Anastasia is a mother of two, her son is aged 5 and has been diagnosed with Autism, and her daughter now nearly 3. Originally on a zero-hours contract, Anastasia has been out of work since entering maternity leave when pregnant with her first child; “I tried doing voluntary work between my two pregnancies but the time wasn’t right. I was under a lot of stress as a first-time mother and a single parent with no family support”.
Feeling the strain of juggling so much at once, Anastasia neglected herself and couldn’t control her moods or behaviour, “I was spiralling into psychosis and when my younger child was only four months old I had to spend a month in a mental hospital”.
However, 2 years on and Anastasia is working towards recovery and on a personal journey of hope and empowerment. She is finding meaning to life through engagement with others, developing new supportive relationships and furthering her skills and learning.
Anastasia signed up to ‘Change It; Progress to Success’, a programme led by The Women’s Organisation that supports women into feeling more positive about what they can achieve. Here she met our Trainer, Alison, who she was full of praise for: “Alison was open about how various difficult experiences in her life had impacted her, and this helped us to speak about our own stories”. Anastasia enjoyed being part of a ‘warm circle of like-minded women’, meeting up weekly and tackling new topics such as assertiveness, positive thinking and how to manage change.
For Anastasia, the hardest part was putting her new skills into practice once leaving the session, “this is where you need motivation to combat your negative thinking – it takes you out of your comfort zone”. She valued the fact that every woman who attended the programme had a different background and story to tell as they were able to learn from each other. Anastasia also appreciated the option of one-to-one support from her tutor, Alison, as she felt this allowed each woman to reflect individually and move at their own pace.
Anastasia is now looking for voluntary work and is aiming to be give back by being more involved with organisations of which she was once a service-user. She has been working on her CV, but claims that she “will not forget about a good work-life balance to keep well”.
Finally, we asked Anastasia what she would say to other women who were thinking about signing up to the next ‘Change It: Progress to Success’, she said: “making a change in your life, however small it might be, will cause a chain reaction. You will look at things differently and begin to open new doors – you will surprise yourself!”.
Thank you to Anastasia for sharing her experience with us!
If you would like to find out more information about ‘Change It: Progress to Success’, or express your interest in the enrolling for the next programme, please contact a member of our Engagement Team on 0151 706 8111 or firstname.lastname@example.org.