Thomas's Story: Overcoming Physical & Mental Struggles

Posted at 08:08am on 20th October 2018

My next book, Picked for a Purpose, with the strapline Bearing fruit through times of hardship, was written at the request of my publisher. Each short chapter contains a story from my life, followed by a page or two of reflections, in which I look back, with the wisdom of hindsight, at the lessons I've learned. This concludes with three or four questions for the reader.


As with all my writing - in Attempting to Build a Better World - my intention was always to share the ways in which I have overcome adversity. For more, in this respect, listen in to the interview (on my home page) which I undertook recently with Dr Steven Cangiano on his Relationship Development & Transformation website, to which I was invited to become a regular contributor. Specifically, Picked for a Purpose, was written to reach out to the many people I meet who declare themselves to feel 'useless' or 'a waste of space' - including the two older ladies with whom I recently shared an emergency admissions ward overnight in hospital . However, when I happened to see a short piece on television about The Prince's Trust, I found myself suddenly enthused with a passion to connect with the many young people cited, by the charity, to be the 'unhappiest generation in decades'.


Among the many points raised in the book are:

  • Poor body image
  • The means of successfully detoxing addictions and bad behaviour
  • Creativity - a natural skill to human beings
  • Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) in which we do not 'fix' a problem, but assist a person in need to uncover the means by which to help themselves.

I felt so incredibly excited that I wrote to The Prince's Trust, have promised ALL proceeds from sales of the book to the charity, and was privileged to receive a letter from Clarence House, with 'the Prince of Wales's warmest thanks and best wishes'.


Mentioning this on social media, one day, I was delighted to hear from a young man, Thomas, who, aged 23, tells me he has been helped, enormously, by The Prince's Trust. Here's his story, from a year ago.


2016 wasn't a great year for me, I was struggling physical and mentally and, to be honest, didn't have any real direction in life. I was looking for work, courses, anything really that would help me, give me something to do and, more importantly, get me out of the house, because being alone all the time was part of the problem.

It was at that point I came across The Prince's Trust. Now I think somewhere, in the back of my head, I'd heard of them before. But I'd never sought them out until I discovered a course they were running that I was interested in and applied. Before you get a place, they like to talk with you, make sure you're suitable for it and it's suitable for you. So I travelled to the nearest city with an office, in this case Glasgow, and met up with some lovely people. As it turns out I was just a little too late for the course I'd wanted to do, but they instead offered me a place on a Fairbridge programme. I wasn't too sure at first, partly disappointed about not getting on the other course and partly anxious about some aspects of the trip, such as the excursion which I'll touch on later. But something told me to say yes, anyway, despite these reservations, and it was not a mistake.

The Fairbridge programme, for those of you who don't know, is a personal development initiative to help you grow and develop as a person. The main chunk of mine lasted two weeks, during which we did all sorts of things such as rock climbing (indoor and outdoor), caving (which was an interesting experience) and lots of team building challenges that helped to really bring the whole group, that was on the course, together. We even went on an excursion, where they took us away for three days way out past Tighnabruaich (a village on the Cowal Peninsula in Scotland). It was so much fun that I didn't even mind travelling around in a mini bus, despite the fact I have fairly bad travel sickness.

Over those three days I could feel myself getting happier, after some darker times in my life. It also helped that there was no phone or internet signal where we were, so I wasn't jacked in the entire time I was away, but was just focused on what was happening and the people around me. We played games, bought and prepared our own food, didTh chores and just got to be out in nature. It was an incredible experience all around that I thoroughly suggest you take part in if you can. At the end of the course I'd had some fun, new experience, got a personal development award and, most importantly, made some new friends.

I need to give a special shout out, though, to the team members who are hard working, dedicated and more than willing to make special considerations for people with physical and/or mental health issues. I felt validated and confident after my time on the Fairbridge programme and, after those two weeks, they have a lot of follow up to make sure they support you. That can take the form of further programmes with the Prince's Trust, or you and your assigned case worker, helping you to pick out a plan for yourself, and following it through. I fully believe the confidence I gained, plus setting down my goals with my case worker, was what finally inspired me to make my website Off The Record.

So I really do feel that the Prince's Trust helped me! And they help thousands of people across the country every day. So make sure and check them out, now, and maybe they can help you the way they helped me.

Thank you, Thomas, for sharing your story so inspiringly. And for your lovely smile. If there's anyone else out there who has had similar experiences, we'd love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below.

Click here to contact The Prince's Trust

And do purchase a copy of my book, Picked for a Purpose - bearing fruit through times of hardship. ALL proceeds from sales are to be donated to The Prince's Trust.

Your Comments:

31st December 2019
at 2:06pm
I found picked for a purpose book was excellent. I found it helped me understand food allergies/intolerance much better especially for my granddaughter. Also made me look back over my life and see how God has guided and led me also. A really inspiring read.
Mel Menzies
1st January 2020
at 5:27am
Thank you, Samantha. What a lovely New Year's Day gift it is to receive your review of my book, Picked for a Purpose. I'm so pleased it has helped you so much.

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