04 May BLOG: Julie’s Story
In light of #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek, we thought we would share a story from one of our wonderful former clients, Julie with the aim of continuing and normalising the conversation surrounding mental health while offering encouragement and support to those who might be struggling.
Julie became a client with Oakleaf following a mental health relapse and was referred by the hospital after being diagnosed with mild depression.
“In life, everyone will suffer from time to time, which is why it’s so important to keep the topic of mental health in focus.”
She then began attending Oakleaf and decided to participate in the IT classes:
“When I first started out at Oakleaf, I really enjoyed working through all the books and courses IT had to offer. Sometimes the work was a bit forbidding – you could almost compare it to a different language as I was new to all the information and didn’t always understand it. But when I had those moments, I would do my own writing which helped me find faith in the process, and I achieved several certificates at the end of it all.”
“The courses helped me better understand Microsoft Word, which meant I was eventually able to think as fast as my brain was thinking up words for my stories. This helped me a great deal.”
Julie also attended art classes at Oakleaf: “Doing this activity really helped me to focus, which brought out the best in me. There was also a great social aspect as the groups I was with would sympathise with each other and try to understand each other’s points of view.”
“Oakleaf gave me back my confidence. I literally got my smile back and I found myself feeling so much happier.”
In her spare time, Julie enjoys making jewellery, practicing reiki, disco dancing, deciphering dreams and reading major arcana tarot.
She also loves to write stories, which led her to publishing several books including her debut book ‘They Walked in Darkness’, ‘The Alligator’s Labyrinth’ and two short stories ‘The Warning’ and ‘The Hammer’, which she contributed to a collection of local stories called ‘Godalming Tales 3’. If you’d like to find out more about her work, you can do so here.
“I have always been creative. When I was little my parents bought me my first typewriter and my writing just progressed from there! I like to amuse myself with writing. One of the most interesting aspects is creating multiple characters and using them to (hopefully) make a good story. A good story that comes from the heart.”
“Writing can be great for your mental health; it stretches the mind and fills it with other things, immerses you in a story and distracts you from the worries of everyday life.”
Another of Julie’s loves is painting: “I find painting to be very therapeutic. During lockdown, I filled my house to the brim with artwork. I use various different mediums such as pastels – to give a steadier flow to the picture – paints and my personal favourite, watercolours.”
“I appreciate what I do. It’s wonderful to be able to create something that is your own, which people can love and which you can be proud of.”
Below are some of Julie’s favourite pieces:
When asked what message Julie would like to share with others who might be struggling with their mental health, she said:
“Try not to hurt yourself with your thoughts. Be gentle with your mind and your feelings. Find something that you used to be passionate about and reignite that passion again. But above all else, be kind to yourself.”
We want to thank Julie for sharing her story and hope that it will encourage others to share their own stories and experiences; and more importantly, remind people that they are not alone in the challenges they are facing.
If you would like to find out more about becoming a client and join in with any of our Wellbeing Activities, Work-Related Training, Counselling Sessions or Volunteering Opportunities, please click here.