Member Story – Amy

Before I came here I very rarely left the house.

Everything I did was a challenge. Doctors appointments, going to the shops- someone always had to come with me.

Part of my condition meant that my speech was affected, I was anxious and nervous and I couldn’t talk. The only person I could speak to was my son. It made life very difficult for me.

My illness was putting pressure on the family as they were trying really hard to help me. Trying to make me do things, get me out of the house, try and fix me- no-one knew what was wrong.

It took a long time for me to get diagnosed and get referred in to the system. It was a good 12-18 months before I had a diagnosis and it was under control with medication and therapy.

And then I got referred to Designs in Mind.

My first day here, was so nerve wracking. I came with my mum. I remember it vividly.

As soon as I walked up the stairs and Sylvia and Kath both came out to see me. I couldn’t make it in to the studio. I couldn’t speak. I broke down. They kindly bought me up in to the office so I could have space on my own. They talked to me about what happens at Designs in Mind, showed me work they have produced, and told me stories of what it is like here. They also said if I would struggle in the studio, they would find me an alternative space to work until I was ready.

I left that day feeling better about the place, and more at ease.

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Rodney Rooster, Amy, 2015

I tried again and came with my mum the next week. I couldn’t speak to or look at anyone. It was really scary to come here and such a big deal for me.

To begin with I just spoke to mum, my speech was very poor, so I communicated through her. Each week it got easier. My speech gradually started to return as I felt more at ease and comfortable with the group. It was making a huge difference to my life.

When I look back to how I was then to how I am now- it is an enormous change. This place has taught me new skills. Slowly my confidence has come back. It has made me realise that although I am never going to be the same person I was before my breakdown, coming here has opened other options up to me. I now realise that there is a future and Designs in Mind has taken me on a journey I never thought I would go on.

Although having the breakdown was the most horrendous thing ever, it made me realise there are other things in my life I am good at, I can manage and I can develop. I have aspirations now. 12 months ago that was not possible.

It has been life changing coming here.

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JOLT Collection, Amy 2016

I don’t feel I would have got half as far in my recovery if I hadn’t been attending Designs in Mind. They are part of my support network along with my counselling.

I do a lot more out and about now- I can go to the shops, I take my son to school now on my own which I could never do before. My life has expanded, it has opened up. Before it was isolated and closed off to everything.

‘This week Amy went to London to see the launch of our new brand JOLT at Top Drawer, in Kensington Olympia. She was amazing to watch, and so confident. She walked around, talking to lot’s of people, asking questions and getting inspired by everything there was to see.’


Amy and Team JOLT, Top Drawer, London 2016

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And now another challenge…

On October the 10th it is World Mental Health Day and I am joining the wild swimming team to raise money for Designs in Mind.

I can swim, but wild swimming is so different. I am scared of the cold and I really don’t like the unknown of what is below.

So I am practising. Last week Kath said come swimming tonight- and I said yes, just like that! I still can’t believe I have done it and now I am hooked.

It was amazing. Absolutely amazing. It was cold- it was scary, but I did it. It was exhilarating. Swimming out in the open water, seeing nature all around, the feeling of freedom is incredible.

On October the 10th the challenge is even greater (more news to come) but it is something I know I can achieve, I am determined. And I have a great team around me- we can all support each other.

Please sponsor Amy, the wild swimming team and all the other adventures happening on October the 10th by clicking this link…