Busy keeping busy
It has been a while since I wrote a journal entry, so I will do my best to write an update of how things have been. In essence, I’d sum it up with the word busy!
I have been involved in a couple of things through my role as an expert by experience for the local Mental Health Trust. One of them was helping re-develop the website that people may contact when in crisis and then off the back of that, I helped review the information leaflet for the Crisis Resolution and Home Treatment Team. It was a really positive experience to be a part of and the professionals present really seemed to appreciate the input of those of us who had used the service in the past. It was interesting to see that we often considered things from a different viewpoint than they might otherwise have done.
More frustratingly, I also went to deliver some more Time to Change anti-stigma straining at another local psychiatric hospital, only to discover that as it is non-mandatory training and their previous session had finished early, all the staff who were meant to be attending decided to leave before we got there! That was very disappointing, especially given the nature of the subject matter and people’s attitude towards stigma. It made me wonder if we should be making the training mandatory itself.
I have chased my MP’s office about the local personality disorder service proposal and have been told they are waiting to hear back from the CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group). However, rather than sitting around and waiting for them to do that, I am trying to be proactive and have had a very productive and interesting meeting with a local supporter of the campaign, who is just as enthusiastic as me to see a service here and also very well connected so we are going to work together on a plan. I really need to do some research and things to further that but have been so busy doing other things at the moment that it’s difficult to keep up!
Last weekend I had a lovely weekend away with some friends down by the seaside. It was so nice to spend time with people who I feel completely comfortable around and due to the nature of where we met (in the personality disorder service I was an inpatient at), who have similar ways of thinking to me. We all really struggled with our individual journeys on public transport there from all over the country and several of us nearly gave up and went home due to extreme anxiety but ultimately we all made it and it was a fantastic couple of days. I ways really proud of us all for doing it actually.
I am currently preparing for a talk at one of my local Samaritans centres next week. I was honoured to be asked if I would like to go and share some of my views and experiences with the volunteers there and am looking forward to the opportunity. Of course, I am anxious about doing it too - I find it difficult to judge if what I am talking about is of interest or relevant to my audience until after I have delivered it - and by then it is too late if not!
It is very poignant actually that I am doing that next week, since it marks exactly two years since my suicide attempt. I have felt particularly vulnerable at this time of the year since that event and I have been having dreams and intrusive thoughts about it for a couple of weeks now. I know that marking negative anniversaries is in itself a negative thing to do and I don’t want to do that especially but I can’t let the time go by without thinking about what happened at all. When I spoke to my care coordinator about it he said that it was actually a day to be celebrated, because it was the day I got a second chance at life. That made me stop and think a bit but he’s right. If I look at it as a positive thing, I can point to how things have changed for the better in the past two years and how much I have accomplished. It was a very dark time back then but without it I certainly wouldn’t be doing what I am doing now regarding raising mental health and personality disorder awareness and this blog wouldn’t exist for one thing! It is quite fitting that the same week, I am now talking to a charity who deal with people in crisis and who may be suicidal themselves but I plan to spend the specific day doing lots of self-care stuff to make it a nice one for me and one where I appreciate still being here.