I’m Katie and I’m 15...

“I am not scared any more of the unknown. I have become a different person. I have more confidence from having none and I have now started to believe in myself. It has helped me more than CAMHS. It took them a year of working with CAMHS before it was working but with the Choices course, things started changing in the first day. I was really surprised. Choices is one of the best places you can go and it is much better than a mental health unit.”

...And this is my story.

I would say to others if you want to work on your confidence go to Choices. It helped me even on the first day and all the staff are lovely and you will get along. It is one of the best places you can go and is much better than a mental health unit.

I’ve really enjoyed the course. I preferred it to school because at school I’m left alone for all the time I’m there. Here I’ve got on with my work and there is always an adult here to help and support me. The reason I’m part time at school is because I get too scared and my paranoia and anxiety kicks in at school.

I never liked meeting new people and here I worked with new people and I found it alright. I cross that barrier off my wall. I am not scared any more of the unknown. The school asked me if I would like to do a course to help with depression and anxiety and I said I’ll give it a try. But when they said it was a group course I got freaked out a bit but I eventually came around to the idea and that’s why I’m not afraid of the unknown any more.

It’s been quite interesting because I have become a different person. I have more confidence were as from the start having none I am now starting to believe in myself. I have finally realised that this is who I am and people should like me for me. I am a lot better than when I first came here to the course.

I was really scared of coming here at the start because I thought I would be alone and closed off and thought that I was the only one with issues and that no one would understand me. But coming to this course has made me open my eyes and made me realise that I am not the only one and other people have problems also. Now, I am more confident within myself and I have finally realised I have some good qualities.

I never thought I could be pretty but I am starting to realise that I like my eyes and hair. I have dyed my hair all these different colours because I want to embrace my craziness and stand out from the crowd because it is who I am and no one can stop me from being myself. Hot purple is because sometimes it can get intense but the hotness will always calm down. Bubble-gum blue is because I am very bubbly at times. The Lavender is my calm side because I can calm people down and I can calm myself down.

I have realised that I have skills such as having patience, manners, the confidence to talk to people and a bit of control. I worked as a waitress once and it can get very stressful when it is busy. I also got second place in shotput. I needed both physical strength and mental strength to control what I wanted to do and to be clear minded. I was one point away from coming first place.

I have my prom next year. No one thought I was going to go but I am going to prove people wrong and I am going to wear a dress to show people that I have a girlie side and I am not afraid to wear a dress. I am more of a tomboy normally and I’m bisexual as well and am going to get a colourful dress to show people who I am.

When I was 10, I was attacked and I never got over that until I was 15 when I finally told my mum. There is no point in keeping it in because the more I kept it in the worse it got. I have taken 7 overdoses so far and you are best off telling someone and getting it out. I kept it locked up for five years and it didn’t help and that’s why I kept taking overdoses. Because I couldn’t keep it in any longer I then got the help I needed. I am getting better now but it takes time for some people and can take the rest of their lives.

Talking about your feelings is hard and it is going to take time fully be myself again. I know that now and am happy about that. I have only just started to love myself and when you love yourself you become a better person. Love is an amazing thing. If you have friends and family that support you, that is all you need to get better. It is a special kind of love.

I was self-harming at the start of this year. My sister is 18 and it really affects her and others a lot. I have got used to it but my family haven’t. I haven’t self-harmed for a month since I started the course and I am quite proud of that. I am starting to get along with my sister. I realised how much it hurt her and I felt like a bad person and I didn’t like that so I decided to stop self-harming. The course helped because we talked about family and how what we do affects others and then I realised that it affects my sister too much. She has even got depression now seeing how much I get hurt. I don’t want to see my sister get worse and I love her to bits and I don’t want anything to happen to her. My scars remind me that I have survived so much in the life I have lived.

I would give the course 10 out of 10 because it has helped quite a bit. It has helped more than CAMHS because it took a year before it was working with them. With the Choices course, things started changing in the first day. I was really surprised.

I think sitting with different people helped. I used to be very violent and got into drinking and drugs at one point but none of that helped and I became a person I didn’t recognise. I stopped when I was doing the course. I realised there was no point as you would just waste your life away. I used to rob stuff but I stopped that also. I thought I don’t want to be this person anymore and it could progress into something worse and I don’t want to live that life. I want to be someone who has respect for others and likes being treated with respect and I want to be a good influence on others. Like you said in the course everyone has a choice and there might be a reason why you chose that choice but everyone can choose. I choose to be a better person than what I was from the beginning.

June 2017