Dawn’s story: There’s a massive change in me
After being diagnosed with fibromyalgia and becoming a carer for her husband, Dawn developed her own mental health problems. But there’s always somebody from Change Mental Health at the other end of the phone for her.
Dawn is somebody who has blossomed after being referred to Change Mental Health’s Carer Support service in spring 2021. With access to other services, Dawn knows if there’s a problem there’s someone there to help her.
The couple live “out in the sticks” in rural Perthshire, a mere 14 miles outside Perth. Dawn used to be able to walk three or four miles without thinking about it but now struggles to get down to the village because of her fibromyalgia. The nearest bus stop is a 20-minute walk down the road and buses are irregular, especially on a Sunday. That isolation will become even deeper, as the local taxi company will stop providing the journey into Perth after not providing services on a Sunday at all.
Just before Christmas in 2021, David and Dawn had a seven-day power cut which triggered Dawn’s Reynaud’s disease in the cold temperatures. The two were having to wear clothes to bed, couldn’t cook meals properly and lost all the food in their fridge and freezer for Christmas. Sheila and Janice (Carer Support Workers) from Tayside got them access to a food bank and the Winter Recovery Fund. “I’ve never had to do that before and it was heartbreaking,” said Dawn. “I wouldn’t wish that on anybody.”
“When you phone them up with a problem and you tell them what’s going on, the next thing is already being dealt with. They seem to know who can help you.
“It’s like a lifeline – you know every week there’s going to be a phone call and you can tell them exactly what’s wrong. You know if there’s a problem or if you’re in trouble, you can just ring them – which has proved to be extremely helpful in a lot of ways. It’s the bedside manner, they just know. They do stuff off their own backs and they do care. It’s like having a friend as well as somebody to support you.”
“I don’t feel alone anymore – I feel like if I have a problem there’s somebody there to help me. They make you feel wanted and they make you feel like a person and they don’t make you feel any different from anybody else. They actually make you feel like a human. I can’t thank them enough. From how I felt the first time I met them to now, there’s a massive change in me.”
Dawn’s referral to the Resilience service sees her get support with breathing and coping techniques – especially when she’s having a panic attack. It has helped her get into certain hobbies, like making candles and crafting, and these hobbies are ones David can also get onboard with – “these little things are helping both of us.” Janice helped get Dawn some crafting materials so she can participate in her hobbies.
Dawn speaks to the Resilience service once every fortnight: “Everything sort of fits in and everyone knows each other, so if I’m not understanding something and Resilience can’t help me I’ll be passed onto Carer Support.”
Janice helped get Dawn a Chromebook so she could keep in touch with her parents who live in Tenerife and she could stay connected during the pandemic. Janice even went as far as sorted Dawn out with an internet connection package. It meant that Dawn and David could still talk to family through digital means, whereas before they could only phone. Now with digital connectivity, they can do their shopping online.
“If I hadn’t got the support I get right now, I’d probably be in a corner somewhere. When I started coming here, everyone immediately made me feel comfortable and Janice was an absolute godsend. The support you will get, they’ll do anything to try and help you. There’s always been someone on the other end of the phone for me.”
Our Advice and Support Service is open Monday to Friday, 10 am to 4 pm, where advisers can signpost you to local support that most fits your needs, including our own Change Mental Health services. We offer initial advice on money worries and help to deal with emergencies.
Contact 0808 8010 515, email us at email@example.com or fill out the enquiry form on the Advice and Support Service page.