Possability People - Employability Day 2019
It’s hard to sum up exactly what Possability People have done for me; some things are a what you would expect as a direct result from working with them, but there are other more indirect results that have happened as well (which are all the more lovely for this reason!).
When I first started volunteering for Possability People, I was an absolute mess. I had been depressed for around a year and hardly left the house. I remember how nervous I was even filling out the application form. I had a bad work history and felt embarrassed about asking for previous references. It was the first time that I’d felt that I could be honest about my background and condition. I was so surprised when they said that I had an interview to volunteer. I was also absolutely petrified. However, once I’d met my now manager and started to have a chat about things, my nerves fell away. I still thought that they wouldn’t be interested in me- I felt that I had nothing to offer. However, I got an email saying when they’d like me to start and since then I haven’t looked back! Although my condition was still prevalent when I first volunteered, it gave me a sense of purpose and a reason to get out of the house. I remember that it was hard to be in a room full of people, I used to wear my headphones to block out people’s voices, as I found it so busy.
Two and a half years down the line and I’m attending one of the courses run by Possability People; I’m employed as a member of staff and I still volunteer. Possability People has given me a chance that I never thought I would have or deserve. It hasn’t been without its challenges though. When I first became a member of staff, I began to have panic attacks because my anxiety was so bad about working. Although this was hard at the time, it meant I got referred to have some CBT. This changed my life. It has given me the tools to manage my anxiety and to pace myself. It was also from this referral that I was referred to another service, which has since diagnosed me with another condition (something else that wouldn’t have happened without Possability People). Having this further diagnosis has meant that I don’t have to give myself such a hard time anymore and I have more of an understanding as to why I find certain things so difficult. This has also meant that I have access to more services that can support me. If It wasn’t for starting the job, then I would have never been pushed to find this out.
Possability People were supportive throughout the whole process and gave me time and space when I needed it, but also support, help and encouragement when I needed it too.
Being able to work flexibly has meant that I’ve stayed in employment for the longest time since before I first became ill with my condition. Because my mood fluctuates so much, it has been difficult to hold a job down. However, being able to work from home when I need to has made such a difference and reduces my anxiety about being around lots of people. My managers have been so understanding and supportive and have also pushed me when I have needed it. I look back at my time with them and genuinely think “was that really me that did that?!” I’ve gone beyond my own expectations of myself.
I wouldn’t be where I am today without Possability People; I had no hope, no vision and no way out and now I have prospects for the future and the support I need to fulfil my life the way that I want to. If you’d have told me two and a half years ago where I was today, then I wouldn’t have believed you.
I wasn’t able to walk down the street on my own in central Brighton before the Digital Skills course. Now I do it without even thinking. It gave me a reason to be in town and through this gradual exposure to it, I have built up a resilience that has stayed with me. I am now currently attending a course in London, something I wouldn’t have even contemplated before. I now travel into London and work with the archives at the Wellcome Trust. The Digital Skills course really helped me to build my confidence and everything has really gone from there. Being on the course meant taking part in something that was bigger than my worries, being able to listen to other people and feeling like I had a place really helped me. I also learnt a lot and using what I learnt over the course really helped me to get onto the course in London. I had to go for an interview to get onto it and this is an area that we covered. I felt as if I had the tools that I needed in order to help me to put myself across in a positive light. The work we did on disclosure also helped me to be confident about talking about my conditions, which are seen in a positive way by the Wellcome Trust.
If you’ve been out of work for a while and are struggling to see your next steps, then I would definitely recommend it. I also found it useful to go over all my coping methods,re-evaluating what keeps me well. It put me in a position where I could see what I needed to do in order to help myself, but also how I could help others to understand what was going on for me as well (in a professional context). The course was really a life line for me. Although I haven’t gone for an official role as of yet, if something came up, I would have more of an idea of what to do and how to plan for it as well.
Before I went on the course, I was even scared to go into town on my own. I had to wear headphones and walk through as quick as possible. I got intimidated by all the people and found it difficult to block out background noise. This made me extremely anxious and meant that I struggled to leave the house. The course gave me the confidence to be able to do this on my own, to have some faith in myself. I can now go into town without any trouble whatsoever and it seems like a distant memory back to when I just couldn’t do it. It’s really changed my life. Being able to be more independent has enriched my life and meant that I don’t have to rely so heavily on other people to get me through things. Sometimes I would refuse lots of opportunities because I was too scared and self-conscious to be able to do anything. Now, I’ve been able to take opportunities on, which has meant that I have gone on more courses about my conditions to make me more self-aware. I wouldn’t have done this without this course.
Before the course, I thought that I wouldn’t be able to stick to anything for a long period of time because of my health condition, but it made me realise that I can do things. Out of all the sessions, I only missed one because I had a doctor’s appointment that I couldn’t change. This made me realise that I am capable of doing something and seeing it through. I recently applied to an arts training course in London and I wouldn’t have done this if it hadn’t been for this course. It was a step up for me from going from having no faith whatsoever in myself to starting to take the tentative steps to start believing in myself again.
Being around other people that had been struggling with the same issues as me really helped me to open up about my own experience of disability. It made me feel like I wasn’t alone and it helped to hear how other people cope with the challenges that they face too. The relaxed approach and informal nature of the course, meant that I felt comfortable to do my own thing when I needed to but also got the opportunity to engage with other people as well. I never felt pressured to do anything, although there was some guidance on what to do and when. The course leader was excellent and made me feel at ease to just be myself.
Found out more about Possability People here.
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