This year’s World Mental Health Day falls on Sunday, October 10th and CACT’s PFA Mental Health and Wellbeing Player Ambassador for this season, Ryan Inniss, met with Danielle Beck, a participant on CACT’s Early Intervention in Psychosis programme in partnership with Porchlight and Kent County Council.
Danielle, from Ashford in Kent, has suffered with psychosis for two years, and began by explaining to Ryan what psychosis is and when she first started experiencing symptoms.
“It started off as a menstrual insomnia so only once every month I used to have insomnia. Then things were talking to me, telling me to do things like the TV and stuff. And then it turned into a full psychosis, where I experienced sleep hallucinations and from there, it's just been like chronic insomnia.”
Danielle, 24, was referred to CACT’s Early Intervention in Psychosis programme, which has been running for 15 years, in 2020. And, with lockdown restrictions in place preventing in-person delivery at the time, she got involved in some of the virtual activity sessions being run throughout the pandemic:
“CACT’s classes and activities online just helped so much with getting back into normality. When you're under the care of the Early Intervention team, they give you the opportunity to be involved in a lot of activities.
“It's like that sense of ‘you're not alone in this’, and you're being supported, you're being able to go out and do things that you weren't able to do before. And that can get you meeting new people and it's just lovely really.”
Ryan added: “I didn't really know much about mental health growing up, but really, it is something that we should all learn more about. It shouldn't be such a frowned upon thing. CACT’s Early Intervention in Psychosis project is something that we're proud of and more people should know about it.”
Ryan went on to explain why he finds CACT’s work so important, and how it helps him:
“It's something I've always wanted to be involved in. I've been on so many lows and had so many injuries, but those two coincided if you will. I would be away on my own in hotels, or one bedroom flats, down in Yeovil, or up in Dundee. And just as I got older, I didn't really have much of a life. And I was basically just living for the football so if I got injured it would take me to a really low place.
“Being here and helping out with CACT, it also helps me a better person. So it is a little bit of selfish side to it, but at the end of the day I get to give a little bit back.”
The pair discussed the importance of a routine and having your own coping mechanisms for when you are facing challenging times. Ryan is currently out for two months whilst he recovers from a thigh injury, but explained how his support network is better than ever:
“Everyone is checking in on me because I've been through what I've been through, but I actually feel probably the best I've ever felt, which sounds crazy, but I'm in a really good routine at the minute… It's just all little things, little challenges, which then allows me to be in a good place to attack my rehab.”
Danielle has discovered that her art works as a therapy to help her mental wellbeing, and helps her to reflect on how she is feeling:
“When you draw and when you feel a certain way, you can see that through art. And that's what I love about it because you can use it as a kind of journal. And it's really quite therapeutic when you do that. If you're experiencing trauma, it's so interesting to just do some art and then you're like oh actually I really feel a bit better now.”
Through CACT’s virtual activities last year, Danielle reignited her love for art and drawing. Since then, she has continued creating artwork and now has an exhibition being shown at Bluewater Shopping Centre. You can go along and see some of Danielle’s work from 28 September until November 1st and Ryan Inniss is planning to visit too.
Click here to follow Danielle’s art page on Instagram.
The conversation between Ryan and Danielle will be published on Sunday 10 October to celebrate World Mental Health Day.
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