Gardening for Disabled Trust Charity provided money for the raised beds in Shake Isalm’s new garden design.
I sat in silence at the doctors office, I’d just been diagnosed with an aggressive form of arthritis, I didn’t understand, I was young and in the peak of my years. Fast forward a few weeks and I was in my room, hadn’t left the house and was severely depressed and felt like life was over. I’d be pushed into resigning from work due to my health issues and I spent so long in my bedroom looking out, wishing things would be different.
I’d always look out at my garden and realised I could take control of my life again and not let this illness beat me. I had spent a lot of time and money on fixing the house up before I got unwell, and the garden was a mess. I wanted to be outside, safe and able to do something. The garden was my sanctuary, but messy and unsafe currently.
I spoke with doctors and support workers at the local authority who guided me towards the GDT. Applying was scary, I hadn’t asked for support but had no other option. The GDT were supportive, applying was simple and I was so grateful for the grant.
I have amazing friends and neighbours who helped enormously, and the design changed halfway as they felt they wanted to future proof the garden for me, should my condition worsen over time. I had to get a loan to complete the garden project but I am incredibly pleased with the end result. Two raised beds, two areas of artificial grass, blocked paved and tidied elsewhere. The lockdown would’ve affected my mental health but having my completed garden has helped more than I could have imagined. My outlook on life has changed, I am happier, grateful to everyone for their help, to GDT and feel lucky to still be alive. Planting up the beds and growing plants has been slow because of lockdown and the shops were shut but I am progressing and hopeful about what the future holds.