Charlotte lost all her confidence when she was diagnosed with epilepsy in 2014; she went from having a job and independence to struggling with everyday things like catching a train. She began self-harming as a way to cope, but people didn’t understand.
“I was working for Somerfield when I began to have mental health problems. It started with self-harming; a member of staff who I became close with asked how I injured my arm and because I’m honest
I told them the truth about what I did. They said that if I could hurt myself I could hurt others, accused me of doing it for attention and said they wouldn’t bring flowers to my grave – because they thought self-harm was the same as suicide.
“In 2017 a support worker eventually convinced me to go to The American Clubhouse and once I settled in I met my best friend.
“I enjoyed colouring and I became interested in 5D Diamond Printing – I even made the American Bald Eagle with a flag, which I donated to the Clubhouse to mark Independence Day. I got most of the members doing 5D Diamond Painting and I seemed to be gaining my confidence back. I even dressed as the Statue Of Liberty for Independence Day last year.”
“I also now take part in a lot of local charity events, including the Potters ‘Arf Marathon, a Race for Life and The Dougie Mac Moonlight Walk. I’ve done lots of things I didn’t feel confident doing before; I’m now an official volunteer for Brighter Futures.
Charlotte recommends keeping a diary to note down feelings and moods, to help decide if someone should visit their GP. She said: “They can show the diary to their GP, who can refer them to mental health services, like Brighter Futures. Please don’t be scared to ask for help.
“If you know someone with mental health issues you can help just by letting the person know that you are there for them if they ever need to talk. Try to be patient and not judge them. If they are afraid to go see their GP, maybe offer to go with them for the first appointment.”