Two of the women who attend the Dosti group tell their story and explain the difference the support of the group has made to them.

I used to attend ESOL classes, but my asthma got really bad so I stopped going.
I then stayed at home. My husband passed away in 2011 and my life completely changed. I suffered from severe depression and never left the house, stayed at home and just existed. I had all the responsibilities on my head. It was a shock. He had a sudden heart attack, no illnesses before or anything. Life has been very,  very difficult since then. I used to go to my GP who sent me to Dosti.
I enjoy going to Dosti Group. Sometimes I don’t feel like going but I have to force myself to go. It gives me focus. I have made friends who give me a lot of support. I am so grateful to get some help from Dosti. It has really helped me to face myself. I attend ESOL classes again to improve my English.

Before I started to attend Dosti (which means friendship) I was a typical Pakistani house wife who had no life. I suffered from a lot of medical problems like diabetes type 2, stress, body pains due to arthritis, I had a few operations to remove cysts from my stomach which didn’t help with my depression. On top of all this I now know I have sleep apnoea, which was diagnosed only a few months ago.
I had no confidence at all, my self esteem was always low and my personal hygiene was not up to scratch either. I found everything I did was like a massive chore. In my culture it’s classed as disrespectful to turn down an invitation, whether it’s a wedding or family celebration. I had to make a huge effort to attend these things. One of my coping strategies was playing a game on TV for ages and ages.
I only went out or did things if I really had to, otherwise I didn’t feel like going anywhere or doing anything.
I had more days where I was low in my moods and, without realising, soon all my days were low days.
I had heard about support services but was reluctant to attend due to the stigma associated with mental health. My GP told me about Dosti Group and encouraged me to give it a go.
It has been 4 years now and I am enjoying it very much not giving a thought to what anybody will say.
I have a lot of confidence; my self esteem has improved tremendously.
I have learned jewellery making, basic computer skills, art and craft and my spoken, written and reading English has improved a lot.
I am learning lots of new things everyday to help me improve my well being.
I would like to say a big thank you to Dosti staff for giving me a purpose in life.