Annie Woodage now believes that her future is ‘bright’ after spending a month with Think Employment.
Annie came to us hoping to get back into a daily routine having spent a long time suffering from a debilitating back problem as well as anxiety and depression. Thanks to her time in our friendly learning centre, Anne’s all-round confidence has soared!’
Now Annie feels like a totally different person and is looking forward to returning to the workplace sooner than she expected.
How did you first come to hear about Think Employment?
The people at the Skills Club directed me to Think Employment for the IT courses you offer. Jasmine from VANEL brought me initially because I can’t drive and she offered to hold my hand because I was a bit nervous. The person I spoke to informed me that different courses start every week and the training was every day. Jasmine asked if I was sure I could do everyday but I said “yes, because it’s going to help me get back into a routine so I can return to work.”
Why was getting back into a routine so important to you, Annie?
I hadn’t been able to work for a while due to severe back pain. The doctor had to sign me off eight weeks at a time – I think I’m the only person who comes out of the doctors with a sick note crying! I desperately wanted to go back to work but knew I couldn’t yet. It broke my heart because I loved working with children but I took my role very seriously and I didn’t want to put a child in danger. I also struggle with anxiety and depression but I thought pushing myself and getting back into a routine would help.
Would you say that coming to Think Employment has helped with your anxiety?
Yes, definitely. I didn’t realise I knew as much as I did about computers! I did the learning, passed the mock on a Friday and I was on a high for the entire weekend afterwards because I felt that I could do it. Since that weekend I’ve felt like a completely different person! In those four weeks I’ve passed my IT and vocational courses in Business Administration and Customer Service. With every course I do, my confidence keeps improving! Every morning I get up smiling because I now have a routine to go back to. I hated not having anything to do because I used to beat myself up all day.
It’s excellent that your confidence has improved during your time with us – would you also say that your skillset has as well?
Yeah I feel more confident doing a number of things now. Like, when I go on websites I check for the padlock to make sure they are secure – before, I didn’t have a clue about internet security! I also didn’t know how to send an email with attachments. I’ve learnt loads!
How have you found the learning environment at Think Employment?
I was worried about it at first – being in a group with other people – because I can remember saying to the Tutor Natalie that I suffer with anxiety and depression and if I get a bit tearful they should just leave me to it and I will sort myself out. But I haven’t once felt like crying because I’m happy all of the time. The Tutors and everyone else in the building are just absolutely lovely. I’m joining in group discussions and I’ve made some new friends – there’s no way I could have spoken in front of new people before.
Would you say though that having a routine to focus on has been the biggest thing for you?
Yeah I would because I now have something positive to focus on. Before it was that bad that I shut my friends out because they used to ask what I’ve been up to and I could only ever answer with “I’ve just been at home” – but I don’t do that anymore because I’ve got things to talk about again! Now I can talk about the new courses I’ve done, nice people I’ve met and the fun I’ve been having.
How far do you feel you’ve come in the last month?
It’s hard to put into words but I feel a completely different person. Everyone has noticed a massive improvement in me. Last night I put a status on Facebook about how proud I am of myself and lots of my friends commented and gave me encouragement. I have another friend who’s in a similar situation to me and I’ve been encouraging her to come along.
How do you feel now about your future?
I think it’s bright. I’ve realised that I have more about me than I ever thought before. I write poetry and some people have spoken to me about possibly publishing them in newsletters! You can tell from my poetry, how much my confidence has improved because my first poem was called ‘Depression is Ugly’ and the most recent one I wrote was called ‘Brand New Me.’