"I went to see the doctors because I did not understand why I was seeing and hearing things... why I could not just be around people without feeling weird. When I went to the first centre where my GP referred me to at the Bethlem hospital, I thought 'am I crazy or something?' I was trying to convince myself that nothing was wrong and I was at a place that was all medical.
Before coming to OASIS I thought 'I am gone, there is no going back'. In the beginning I would question myself – look to myself for answers. I would sit on my bed and think to myself 'am I a monster?' The feeling I would get freaked me out.
I have learnt that because there is so much stigma around mental health, we are made to believe that if you talk about it you are mad. If you do not talk though you will not get better. If someone was wanting help but not sure what to do – I would say if I had not received help where would I be now? There is nothing wrong with accepting something is wrong."
"The assessment was alright, it lasted about an hour. They wanted to know what I was going through and the symptoms – it is why they wanted to help me.
I have been with OASIS for 1.5 years. At OASIS I have been offered keyworking, a doctor (psychiatrist) and psychology. I was not expecting people to be so nice. I was expecting them to talk in riddles like my GP but people were not like that."
"The Doctor gave me a diagnosis which was what I was looking for, and he confirmed it was not just depression. He offered me medication which I declined and he was OK about that. He told me it might be beneficial but that it is up to me and I did not have to if I did not want to."
"Key-working sessions have been the most important ones. It has normalised things even more. We chat about day to day things and she shows a genuine interest in my life. It has shown me that people do care. We have worked on planning and motivation to do things weekly, so I felt like I was progressing. Basically we set life goals too, and I have achieved goals I never thought I could."
"I was offered a low self-esteem group. It is a pretty good group, really important. If I had not been to the group I would not know how much low self-esteem affected me. The last session we had was looking at why we feel we are worthless. I know that if I do not do certain things I think I am a failure. Putting it down on paper just really shocked me. It makes me want to change. I like that the group is intimate and there is no pressure to talk or not to talk. I think I will be alright without the group. I have already started acting different – I used to feel bad about not seeing friends but I have learnt to look after myself just like everyone else does."
"Seeing and hearing things, I was convinced I was someone else. In the beginning it would take time to believe what the psychologist was saying. The whole time she normalised the situation and I started to believe there was not actually something wrong with me. And she was just so nice as well. She helped me with social anxiety – she made me go shopping in Croydon. We went to the West End and she left me alone – after that I was able to go shopping for 3 hours by myself – so it really does help. She made me do experiments, like sitting on a bus and seeing how I felt around people.
I overthink and worry. I can sit and worry about something other people do not worry about. My second psychologist taught me about safety behaviours, that make me feel good but actually continue the cycle of anxiety. We have spoken about relationships too and done experiments about how to interact with people without feeling bad about myself. He has given me tools to try and focus on other people, not just myself."