Expert Patient Katherine Rohan tells her story:



“I’d been very sick, getting fed up and depressed. I had been doing courses on depression but this sounded like it was a more holistic approach. It turned out to be exactly what I needed.


“I had heard the term self-management but only in guru-type books about how to become more popular and succeed in life. During all my stays I hospital I hadn’t heard it mentioned by anybody. I felt at home immediately because everybody in the class is dealing with illnesses. I felt like an X-man who has found the rest of the team. We all have our own ‘super power’ and there is no need to explain to anyone else what we had - you just know that if you can’t walk very well, or if you can’t eat that type of food at the break, you don’t need to explain.


The course rose far above my expectations because it concentrated on all aspects of the person. It dealt with pain, healthy eating, exercise, and every week we did an action plan which we aimed to achieve during that week. It did not have to be related to our health - it could be an activity. The focus on the healthy eating was very useful. I have a lot more vegetables now and a lot healthier diet generally.


I get exhausted very easily and get fed up. That is where the course has helped me a lot and I have achieved far more than I thought. The secret was that people were interested in our progress. The tutors are interested in you as a person and how you are getting on. I thought we would be learning and doing tests but there was nothing like that - it was just very interesting and very useful.


Life has been more positive since I have done the course. I did complain that the course was only six weeks long - I wanted more support and for longer. But as the tutors pointed out, I’ve got the skills, I’ve got the tools I need for each situation. I can also keep in touch by coming to the reunions. I went to one in October which was marvellous - not just for the social aspect but there was a very useful talk on medications.  I still get sick but I am more pro-active. I do realise it will pass and I can get back onto my programme.”