Supporter Spotlight

We feel so lucky to have such wonderful supporters at FDAMH and we’re excited to share some of their amazing stories!

How Being a Supporter Helps

It’s not just about fundraising! Showing your support for mental health can help other people who may be struggling and it’s a great way of making sure people in our community who need us know that we’re here.

Sophie Alison

“Getting fresh air is massive for me. Going a walk and getting out the house can help shift a negative mindset.”

My journey with the FDAMH started back in July 2019.

I was suffering with my own mental health and the NHS pointed me in their direction. FDAMH gave me the right tools to cope and deal with situations that I was unable to do before.

Now I am grateful to say that this year I have done my first fundraiser for them and not only raised money – I have shared awareness about FDAMH a cross social media getting others involved too.

Spending time with my daughter. Having a good balance between work life, family and friends is so important to me.

I found mindfulness very rewarding this is something that FDAMH taught me. Taking the time for myself to do this is something I have stuck with as it really helps me. It can be 2 minutes long to 10/15 minutes long what ever works for you.

Getting fresh air is massive for me. Going a walk and getting out the house can help shift a negative mindset.

Something that I have been doing for the past two years is making a weekly list of tasks that I need done. Not putting any pressure on myself to get it all done but when it is all completed it feels good.

Most important thing I tell my partner or mum if I am having a off day. Talking things out can help so much.

Go for it!

Try do something that is fun for you or others. Do it with a group or your self. Big or small anything is amazing help and is always so appreciated.

I am very passionate about my job. I am very lucky to have a career that I love doing.

I have been a hairstylist for 11 years and love meeting new people and making them feel good about themselves. I like being hands on at just work and really putting all my effort into it.

I think it’s very important to talk about your mental health openly, but I understand it can be hard and scary.

Being open and honest can really help you understand your self more and make you realise you’re not alone and help is there.

Being vulnerable does not make you weak but the opposite it makes you brave and stronger.

Derek Wilson

“The biggest single thing that keeps me mentally healthy is now being able to talk about how I feel and share my thoughts and feelings with those closest to me.”

My personal journey started when I was referred by my GP, I had been struggling for years with mental health issues but never wanted to admit / confront them so I allowed it to take over my life and I wasn’t in a happy place at all.

It came to a head when my wife told me I needed to get help: first step was the GP which resulted in being prescribed some medication. At first I still didn’t want to admit I had a problem and really struggled to deal with it as I would have days were I felt fine but also days and weeks of horrible lows and feeling of no self-worth and often would say I didn’t see the point in me and would anyone miss me if I wasn’t here.

I had an appointment with FDAMH, and that one appointment changed my way of thinking, it help me realise that there was no shame in feeling the way a did and no shame in getting help.

The root cause of my issues through adult life have been low self-esteem and self-worth, FDAMH helped me realise that and through online sessions during COVID I was able to gain a bit of perspective for the first time and realise that I am worth something and that I do matter.

FDAMH also played a massive part in helping my mum she struggled with depression for many years and after attending sessions at FDAMH she was helped more over those 10-12 sessions than she had been in the previous number of years.

I exercise and I think this is often undervalued by people who have mental health issues, it certainly was by me for many years. I have found a love for cycling and by getting out on my bike it allows me to have time to think and put certain things in to perspective. I am also able to take myself away from situations that might trigger ‘low periods’ for me where as in the past I would just hide how I was feeling and get on with it (which is a term I hate but often used by people who don’t understand how low someone can feel).

The biggest single thing that keeps me mentally healthy is now being able to talk about how I feel and share my thoughts and feelings with those closest to me where in the past I would never have done this and would shut myself off from people.

I am a family man I love spending time with my wife and kids whether out and about or doing stuff at home and since seeking help I definitely appreciate this a lot more and have become a better father and husband.

My other passion in life is football a love watching it reading about it everything and this has been the one passion I have had throughout my life.

I would like to get involved in youth football at some stage as I firstly I would like to help raise awareness of mental health in younger people as well as helping them develop as footballers and people and sharing my experiences so that perhaps I could help others so they don’t have to suffer as I have. Sport / fitness is def something I feel strongly can help bridge a gap between mental health awareness and younger people.

I think it’s essential that people speak openly but just as importantly I think people need to be open to listen and understand.

Personally for me as soon as I started to speak about it and try and explain how I was feeling it felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.

Having someone show some understanding and not judging makes the process a whole lot better.

John Wells

“ We can’t wait till hard times are over to be happy ”

It’s always an honor to be asked to write my own personal journey if I thought it could hopefully help one person in helping them to put the light on when in a dark place.

When I was asked by June from FDAMH if I like to feature in the Supporter Spotlight Serious, I didn’t have a second thought asked June what you want me to do.

I was sent a few Q’s in relation to my own journey in recovery Mental Health that I’m happy to share.

I walked through the doors of FDAMH when I was about 28/29 yr old a was a broken man, I was unrecognizable to myself, I was weighing in at 18st ballooned up with alcohol, too much hospital food and a hand full of mood stabilizes, anti-depressants, and anti-psychotic medication I was taking on a daily basis for about 15 yrs even longer.

All stemmed back Nov 13th 1992, I was 21 yr old and diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder PTSD after surviving a fatal road traffic accident where 5 men 2 of the young men were good mates lived in the same street, were killed when two works vans collided. Myself and Jim survived, Jim sadly passed away few yrs later of cancer. The accident was described as Carnage equivalent to a plane crash.

Being the only survivor and suffering yrs of serious mental health problems, survival guilt, behavior issues all stemmed from my alcohol addiction, admitted and at times section under the mental health act in psychiatric hospitals labelled and being treated for hyper mania, depression, OCD. I was told I was a potential risk to myself and others I was in a bad way.

It was 5 yrs after the accident I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Seems like a life time ago, iv came to terms what happened on that cold winter morning when my life was changed and to many lives taken far too soon.

8ys after the accident I was trying to get some sort of normality back in my life I didn’t want to live the life a was living and I went to FDAMH to look at the opportunity to become a volunteer in the center.

The first person a met was Stuart Aitken big fella, I got a big hand shake cup a tea, and that was the beginning of my journey. I had lived in a dark place for so many yrs the family illness was rife took its toll on my now X wife who became my carer and my 2 children heath wellbeing.

And the light was slowly turned on, I didn’t know I was getting better for getting better. Volunteering at FDAMH gave me a purpose to get up in the morning wash my face look presentable taking pride in my appearance I had a duty a responsibility, I didn’t have the capacity for any of this for the chaotic life I was living.

I would welcome the service users to the center, make sure they got the warm welcome I received my first day, I organized the carpet bowls, pool darts competitions, prize bingo. I would sit with Margret in the self-help groups organized by FDAMH and at times just listen to those unfortunate’s who life were unmanageable through their own mental health issues.

You ever sat in a place where you felt part of, valued encouraged, supported where you feel safe to share your own mental health experiences, and not felt discriminated, or judged. Most important you going to get good company from the staff and service users a laugh it’s great to laugh. I got that at FDAMH.

I got to mention my good pal Neil, he still about FDAMH , he started the football, I was getting myself fit, took up walking, got a wee dog walked the legs of her then I got into running, I couldn’t drive so I cycled everywhere for yrs. We would play five aside at Camlon Centre none of us were good at football, which made Neil look amazing but we did brilliant, we even got into finals at football competition. I was crap at football but I could run fast up down that park all day night times forgetting to take the ball with me. They were good times.

Never far from FDAMH I’ve been on a journey of self-discovery that’s another story. I’ve got a lot to be grateful for my time volunteering at the center I’ve achieved some amazing things that was never in my life line. FDAMH helped me save my life shape my life. I used to use FDAMH counselling services when I needed to address issues that arose through my life. Few mth ago I passed a Counselling qualification (COSCA ) run and delivered by FDAMH by Wendy COSCA touter who has just retired from volunteering at FDAMH since 2006 1600hr volunteering WAW. There a message in there. Great things happen when you volunteer your time you help yourself helping others it’s a win win situation

Like a said I was 18st I was a as round as I was tall , I was a fit strong before the accident, I started walking round the area a lived, my head was always racing so I just kept walking trying to come to terms or look for answers to my problems that day. So, you can imagine the life a lived a had a lot going in in that head of mine so I did a lot of walking, I took up running, never had the proper running great I would run from lamp-post to lamp-post and slowly progressed round the streets then round my village then anywhere everywhere. I cycled everywhere as I couldn’t drive always in top gear.

I was into Boxing, martial arts, join gyms keep fit classes, boot camp I was into anything that keep me fit strong in good shape. It was important I kept good mental health, it wasn’t always the case and for many yrs and even know I can have those self-doubts, lack confidence that stinking thinking creeps in and that not good place to be. I try to be the best version of myself keep myself active not become too complacent. Remember I’m getting better but never better.

When you find that determination that drive to become fitter faster stronger maybe it wasn’t the healthiest as I would push myself to the limits always going beyond what I thought I could achieve. But I loved it the adrenalin rush

I took the running to a different level and took to the trails, signing up for races I ran a marathon, then ultra-marathons running Munros for fun as part of the training with light minded people like myself

I’m passionate and have a love for the great outdoors, I love being out in nature camping, fishing, hill walking Munros, I’ve learned bush craft, shelter building I’m in a happy place sitting by a loch with a fire on the go carving out whatever I think of carving out wood at that time. Weather irrelevant. Il get up early to catch the sun rise sit up late watch the sun set make a wish if a see a shooting star. I love to take photos catch those magic moments so I got something to reflect back on my day.

I’m on the go all the time, I work in Residential Care caring for children with complex trauma so it’s never a dull moment, always on the go I take the kids out walking, cycling, teach them how to build shelters, light fires fishing I reap the benefits walking in the woods with the kids, imaginary play, experiential learning helping them rewire their little brain helping them regulate by connect with nature. I love to say I practice mindfulness, relax and enjoy those magic moments, a do in away, just not as much as I should I know how beneficial it can be for your health wellbeing to stop and appreciate the small things in life.

I’ve just started a Forest School Qualification that will enhance my knowledge and learn new skills about the benefits using natural nature recourses through play the children will benefit but I will also myself, improving my own knowledge in the love of nature reaping the benefits keeping my own mental health in check

Good Q- As my good old friend Bob would say. “We cannot do this ourself” we all need help one way or another through life, no matter how big or small and if you feel you want to put a little back to FDAMH for the support you have received, a member of the family friend benefited from support from FDAMH you can keep it simple, selling home backing at public events, get creative make things you can sell at a car boot.

More ambitious plan a charity disco, karaoke with a prize donated by business friends’ family etc to raffle bring the money in, even better make it fancy dress.

And if you really want to you could do something way out your comfort zone, something that’s going to be beneficial to you like getting yourself fit.

Couch to 5k Run, charity walk, or cycle. Climb a Munro this could be your own goal or get others involved something you got to training for. You raise the bar and people will be so impressed with your effort and put their hands in their pockets.

What I will suggest no matter what charity event your thinking of planning speak to staff at FDAMH take leaflets banners with you to promoting FDAMH service where ever you go. You could get t-shirts, hoodies with FDAMH logo what you’re hoping to achieve and get people attention. You want to be more than just someone who raised much needed funds to run FDAMH you become the The Messenger for FDAMH rasing FDAMH profile what they offer to those out there who looking for that light if in the dark place.

Share your achievements you journey in accomplishing that goal you set yourself on social media, local paper, get it out there. You done something prity remarkable, some might just want to do something quite and be happy to not get that recognition and that OK .

I totally understand why there is people, young people out there who don’t feel comfortable talking about their own mental health, or even a family members experiences, fear of being judged, discriminated in the work place, or in community, laughed bullied at school, not listened to or being rejected by friends’ family.

Sadly, this does happen. I feel quite fortunate that I haven’t experienced a lot of discrimination or being judged for sharing my mental health journey. I have received so much support encouragement, understanding, or at least people try to understand by struggles. I had no quams sharing my story, my life was like an open book I tell anyone who listen, I had to talk about my bad days, the mad days the good days. I believe I’m where I am in life because I shared my worries, I was open honest put no frills on it never held back it was raw at times sore. But holding it in wasn’t an option to me, it eat my sole keep me awake for days my mental health would be affected

What I do experience by sharing my story, you realize your never alone. I guarantee you will share with someone and they will get identification, have a feeling from hopelessness to hope by listening to your progress or learning from your coping tequiques or where you got the support from, sighing posting them to mental health organizations like FDAMH.

I’m not telling others to go out the roof tops share your life problems, be careful use your own judgment if people are interested in you and your experiences for the right reasons you will know, its ok to show your vulnerability, but also be protective of it.

Never give up on someone with Mental Illness

When “I” is replaced with “WE”

Illness becomes Wellness

Petroineos - Tour De France Challenge

The challenge its self, is as a team we need to cover the distance of each Tour De France stage (some of them over 200km) and if we managed to complete each stage as we did then the company donate to a local charity of the teams choosing.

This is a worldwide event over the full Ineos & PetroIneos business so there are teams from America, Asia other parts of Europe all trying to complete the challenge in order to raise money for charity.

Our team at Grangemouth is made up of cyclists of all levels from Stuart who is part of a club and regularly does 100km rides to people who are just beginning and do much shorter distances, the aim is never for one or 2 people to cover the days distance we encourage everyone to get out and contribute no matter how far they can go. Stuart would send a daily email encouraging everyone and giving an update of the teams progress and letting us know what the distance of that days stage distance was.

For me personally who has struggled with mental health in the past and still does now I find cycling as much a benefit for my mind as I do for my body it’s a great way to get out and just have some time to reflect and asses what’s been going on and taking the time to put things in to perspective.

It’s been a great honour to be able to donate the money to FDAMH and a lot of my motivation to get out on the bike on the particularly wet days was to make sure we achieved our goal and were able to make the donation to your fantastic organization.

Derek Wilson & Stuart Duncan

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