Claire overcame substance addiction, psychosis, paranoia and depression with the support of National Lottery funded Pink Ladies 1st. Now she uses her own journey to inspire other women with mental health issues in Midlothian…
“It all started when my substance misuse doctor offered me a place on a course with Pink Ladies 1st.
I had never went to a group in my community before and the thought was quite scary, so I refused to go for over a year.
Eventually, however, I thought that I needed to change my life. I had developed post-natal depression 21 years ago, which led to my psychosis, depression and suicidal thoughts. After being on speed every day for 14 years, it wasn’t a life worth living.
So I went to Pink Ladies 1st and started the course. I initially wanted to run out the room, but I forced myself to stay. Now I’ve been going for seven years – and been clean from substance misuse issues for the past five!
Once I completed my third course, Pink Ladies 1st asked me if I’d like to be a peer supporter and help to guide new volunteers. I jumped at the chance.
Since then I’ve been able to help so many women as a peer supporter. I meet them for coffee and tell them my story, and about how Pink Ladies 1st can help them with mental health issues.
Of the ladies I’ve met for coffee, 10 to 15 are still Pink Ladies and some are peer supporters now too.
I’ve even set up my own Pink Ladies 1st group called the Saturday Girls. I named the group and organise everything myself. I still have my self-doubts, but I’m able to go in and run the group.
When you take drugs it’s usually a weekend thing, but now I have the Saturday Girls instead. It gives me confidence – and when I go home after I feel like I’m on drugs, because it gives me such a high.”
Pink Ladies 1st was funded through National Lottery Awards for All Scotland – click here to learn more about applying.
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