Three years ago Fatema said to herself “My life starts here, my life starts now!”

Fatema isn’t a stranger to difficulties. From her teenage years she has faced challenge after challenge while at the same time supporting various people who she is close to with various problems, including drug addiction.

During this time, she has also raised three beautiful children. Her daughter, I am beginning to realise, takes after her mum and is a strong and independent young woman. Fatema’s two sons are still in school and need lots of support and attention from her.

Things came to a head with Fatema three years ago when she found herself alone, supporting extended family as well as being there for her sons’ needs. Fatema decided that she had two choices:

  • She could carry on as she always done – carry the burdens
  • She could ask for help – take action

She chose the second option, she took action. She came to PROPS North East and learned how to change her own behaviour.

“My life starts here, my life starts now!”

The first thing that Fatema did was to look at her own life. This led to her realising that she had lost confidence in herself to do the things that she enjoyed. She recognised that while she was ‘doing’ for everybody else she was neglecting herself. Somewhere along the way she had forgotten to have fun.

Fatema started to change her life slowly. Five small steps each day carried her all the way to where she is now; a strong and independent woman who isn’t frightened to ask questions, say ‘no’, challenge when she see’s injustice and, still staying true to herself, help other people. Fatema now supports PROPS carers as an invaluable volunteer.

Pictured above some of the PROPS team (L-R) Claire, Helen, Fatema, Sandra, Teresa and Kirsty.

Fatemas five Steps to fulfilment

The five steps Fatema took were to:

  1. take five deep breaths
  2. satisfy her sense of smell – she now rewards herself by wearing perfume daily
  3. inspire her sense of touch – she strokes rose petals
  4. encourage a sense of calm – she visualises waves lapping onto a beach, as they go out, she lets her negative thoughts go with them
  5. stimulate her lust for life – she imagines sea gulls flying high and calling out before heading into the great wide yonder.

Fatema sees herself as a parcel, she is taking layers of wrapping away to discover what pleasures are beneath each.  These five things helped Fatema to venture into her days, weeks, months and ultimately her life.

Fatema had list of things she would like to do. Telling herself, “You’re never too old to try something new and it’s never too late to start to look after yourself.” She joined the gym and looked into go-karting, two things she certainly didn’t think she would do. Now she exercises at the gym every day and once a week she go-karts…. and is always proud to tell us that she has the fastest time!

Fatima’s Jouney

Over the three years Fatema’s life has taken many twists and turns.

She’s experienced some extremely challenging periods and some truly uplifting ones.

But in true Fatema style, she remained positive and embraced the changes.

Fatema’s Future

Over the three years Fatema turned her life around.

She now works for North East Charity, Reviving The Heart of the West End and is a member of the CNTW/NHS consultation panel where she provides a voice for families experiencing autism, ADHD and disabilities as well as raising awareness of the effects of drug and alcohol addiction on families.

Fatima is staying true to herself by continuing to volunteer for PROPS to help others to get the help they need. Her enthusiasm is inspirational in helping people to find themselves, as she did.

If you need support are interested in volunteer or want to know a little more about PROPS North East Please contact us for more information.