10 May BLOG: Matthew’s Story
This #MentalHealthAwareness week, we thought we would share a story from one of our brilliant clients, Matthew with the aim of continuing the conversation surrounding mental health online while offering encouragement and support to those who might be struggling.
Matthew was diagnosed with mental illness about 25 years ago and describes his symptoms as “a mixture of hallucinations and elated/low mood. Sometimes annoying, other times terrifying.”
Prior to Oakleaf, Matthew took up screen printing – a hobby he feels marked the beginning of his mental health recovery. He has kindly shared some of his artwork with us.
In 2019, Matthew decided to take further steps to get his mental wellbeing back on track and began attending Oakleaf on a weekly basis.
“When I started going to Oakleaf, I instantly found myself at home with everyone.”
He now participates in a wide variety of wellbeing activities and support groups at Oakleaf, including our Mental Health Support group, Mindfulness, Karate and Tai Chi.
Matthew also takes part in our ‘Pathways to Work’ Employment Project, which is there to help clients secure the skills, confidence and training needed to return to the workplace.
What’s more, he has very kindly volunteered for the charity in the past by running our Wellness Walks in Guildford – a great way to get involved, help others and ultimately feel part of a community.
Matthew’s mental health journey is still ongoing, as is everyone else’s but he believes that with the right support, recovery is possible.
“I try to tell a story of hope, and remind people that recovery is possible. Even though it doesn’t always seem like it, life can get better with mental illness.”
We want to thank Matthew for sharing his 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.