Participants of the Big Lottery funded Positive Care Programmes share their experiences…
Participant A – “I would recommend the PCP to others”
I was diagnosed with CFS/M.E. in 2012, and had to stop working on grounds of ill health in 2013.
Since then I have found it difficult to commit to anything on a weekly basis due to the need to manage my illness.
I heard that the PCP would be running for 12 weeks from February via the Leeds M.E. Network, and decided to enrol, hoping to explore further ways of managing my health. I had benefitted from a course of therapy with the Leeds & West Yorkshire CFS/ M.E. Service, which came to an end in mid 2014.
The range of treatments & workshops offered by the PCP was outstanding. I particularly appreciated Alexander Technique, Thai Chi, & Reflexology. I also found the sessions on Nutrition helpful.
I am following up the Thai Chi with a local class & plan to attend Alexander Technique classes in the autumn.
The staff organising the sessions were flexible & understanding in their approach. I was not well enough to manage three activities each week but they enabled me to continue benefiting from the Programme by attending just two per session. The Thai Chi tutor facilitated the class to enable us to take breaks as needed throughout the session.
As well as being able to try different ways of managing my M.E. it was good to meet up with others living with chronic health conditions.
I had a sense of achievement & increase in confidence at the end of the PCP, having managed to complete the Programme.
I would recommend the PCP to others.
Participant B – ” I think this service is amazing and invaluable”
Since coming to my PCP Group on a Wednesday I have really enjoyed the interaction with other service users, the classes and the treatments. I feel that PCP has helped my depression by giving me something to look forward to every week and also having people around to talk to.
The treatments I enjoyed the most were Reflexology and Indian Head Massage; I also really enjoyed Art/Painting and making things.
I will miss the group very much and the wonderful people who run the group and do the classes and treatments. I think this service is amazing and invaluable, it has helped me very much.
Participant C – “I just come along and I can be me”
For many years now I have suffered with mental health issues namely anxiety and depression and this in turn led to a dependency on alcohol. Despite this I worked for over 33 years but then in 2012 I had a serious nervous breakdown which completely altered the course of my life. I was extremely ill and could not see any way of ever getting better. In general over the years I must have seen just about every psychiatrist and psychotherapist there is. I have had ECT therapy, many stays in psychiatric units but all only helped for a short while.
Then in 2012 a friend told me about Touchstone and the PCP so I thought why not give it a try? I had nothing to lose and besides I could not have felt any worse than I did. After twelve weeks to say that there was a major transformation for the better in me is a complete understatement. I simply could not believe the change in me. I felt so much better than I had done in a long time. As a bonus I made some lovely friends who I am still in touch with. After completing the PCP I went on with my life and things just got better and better for a time. Then in 2014 my nerves started to get the better of me and the alcohol consumption started again. It was during my time in St Anne’s Drug and Alcohol Unit that I thought why not apply to volunteer at Touchstone. After all it was the PCP that got me back into real life again in 2012. I applied, had my disclosure record checked then I started to volunteer at the PCP at Hillside earlier this year and now I have joined the drop in group on Harehills Avenue. Thanks to the amazing clients, the brilliant therapists and the outstanding support we all receive, I couldn’t be happier. I have watched clients grow in confidence, take steps they would not even have considered taking before joining the PCP and visibly grow in confidence. Sometimes I might just be having a cup of tea and can hear how animated the chatter is whereas initially the room could be quiet. It is just like one giant team. We are all there for our wellbeing yet somehow everyone finds time for each other.
The other day after the drop in, one of the guys graciously walked me to the bus stop. When I first met (him) he struggled to tell me his name. All the way to the bus stop, after (he) had attended the full twelve weeks of the PCP, we chatted away as if we were old friends. It was so inspiring and I felt honoured and proud to be part of a programme that can have such a profound effect on people’s lives. I certainly have never come across anything else like this in all the years I have been a service user both with mental health problems and alcohol issues. It truly is an outstanding programme.
I have not, both as a participant and now as a volunteer heard a negative thing said about the PCP or indeed Touchstone.
I just thoroughly enjoy being involved with the PCP and will remain a true advocate of it. I have made friends I know will be friends forever. I have been shown kindness by people I have just met. The clients, even when I know they are having a tough day always find the time to ask others how they are.
I hope to remain a volunteer of the Positive Care Programme and Drop in Centre and in time it would be ideal to join the staff of Touchstone as an employee. It is a wonderful organisation. I never feel judged, out of place or uncomfortable. I just come along and I can be me. Just be me and feel happy and relaxed.
In all the years I have had my issues I truly have never encountered a programme such as this where you can visibly see each week the vast improvements in people’s general health and wellbeing. I also wanted to take this opportunity of thanking (Karen) for the great opportunity that has been afforded me by being a part of the PCP. Long may the Positive Care Programme continue as it truly is inspirational.
Participant D – “The PCP brought me hope”
“Prior to my joining the PCP programme I was very depressed & distressed in the wake of my only Sister’s sudden unexpected death .Obviously this impacted on my everyday life & compounded the symptoms of my Sjogren’s Syndrome & Coeliac Disease. I am unable to tolerate conventional Medication & so am dependant on my own resources. I can truly say that the PCP was a miracle in my life which brought me out of my darkness ‘into the light’ helping me to address my emotional & physical problems. This was achieved by the various non-invasive therapies provided by the professional therapists with commitment and complete dedication to the client without prejudice. As a result of the positive input I was able to regain my strength & confidence & joined a choir & walking group as well as an over 55’s group.
The PCP brought me hope to deal with my physical & emotional problems. I was not a label number in the medical sense but a person in my right whom the Team treated with the highest respect, kindness, hospitality, humour, selflessness & total commitment, always with a listening ear. It was a joy to attend each session all of which were of great benefit to me. The more practical of these have become part of my life to enhance my quality of life. They have sustained me mentally & physically. The handouts & notes are most useful as a reminder of these therapies
I thoroughly enjoyed meeting so many other folks on the programme & was so great to see them grow in their self-belief & confidence. It was a privilege to be part of such a worthwhile programme for which I hope many more folks can part take to benefit them.“
Participant E –“My life has changed beyond recognition”
“Before joining the PCP I was struggling not only to cope with my condition [Chronic Back and Leg pain], but with life in general. With only prescription medicines being available to enable me to lead some form of ‘normal life’, I had come to the conclusion that I would have to rely upon such medication. As such this led to further complications, such as depression, which negatively affected not only me but my family. Since joining the PCP, my life has changed beyond recognition, despite there being no improvement in my condition. What PCP has done, is ‘open my eyes’ to alternative forms of treatment and a different way of leading my life. Through some of the treatments and techniques sampled, I have been able to adopt and adapt, thus helping me cope better with my condition and enjoy a better quality of life.”
Participant F – “My whole life began to change from the moment I started on the PCP”
“I was in constant pain even when on muscle relaxants and tramadol and diclofenac. Having lost my job, because of my health issues, I was at a loss but my whole life began to change from the moment I started on the PCP. I never understood my pain or wanted to connect with it I was always rejecting it. The therapies helped me connect with my body, understand it, and listen to it then act on it. I do it all without medication (with advice from doc) it’s been over a year now that I have been pain killer free.”