I'm classed as a "mental health service user" because I am an identified sufferer of severe depression, anxiety disorder, OCD and I hear voices (not specifically labelled at this point!). I see a psychotherapist weekly and a psychologist monthly. I find the contact helpful as I have lost the majority of my friends since my mental health declined. I take anti-depressant medication and have been trialled on a couple of anti-psychotics but as yet have not found the one for me. My mental health issues date back to childhood, and there are many underlying, buried deep matters that have still not come to light through therapy.
I consider myself extremely lucky as I feel I have a very positive relationship with my psychotherapist. Having persevered with several NHS and private therapists I know how fortunate I am to find someone I really connect with - some who I feel really "gets me".
Unfortunately, these appointments are my only social contact outside of my family as (having lost my friends) I feel too isolated and inhibited to venture anywhere new.
In the past I have attended CBT style workshops at the local psychiatric hospital as an outpatient. However "there is no longer the funding" available to carry on offering such lifelines in my area.
I know I can't be alone in feeling sidelined by society. Contrary to how I feel most of the time; I am not a complete lunatic, I "look" normal, I don't have three heads and I think I'm a reasonable person.
I would love the opportunity to get together with other people in the same boat as me - the comfort of knowing that when you meet a new group of people they already know you're finding it hard, as they've all been in your shoes. They know how you feel and you don't need to excuse yourself for "feeling like a freak".
But sadly, "lack of funding" means that me, and others in the same boat, are left stranded.