Amy - 24
“I have got a much better idea of what I want to do with the rest of my working life now as the course helped me to work through what my skills are.”

I am thinking of floristry because I have a degree in fine art and want to do a creative job and but I need to find one that I can manage as well as dealing with mental health problems.

I started having issues at the age of four started when I went to school and was bullied. School tried to help but I was a very sensitive child and I was also overweight and things spiralled. I very quickly started harming myself as a four-year-old and over the years it developed into psychosis. A combination of medication and support groups and just learning my limits has helped me cope but I have never been good at accepting that I can’t do something.

I think I never knew what I wanted to do when I was younger and I figured let’s keep doing something I enjoy and hopefully it will lead to something. Part way through uni I realised was doing the wrong course but I thought I should finish and stick it out and get the degree under my belt. It was a tough three years but I got through it. What I should have done was go to Southampton uni for the special effects and animatronics course. From that course, you can go into TV or film or prosthetics for medical purposes. I wanted to combine art with medicine and create nice prosthetic limbs for people and not just the normal ones they can get.

Course helped me with learning to understand my boundaries. I don’t think I was aware of ABC (Cognitive Behavioural) thoughts before and I have also picked up tips and tricks around visualising what you want. That was interesting and I have created a list of things at home that I want to achieve and being able to tick them off each day and say I have achieved something, is good.

The best part of course is simply having a structure and knowing there is somewhere I must be and that place is going to be secure and I am not going to be in any situation that I could be uncomfortable with. Normally I feel demotivated and there is not much to keep you going and feel like I have nothing to do with my time and I feel a bit lost when it is like that.

Most difficult part has been when we do quite personal tasks as I don’t like looking inwards very much so that is a bit more strenuous. It is very important thought but it is something that people struggle with.

I have a volunteer job with the masker’s theatre company doing set design for their summer shows. I have got various other volunteer things coming and hopefully that will keep my momentum going but most of it is evening work and so I am looking forward daytime work.