’s just a low level exercise you’re doing.
I finished my walking training last year to become the walking group leader and when I started taking the groups out it gave me so much because I felt I had a purpose and because I enjoyed what I was doing, which I think is very, very important – to enjoy what you’re doing. It’s given me something to get up for – knowing I’m always going to meet people when I come to Thistle.
My life is completely changed from what it was. I’m willing to try things now, instead of saying, ‘no, I don’t want to give it a try.’
I would say [to anyone thinking of coming to Thistle], come along and give it a try – it has changed my life.
My life before Thistle was non-existent. I was a recluse, I was an alcoholic. I saw no one, met no-one, spoke to no-one. All I did was lie in bed and drink, because I was in so much pain. Drinking was my way of controlling the pain. When I reached 60 I decided, this is not going to control my life any more. So, I woke up one morning and threw out all the alcohol I had in the house and came over to Thistle Foundation and became a member of the Gym. Through becoming a member of the gym I came to a lifestyle class and learned different ways of how to control pain, I met different people and I was then in control of my life.
They look at the whole person; they don’t just look at different parts.
I know for a fact if it wasn’t for Thistle Foundation I wouldn’t be sitting here today looking at that camera telling my story. I’d be dead. It’s thanks to Thistle that I’m here today.
The welcome that you get – everybody takes care. If you want to do something that’s fine, if you don’t want to do something that’s fine, but they’ll speak to you and they will try to get you to do something in a different way that suits you.
They look at the whole person and it’s you that’s being treated if you like – it’s not an illness, not a symptom, it’s the whole person. And it’s the whole person that Thistle is trying to help. And I always say, everyone should have a little bit of Thistle.