“I feel that the PD Hub and day service have changed my life dramatically and transformed my social life. The day service has a lovely atmosphere where I feel happy, safe, and settled, and is a place that makes me feel normal. My confidence has lifted a lot from coming to groups and I have made new friends.
The staff at the PD Hub treat me with respect and dignity and pick me up when I am feeling down which i love about the staff there. I love coming to the baking group as it’s a nice chilled out few hours where I get to spend time with lovely people. I feel that the day service is worthwhile and if I did not have this service I would feel like I have nobody. I can’t recommend it enough to new starters.”
“Recently I experienced a crisis in my mental health; I reluctantly agreed to see the crisis team and Haigh Road. Given my previous experiences I was very apprehensive and felt doubtful that they could be any help to me, although as it turns out I was very pleasantly surprised and very pleased with the service they provided.
During a crisis I can become very angry, destructive and defensive, particularly directed towards mental health professionals. The reason for this is because I feel I have been judged unfairly and treated unkindly in the past. I automatically go into ‘fight mode’ prepared to defend myself against any perceived slight or attack so in the beginning I had my normal barriers up. However, the people I spoke to (Chris and Hailey) were extremely patient and kind to me. This meant a great deal to me as unfortunately this had generally not been the case in the past. I think some people mistakenly believe people with my diagnosis require ‘tough love’ and perhaps sometimes that’s true but I think most people respond best to persistent patience, kindness and understanding.
I feel that the people I spoke to did a good job of de-escalating a potentially volatile situation by using the approach and earned my trust and respect in the process. I feel that they have a better understanding of my diagnosis and why I might think or behave they way that I do. They showed empathy and took the time to listen to my point of view. For once I didn’t feel like I was being judged, I felt validated, like I didn’t have to prove how I felt by self-harming. They supported me through a really difficult time and now I find it reassuring to know that this service will be available to me in the event of any future crisis.”
I went to a meeting today at the new psychotherapy centre in Waterloo where I am getting my treatment. I would just like to compliment Mersey Care on the future plans for this service.
It now feels like a real positive recovery treatment plan that I feel is going to work, rather than from my past experience where I have felt they have just put a band aid on until the next time I get unwell and end up in hospital. I really do feel positive for the future of my mental health and the future of my life. I really do feel this is the future of mental health treatment.
Here is my experience of Rotunda for your consideration: "I'd spent years being prescribed medication for depression, but nothing ever worked. I had no idea why my emotions seemed so big and overwhelming compared to my experience with other people and how they dealt with things. Then I was diagnosed with BPD and referred to group therapy at Rotunda. I met other people who felt just like I did - people of all ages and backgrounds. For the first time in my life; I wasn't alone.
Over 12 months, I was given advice on how to live with BPD. I became educated in my diagnosis through lived experience, from people who walked in my shoes. I felt empowered in knowledge of my illness and helping others take control of their lives. Rotunda helped me change my life for the better and that knowledge spurs me on today, to continue to help others."
Starting in therapy was exceptionally frightening for me. It took a few months to feel comfortable in the group, but I did persist to push myself. After the first year I actually felt proud of myself. Aggression towards other people came to an end. I would say to people thinking about starting out in the service ‘Do not feel like an outsider - in time you will start to feel like a part of something bigger than yourself’.
Before starting in therapy, I hoped to bring myself into the real world, coping with everyday problems, and normal family problems. I found while I have been here (Rotunda, Haigh Road), it has helped me deal with some real past and present dealings in my life. In therapy, there was a lot to deal with within the group, meaning listening to other peoples’ problems, but I feel now that I am able to assess situations a lot more before they explode. I would say to others, “Please go into this with your eyes open and give it a chance”.
My mental health did not improve until I was referred to the Rotunda. I had struggled with mood and anxiety problems for most of my life and as I got older my problems got worse. I would self-harm to manage my moods, and often had suicidal thoughts. I became so socially isolated that I never left my house or spoke to anybody. Despite graduating from university, I never had a job.
Medication did not help me, and nor did the individual therapies I was referred to. I carried on taking the medication because I felt like it validated my difficulties, and I was afraid I would lose the support of my psychiatrist if I stopped taking them. I would continue to attend individual therapy, not because it was making any impact, but because it was the only source of social contact in my life.
My time with the Rotunda was very different from all of this. I often describe the Rotunda as existing half-way between therapy and the real world, which is the kind of bridge I had needed. There was space to talk about things that were difficult, but also opportunity to attempt things or take on responsibilities that I would never have done in my personal life. It was a more meaningful place to make changes than in other therapies.
Traditionally mental health services talk about symptoms – like depression and anxiety – and so I had spent most of my life focused on getting rid of those things. But the Rotunda made me realise I had other issues that had never even occurred to me, like how I understood my own emotions, or how I related to other people. When I left the Rotunda I said that one of the most interesting things I had gained was a clearer sense of who I was; before I joined the Rotunda I hadn’t even realised that was something I had been missing.
The Rotunda was mostly friendly and supportive while I was there, but could also be challenging, in a positive way. It gives you space to learn more about yourself and how you relate other people, as well as helping you to develop skills and confidence in areas of social functioning. It also encourages you to look at the ways in which your behaviour is self-destructive. But it does not work by magic: the Rotunda gives you opportunities to try things that you might otherwise find difficult to attempt; you need to push yourself, and embrace these opportunities to get anything out of the Rotunda. You are only there for a year and will regret it if you spend that whole year without attempting to open up or get involved in the things which you find most difficult.
I don’t take any medication any more and haven’t for several years. I have not self-harmed for a few years either. I started my first ever job a few years after the Rotunda and also recently went back to university to do a master’s degree. My moods are less overpowering now and I speak and act more confidently and spontaneously. None of the progress that I have made came quickly. I had always expected mental health services to “fix” me, and I would come out of therapy “cured”, but I see now that my time with the Rotunda was only the first step on a long journey.
I could not have started that journey without the Rotunda. It made the single largest positive impact in my life, out of anything. I would not be who I am today had I not had the Rotunda in my life.
I had struggled with mental health problems for a long time and after being diagnosed with BPD I was referred to the Rotunda day programme. For the first time I was offered help and support, aimed specifically for my problems.
During my time at Rotunda I was given support in understanding myself and felt like I was understood by others for the first time. This helped me to start to deal with things in a healthier way in my mind set and actions. I have also learnt where some of my problems come from, that I never understood before.
I have carried on progressing since leaving Rotunda by using tools and advice that benefitted me. I am not “magically” cured but I am slowly carrying on progressing with making my life more positive.
The Rotunda is hard work but definitely worth it as you have support, understanding and consistency which helps you develop healthier coping mechanisms.
I am really grateful for the opportunity to attend the Rotunda as it has benefitted me in more ways than I expected and I now have a more positive outlook on my future.
I needed help with trying to get my life back on track, as I had been suffering with my mental health for some 18 years and was stuck in a very dark place. I felt as if life wasn’t worth living, so this was my last chance at saving myself.
In the first few months I wasn’t sure if I was in the right place, but I soon realised I was in the best place I could be in, so I soldiered on with my therapy and never looked back. I would highly recommend the Rotunda day therapeutic service to anyone who feels the same as I did and as long as you put your all in, you will get the best results out.
I am fully dedicated to giving as much back to Haigh Road as I got out. My life is in a better place and I still have life’s problems etc. but I am much more able to deal with them in better ways. I feel that Rotunda has taught me some very good life skills which I put into action on a regular basis.
I would like to say from personal experience that no matter how hard life is at the time in question, you must keep attending the group as this is the place for you to help make sense of your current situation and a few different opinions and points of view, which in turn can ease a lot of your pressure.
I speak from experience and I couldn’t recommend the Rotunda day therapeutic programme more. The change in me is immense. I did have to put my all in even on dark days but I wouldn’t change a single part of my journey in the group, it “saved my life” and taught me that anything is achievable if you are willing to persevere.
Tammy Brownell (I would like my full name to appear here, please, as I am proud of my journey)