Saturday, 21 April 2018

HOW LEAPS HELPS MY MENTAL HEALTH BY ADVERTISING ASSISTANT, AIMEE WILSON


Hi guys and girls!




I’m Aimee Wilson, I’m 27, live in Blyth, Northumberland; and I’m the Advertising Assistant and one of four Committee members of LEAPS (for more info on LEAPS visit here).

When I was just fifteen years old, I was attacked by a man at the bottom of the street. When I regained consciousness – after he’d bumped my head against a wall – I, dazed, and confused, went to school and told my Form Tutor who promptly sent me home with my Mum to visit the GP and report the incident to the Police.



As a direct result of the attack, I began self-harming and experiencing panic attacks throughout the day – every day. Soon, I was offered support by an individual and when his comforting touch became more sinister… I don’t think I even really realised; I was so wrapped up in my own difficulties. When the abuse began, I didn’t have a label for it. I knew it felt wrong, but I had no idea just how wrong it was – I didn’t even know what he was doing was a crime. I’d been raised with a happy family and had perfect childhood memories that I didn’t realise bad people even really existed in the world…

Within two years of the abuse ending (it lasted around five or six months), the secret of the entire ordeal, built up inside me and the stress levels caused me to begin hearing voices. After ten days of worrying that I was ‘going crazy’ I attempted to take my own life and was sectioned under the Mental Health Act 1983.

Over the next three years (2009 – 2012) I was constantly in and out of medical and psychiatric hospitals before a suicide attempt resulted in my being on life support in Intensive Care. When I came round, I was taken to a specialist, long-term, psychiatric hospital where I finally began my mental health recovery. On starting Trauma Therapy, I began my blog (www.imnotdisordered.co.uk) to document my journey and after two and a half years, I was discharged from Hospital and living in my own home in the community.

I began volunteering with Time To Change (an organisation specialising in busting mental health stigma) whilst I was an inpatient and slowly worked my way up from handing out leaflets, to being the Head of Social Media at their events, and writing reports for their funding bids. Through this voluntary work, and as the popularity of I’m NOT Disordered grew (I now have almost half a million readers!) I linked up with other organisations and began working with them on various projects and at a number of events.

I found the position at LEAPS through the website do-it.org back in April 2017. My first meeting with the entire group was… chaotic to say the least! The meeting seemed to centre around the government and politics – something that I’d been led to believe wasn’t involved on the nature of this support group. Since I began attending the groups more regularly, we’ve all worked out these kinks – many other members were unhappy at the turn to politics talk and so – as a team – we had LEAPS become wanted what it was intended to be – a support group.

Since joining the group, my mental health has improved – and I’m not saying that it’s due to LEAPS but they certainly have helped! Not so long ago, my hallucinations came back and I overdosed. I was discharged from the High Dependency Unit only a day before a LEAPS meeting and was so keen to attend but the Crisis Team Psychiatrist recommended that I don’t. I knew it was important to follow their advice but it was hard to avoid going to somewhere where the people there feel like family.

LEAPS are like a family. Everyone looks out for one another. I feel like I can tell the group anything and it’s great to have just one person like that – never mind an entire organisation! Knowing that we meet every Friday, helps me to stay on track with my mental health because I don’t want a repeat of the mental health professionals advising me not to attend. The group is a brilliant motivation to keep myself safe and to manage my mental health safely.

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HOW TO SUPPORT SOMEONE WITH A MENTAL HEALTH CONDITION | IN COLLABORATION WITH TIME TO CHANGE STORYCAMP 2020

by Aimee Wilson, Chair This year, LEAPS are supporting Time To Change’s 2020 Storycamp where the organization will be sending ...