“What helped was being given a space to explore complex disability issues without judgement”
What helped was being listened too where other people haven’t, someone taking time with me.
You were my first port of call when I developed my pain condition and you instinctively picked up on my many issues, which others still have not done. We covered huge amounts, I was made to feel so comfortable, was able to talk easily and freely without a sense of being judged. Your real understanding of pain and body image is so important because I cannot always find the right words: it lessened the frustration and anger that I feel. I now attend a monthly drop in session for those with health conditions and the people there understand what I’m going through and it is a relaxed space to talk. Sometimes things are still hard as whenever I feel like I’m making progress something comes along. It was 3 years after my diagnosis that I found the courage to contact you. My time with you made me realise so much and I am indebted to you for providing me with my first ‘set of tools’ to start rebuilding my life.
Practically I am in the same place, however, I now accept myself a LOT more and don’t feel guilty being me. This is huge. I am so much happier. I still have lots of frustrations, but I can withstand these better. Now, instead of a general unhappiness when I am tearful, it is about a specific situation. I am more resilient and spend less time worrying. My relationship with my parents is also a lot better, less suffocating and more privacy. I think the whole dating thing is so important and hope Spokz People bring out a training around this, especially when you have PAs like I do. I think you are an amazing organisation and I learned so much from my sessions so thank you.
The words you use are exactly how I feel - safe, respected and understood. My therapist is great. When she told me that I could say anything within the room, I felt totally able to do this, and I’ve told her things I haven’t even told my family. Thanks for putting me in touch with her.
Having taken time in my sessions to understand all my issues, my therapist would also do research outside of our sessions in order to give me the best guidance and support possible. I attended these sessions at the most difficult time in my life and my initial aim was to regain my self-confidence and self-esteem. She not only helped me to achieve this, but also helped me gain skills, knowledge and ways of thinking that have helped me to become a much happier person than I’ve ever been.
I have found the support group very helpful because it’s just disabled people talking about disability to other disabled people. We have talked about difficulties of ‘managing’ disability in a world where most people are non-disabled. I even talked about my incontinence and amazingly, most people in the group had continence issues. This helped me face up to a difficult and distressing personal issue and offered me a way forward.The facilitator manages the group well, keeping it focused while remaining sympathetic.
I realised I was really struggling to try and deal with everything myself, dealing with my recent disability, coming to terms with who I am now and with the fact that I’m using a wheelchair to move around due to constant nerve pain. I did try NHS counselling through my GP, but by the time I’d told my counsellor about all the things that were the problem, the sessions were gone, so it didn’t really help me to move forward. At Spokz People, I have counselling on the phone. I just feel more comfortable on the phone because I don’t have to keep face. It’s an additional level of anonymity.Having a counsellor who understands the deeper issues of disability, who has dealt with similar problems before, you can be comfortable more quickly when you’re talking about something because they understand what you’re on about.
* some names have been changed at client's request
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