Sarah, age 50, Valleys Steps

sarah age 50

Sarah is a qualified nurse but found that it was necessary for her to take time off work due to increased levels of anxiety and depression.

Sarah felt that external life pressures were building up especially with regards to a relationship which was ending which had been controlling and emotionally abusive. She was using medication to help which was increased. However her symptoms were not improving and the side effects were also causing their own issues, with Sarah not having been able to sleep for nearly a month.

“Friends and family had started to become concerned about me, often frustrated with me. The way that I reacted made me feel lonelier and more isolated. I knew that I needed to do something for myself that was within my own reach and capability.”

After searching on the internet, Sarah found Valleys Steps who offer a free 6-week mindfulness course as part of their wellbeing services.

“I wanted to learn how I could gain greater control over my mood, my thoughts and how I reacted and ultimately to find a way to deal more positively with these challenges without relying just on medication, and not only to find a way to cope without medication if possible.

“I have muddled around with meditation for years but in a very relaxed manner with little or no discipline. I wanted guidance on improving my practice and improving my commitment to it and myself.”

Sarah initially joined one of Valleys Steps’ drop-in sessions outside her borough and found the sessions immensely beneficial. However she wasn’t able to attend all of them due to commitments or generally due to personal reasons.

Yet, she found that there was no pressure to attend every session or to explain her absence which was helpful. Sarah later re-joined another drop-in group closer to home and has more recently attended the online sessions which Valleys Steps developed due to COVID-19.

In addition, Sarah also accesses other support from Valleys Steps such as the audio downloads, links to other services, Facebook posts, chats and discussions.

“Each time I return to the 6-week course I gain some further understanding and insight and peace. It made me feel that I was being proactive, empowered and proud. The audio downloads also proved to be invaluable. They were so easily accessible and also I felt comfortable in using them as I knew they adhered to theoretical principles.

I’ve found it easier talking about my mental health and how it challenged me every day because now I felt that I have
promise and optimism at the end of it.

I am very grateful to Valleys Steps and all those who work or volunteer for them. This is an invaluable service that has risen to the challenge of a pandemic in the most accessible manner!”

Valleys Steps