There was a long period in Lisa Ringsell’s life where anxiety and depression had taken over, leaving her unable to even take a step out her front door without falling into a huge panic attack.
Lisa, from Douglas, suffered from anxiety as a teenager, which could manifest itself in different ways.
While leaving the house was enough for anxiety to take hold, Lisa even started having panic attacks at the thought of going outside.
Then aged 20, Lisa relied on her mum to bring her food and top up her electricity meter as she couldn’t physically step outside her house.
She said: “It just came out of nowhere. It started on buses – I was on a bus one day and had a panic attack and felt sick and I had to get off the bus.
“Then every time I was on a bus I’d have a panic attack – when I tried to get on a bus and even when I was walking down the street.
“It got worse and worse, I started having panic attacks before I left the house. If I really needed something I had to phone my mum, she did quite a lot for me.”
‘First time in over four years that I’d felt like myself’
However things changed last year when Lisa forced herself to leave her house to take her daughter to nursery.
She endured panic attacks throughout the walk to nursery and waited inside the nursery for her daughter to finish because she couldn’t face the walk home.
Then she suffered further panic attacks on the walk home again.
Lisa, now 25, said: “I just had to force myself to do it. I was so weary but it was fine and I realised I could do it.
“I’d started to put on weight because I wasn’t getting out of the house and I didn’t want anything else getting me down so I made myself go to a fitness club.
“When I got home from the first one, I cried. It was like a weight had been lifted and it was the first time in over four years that I’d felt like myself.”
Lisa built up the confidence to go out by herself and now she has no problems completing everyday outdoor tasks, such as getting on a bus and buying shopping.
She added: “I used to struggle to wake up in the morning, I was feeling depressed all the time, I struggled to stand up.
“It wasn’t that I was that overweight, it was just that I had no energy or motivation.
“Now I can jump up. I’m a lot happier, my mind is at ease and I don’t worry so much about things like my weight. I feel like a different person.”
Now volunteering with mental health support group
Lisa’s mental health has improved so dramatically over the past year that she now feels in a position to offer help and advice to others.
She is one of seven volunteers at a new support group, You’re Not Alone, based in Angus Housing, on Torwood Place, Fintry.
She hopes her story and her age will help other youngsters with mental health issues feel comfortable talking to her and able to reach out for help.
Lisa, and the other volunteers at the group, can point people to professional services and other organisations which offer support in a wide variety of areas.
She said: “This group means a lot to me. I’ve been there and gone through so much at a young age, I really want to help other young people with similar issues.
“I think the fact that I’m young might encourage them to speak because they might see me as a friend, or they might not want to talk about anything at all and that’s fine too.
“They can just come and have a coffee and a chat.”
You’re Not Alone runs drop-in sessions from 11am to 1pm every Saturday at Angus Housing Association, Torwood Place, Fintry.