Recognising the great progress of the people we support is very important. Turning Point Scotland services are full of inspiring stories that highlight the vital work being carried out to help individuals gain control of their own lives and achieve some of the hopes and aspirations we all share.

Recently an inspiring lady moved on to independence after having support from SHAPE in Aberdeen.

Her story in her own words should give hope to people in similar very challenging situations:

“I was at my very lowest point in my life having recently lost my partner and been diagnosed with Huntington’s disease. Although I had my 2 sons I could not see any way my future could be normal again. I was on the brink of becoming homeless with no money or income. I was self medicating with over the counter painkillers and alcohol to make the pain go away, but it never did. I was admitted to hospital after an accident in a car park. The only thing wrecked was me.

In hospital I was given counselling and lots of nursing help. I was introduced to a Care manager who explained how my life would change over the next few months. My youngest son was being looked after by a relative and I couldn’t believe how I had got to this stage in my life.

I was introduced to the Shape workers and although I was reluctant at first they were very friendly and patient with me. They seemed to understand my feelings of failure and desperation. They visited most days and started to help me make changes with achieving small goals e.g. looking at my appearance and dealing with my feelings. I had no self esteem but together we worked on this.  Gradually I began to feel better about myself and ready to face the world again. We talked about moving from hospital into my own house and reuniting with my sons. The helped me apply for housing and benefits to set me on the path.

I found the staff very friendly and patient and as time went on managed to meet and engage with the whole team. All sorts of experience and skills came to my aid and every time I met with them I felt very comfortable and relaxed. I believe ‘they were my guardian angels with lots of fairy dust’.

I have found my independence again and enjoy my new home reunited with my children and friends.  Last year, I took on my voluntary position in a charity shop.  I found this challenging at first but now thoroughly enjoy it and have made lots of new friends.

My biggest fears have overcome with facing life everyday. I can now take my son to school, and I am driving my own car again.  I feel confident and am happy with the way I look. Friends and family accept me and I enjoy their company once again.

I have now decided to disengage from the service, but will keep in touch with the SHAPE team. I would like to go on holiday with my family and do all the things that were part of my life before. I missed out on part of my young son growing up and need to make up for this loss.  I would like to work full time again and earn my own money.”

Ann McMullen works with Turning Point Scotland’s SHAPE service said:

“This lady was very withdrawn, had no self esteem and was happy to be guided by staff at the hospital.  She had no motivation and could not or would not make decisions for herself. She was almost at the stage of giving up and had a near miss which brought her to the attention of medical and Social work professionals.

Slowly with patience and encouragement she started to look at her life again in a different way. She was not always happy to try things and presented as dishevelled and disinterested in how she looked and felt. She began to slowly improve her appearance and feel better about herself.  Her humour began to show and staff saw a different lady appearing so lots of praise and encouragement were given to help her move a little further every day.

We try to encourage people to take control of their own lives and keep their independence. We discussed change and how this can be achieved with small steps working towards the end result. We are there with the person to help through good and not so good times and to help them back on track.

This lady is an inspiration to all of us. At the beginning of her support we saw a long road stretching to recovery and the difference between then and now is quite amazing.  She took on the service reluctantly but was willing to help herself with support and guidance. She has made the transition from a sad and beaten attitude to glowing confidence in herself and her future.

The Shape team work hard to make a difference to people’s lives every day. Sometimes it can take a long time and a lot of effort to achieve this, but when we have a success story like this one it gives everyone a great lift and sense of achievement. It also helps on the days when things are not going so well and helps to keep the balance.  This is why we come to work.”