A Learner Shares Their Journey

In this moving testimonial a Recovery College Cornwall learner describes their mental ill health, their recovery journey and the role RCC played.

To me the RCC is like a mother that my physical mother was never to me – I got help in very tough times.

I first had contact with Julia and then courses with Julia, Nick, Sarah, Tracey, Lisa and Rebecca.

The RCC courses for me were such a big help for me that I became a different person at the age of 47 years due to the RCC

I started to like myself, accept myself and be gentle with myself – the first time in 47 years.

Before that I was harming myself physically and emotionally.

This only changed last year when I started with the Recovery College – I am much happier, confident and jolly as a person.

I am happy that I am what I am and I like myself.

This is like going from the sea level to the top of Everest in one year.

It was a long journey but I feel so much better these days.

This positive attitude to myself helps me to fight my cancer.

I want to fight, to survive, to have a meaning and to stay in this world. I go to bed now thinking that I have had a good day.

This is priceless and cannot be measured – Just being well.

An example is that I have changed how I dress and now I am colourful in my clothing choices.

Meeting the other students was very positive for me as it meant that I wasn’t the only person suffering with mental health issues and they had similar behaviours and reactions to me. I stopped feeling lonely.

It was precious to listen to other people with similar problems.

The content of the workbooks – especially the words and examples of the tutors - I really loved them- they were able to be very professional – including statistics whilst being very friendly – as if they were very close friends. I understood that the tutors had problems themselves.

I realised that I didn’t need to be ashamed of having bipolar disorder as I felt I had a place that I could be myself and I had a place where I could share the very worst times.

The very first course at stepping stones at the beginning of the course I was very scared and cried as I was scared to share personal things about myself. Nick the tutor and the other students were so kind to me and to make me feel comfortable and they shared compassion and love for another human being. After the first 15 minutes I felt much better and so grateful to be there. I felt that I didn’t need to be ashamed of myself.

I also learnt a lot of things about my behaviour and how to cope with problems, breathing techniques, reframing, how to have healthier thoughts, that there are many other people who feel like me.

Very very important that there is a place like the Recovery College and that I don’t need to be ashamed of having Bipolar Disorder – this was a huge burden that is not on my shoulders anymore – sometimes.

I have been told about the RCC by my care coordinator at the CMHT – I was supposed to look online and – a month later I hadn’t done anything. A month later I filled in the brief form why I wanted to join the RCC. I want to say that I am so grateful to Lizzie my CMHT care coordinator I wouldn’t have signed up as it was scary, new, unknown but I did it and I didn’t have any expectations of it.

My first contact with Julia for my enrolment I felt I could trust her and I was crying. I remember the tears on my face – I said that I was broken in a thousand pieces and I cannot put myself together – but when I left I trusted Julia.

I was also referred on from the Recovery College to worked with Chloe Hale from Cornwall Council Adult Community Learning on their mental health level 2 course. I wasn’t able to complete this first time due to ill health and Chloe supported me to consider returning to complete the course when my health has improved.

I would also like to thank Dean Harvey for all of his presence, humanity, so understanding and to be able to heal people. He is a healer. The best thing about him is that he is human.

I am glad that I have the wish to be alive and to be well.

My deep gratitude is for all of you for being beautiful human beings and making the world a better place to be.

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