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Recovery stories

Tony has suffered from depression throughout his life and a few years ago things became very difficult for him. In 2015 his psychologist recommended that he try doing a course at Recovery College Kirklees. Tony has been involved in the college as a learner and as a volunteer to this day, sharing his kindness, experiences and skills with other learners, volunteers and staff.

Tony’s story

Tony has suffered with depression throughout his life and a few years ago things became very difficult for him. In 2015 his psychologist recommended that he try doing a course at Recovery College Kirklees. Tony has been involved in the college as a learner and as a volunteer to this day, sharing his kindness, experiences and skills with other learners, volunteers and staff.

Before I came to the Recovery College I felt lost, a feeling I have had all my life. That has changed since I started to attend courses like WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Planning). This was a catalyst to my recovery as it made me think differently and simplified things. It taught me wellness tools alongside others who had their own issues and problems, and I learnt that I need to have a daily routine.

Because of what I have learnt and put into practice I have more confidence now than ever before. My confidence and self-esteem were always very low. I am more prepared to do things that I was scared to do just a year ago, for example singing, dancing, travelling and public speaking. I struggled with being angry and annoyed with the frustrations of life. I am more relaxed now, what I call being “chilled.

I understand the pain of others because of my own experience and people confide in me which is a great honour. I now enjoy volunteering and being around others in the college. I love what the Recovery College stands for and the hope that it gives. In my opinion if more people came here they would no longer need services; they would not need to tread the same well paths into and out of services like I used to do – the merry go round.

I feel that at last I am becoming the real, authentic me. This is something I always wanted and now, at the grand age of 64, I have!

Sharron’s Story

I got involved with the Recovery College because it has been difficult to break into my line of work because my training which I did in Chester was different and not recognised in West Yorkshire. I am an Alcohol and Drugs Recovery Coach. I dipped into depression because I couldn’t find work here.

My first contact with the Recover College was the WRAP course last year. It is still my favourite course and I highly recommend the WRAP course for anyone with mental health issues, low self-esteem and low confidence. After the WRAP I did the Expert Patient Programme (EPP) which is a form of peer mentoring. The EPP has helped me improve my communications with my GP, which has improved my own wellbeing and health. I can now better speak to my doctor about what medications work for me and which ones don’t and it has helped me manage my pain better.  I have also done the employability day twice because I enjoyed it the first time. I attended to find key areas I could work on to improve my employability chances.

The Recovery College is a very peaceful learning area – I feel more relaxed here than in other learning environments which I have experience. I prefer to do my learning and personal development at the Recovery College because the informal and relaxed atmosphere helps me to be the best I can.

In the future, if there are relevant courses that help me move on in my area of expertise, I would like to do them. It would be great to see the Recovery College having something on every morning and afternoon and in the evenings too. I want to encourage others who are learners to get more involved and volunteer.

Matthew’s story

I heard about the Recovery College through my therapist when I asked if there was anything else that could help me. They said it’s a different way of sorting out mental health problems alongside therapy. I wasn’t that active or speaking to people much before or so I wanted to start being more sociable to help with my mental health issues.

In this last term I did quite a few courses. One of them was the Expert Patient Programme which offered lots of different ways and tools for managing problems. The Mindfulness course at Barnsley Recovery College was quite interesting and I need to do more of that. It is quite a hard thing to grasp, but useful to help me control my thoughts.

The Confident Communicator was a good course. It made me more confident in myself and validated some of the communication techniques I have learnt. I thought the short Chess course and the Craft course in December, where we made Christmas wreaths, were enjoyable and relaxing.

The courses and talking to other people has given me lots of useful information and techniques for dealing with mental health issues and for communicating with others. The Recovery College has helped me to believe in myself and has shown me that it’s good for me to be active and live a more balanced lifestyle. I want to continue with my recovery while I start working in IT. I would like to continue coming to courses if they are in the evening or I can fit them in alongside work.

Ethan’s story

I first got involve with the Recovery College because my therapist said it was a good next step for my situation. I did the Mental Health and Moving On course where people opened up about their experiences which did help me learn how to deal with that better, but the course wasn’t quite my thing. The Skills for Volunteers course was good because it gave me confidence to go out and apply for volunteering roles. The Fabric Maché course was really good because it was creative and relaxed and helped me get my mind off things.

Being at the RC has made me confident in myself and has made be value myself more. It has helped me realise I can do stuff and the courses help me to get out. I find the courses motivating because I am reminded of what I already know – they have been an eye-opener to me. I think it’s good for everyone to be around people and to talk to people from different backgrounds.

I want to volunteer at the Recovery College and volunteer at other places as well. I hope to go into full time work and I want to find my place in the world.

Jonathan’s story

Before working with the Recovery College, my life had been a story of crash and burn as I threw myself into different projects in an attempt to deal with what was going on inside my head, it only ever provided temporary relief before I was back in that dark place. When medical intervention was no longer possible because of deterioration in my physical health, I felt frightened and stuck. But being introduced to ways of using Mindfulness and working on Wellness Recovery Action planning [WRAP] through the Recovery College has given me ways of dealing with both long-term mental and physical health issues. The Recovery College focuses on Wellness rather than illness, on what can be done rather than what I can’t and although I’m a work in progress, I have gained much more control over my life. There are no quick fixes, but working through my issues has helped me recognise warning signs and deal with them at a much earlier stage. My kids say they can’t remember a time when I have been so well. Previously I was entirely ignorant about the work of the Recovery College, I wish I had known about what it offers earlier!

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