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My ambition throughout school was to become a social worker, I knew from a young age that I wanted to help others as much as I possibly could and I was certain healthcare was the career path for me. I started my first job at 18 as a support worker, my client was a schizophrenic with borderline personality disorder, and my other client was autistic. After being in the job for a few months I quickly decided that the mental health sector was where I wanted to be as I enjoyed my job so much, I was intrigued and wanted to continue learning more.
I learnt that I was able to maintain a professional manner inside my job, and I had the ability to switch from work mode to home life upon leaving my shift. I feel this is necessary in the mental health field. Shortly after starting my job I enrolled myself in to college and completed my level 3 health and social care qualification, my ambition was now to become a mental health nurse, as it still is today five years on.
One in four people in the United Kingdom will experience a mental health problem at some stage in their life. Mental health issues can happen to anyone from all different walks of life, no matter who you are. Just short of a year after my son was born I soon realized this myself. I’ve always seen myself as a confident driven woman who gets an idea in her head and works for what she wants until she gets it, and getting pregnant with my son was unexpected but it wasn’t going to stop me achieving my goals that I had set for myself.
This was until postpartum depression hit me smack bang in the face and I completely lost who I was. I was too proud to ask for help or advice of anyone close to me so I suffered in silence and was isolated for a while trying to get my head around how this was happening to me. My postpartum deteriorated rapidly until I finally couldn’t take it and went to the doctors for help, I couldn’t understand how I could be amazing at my job supporting others who were suffering but couldn’t help myself. I learned the hard way how to take care of myself, an illness I had no clue about forced its self upon me to teach me a valuable lesson. I had to take care of my own mental health before I could help anyone around me.
Reluctantly taking antidepressants from my doctor I slowly began to feel more like me again and taking back control over my life, I took some time off work and spent most days getting out of the house doing activity’s with my son as I felt it would take my mind of being in that dark place I was in. Baby groups with the other mum’s really helped me as I didn’t feel so alone and getting out with my friends made me come out of my shell that I had became hidden in. I feel that my knowledge from work but also my personal knowledge after suffering a mental illness myself has made me confident in my approach to delivering the best quality of care that I am capable of giving to individuals who need it.
My time spent working in healthcare has been beneficial to me as I feel that I’ve experienced working in numerous healthcare settings with various individuals with various health issues. I have spent time caring for the elderly, individuals in the community, the homeless sector, individuals struggling with addiction and individuals in secure units. I am now confident in giving medication and first aid if required. I have been trained in physical interventions and have worked with behavioral specialists during my training. After taking some time out of my studies to take care of my son and to build my work experience up I now feel that I am ready to continue in university to achieve my degree, and to progress my career as a mental health nurse in the prison sector.
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