“My husband had recently suffered a brain injury after a fall at work. As he was the sole breadwinner, we found ourselves depending on benefits while he recovered. I was out of work due to my role as homemaker and full time mum to our four children, whom we homeschool. We received support from charities and relied on food banks to feed our family.
The jobcentre introduced me to Health Works for Cornwall, who advised me about the benefits I was eligible to apply for, and guided me to becoming the Appointee for my son, who has mental health issues and is unable to work.
All of this tested my resolve. I myself haven’t been in a very good place mentally, but I was supported with everything along the way. This made the various phone calls, paperwork and appointments easier to cope with. I was offered the opportunity to attend therapy and work with The Women’s Centre to help with childhood trauma. I was feeling lost, broken, betrayed and suicidal. It was difficult to just live day to day for myself, let alone look after my children and husband.”
When she was referred to Health Works for Cornwall, V was trying to manage several health conditions and life challenges that were preventing her from seeing a way forward. She was suffering from anxiety, depression, stress and a lack of confidence as a result of childhood trauma, which was triggered by a more recent event. She felt betrayed, but didn’t want to be a victim or continue living in the past.
In addition to her own personal challenges, V was managing significant household debts whilst supporting her four children, including her role as main carer for her son, who has several health conditions. V experienced mental blocks each time she had previously tried to find a way to move forward, and now recognised that support was required to move on with her life.
Working with her Change Coach, Nikki, V was able to assess and prioritise her needs. The first step was to focus on her childhood trauma. V’s Change Coach linked her up with specialist support from Natural Life Progressions and advised about the services offered by The Women’s Centre. Unsure to begin with, V came to realise the benefits and how life changing it could be for her and her children. V and her Change Coach also sought advice and guidance from debt advice services to help ease the burden of debt.
With plans to secure part-time employment and thoughts about starting her own business in the future, V was supported with CV writing. However, V had to rethink her next steps when her role within the family home changed. Becoming the main carer for both her son and daughter, she had to refocus her attention on the needs of her four children. Ensuring that they are supported in all aspects of their lives.
Throughout V’s journey with Health Works for Cornwall, her Change Coach provided guidance and support to both her and her children. As a result, V now feels she has the courage, confidence and life skills to cope with life again and no longer feels that she is consumed by the darkness. She plans to link in with The Women’s Centre volunteering scheme in the future to complete the training programme that will enable V to support other women.
“I was treated with such kindness and support by my change coach, Natural Life Progressions and The Women’s Centre.
After a few months I found life less of a burden and easier to cope with. I have come to accept that the things from my childhood weren’t my fault and I find it easier to look after myself if life triggers me in any way. I’ve been equipped with life skills to help me cope and I can breathe again. I don’t feel that darkness that wanted to swallow me whole looming in the same way it did. I will always be grateful for all the help I received from the wonderful humans that supported me through some of the darkest times of my life.
As for the future, I now have more courage and confidence to face life. I’m considering being a volunteer for the women’s centre in the future, and finishing off course work that I put off because of all the stress taking up too much head space, leaving me no room to absorb what I was learning about. I have also become a carer for 2 of my children and will continue to support my family in any way I can, whilst looking after myself and fulfilling my own dreams along the way.”
Health Works for Cornwall is part-funded by the European Social Fund.