Wow, I am currently on a real high!
I was disappointed yesterday when the snow prevented me from travelling home this weekend, especially now that I have started shorter weeks in treatment and so get a 3 day break but it turns out that every cloud has a silver lining. This morning I attended the West London Mental Health trust nursing conference, held at Twickenham stadium (bonus! I am a big rugby fan!) as a guest speaker. Yep, me! One of the nurses from here was attending to do a presentation about how it is to work and live within a therapeutic community and asked patients if anyone wanted to go along to add their views. I leapt at the opportunity, having initially been disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to volunteer as I’d be back at home... And so, I did it! I stood up in a room full of over 100 professionals and spoke to them about my experiences over the past twelve months - how I have come from being told no one expected me to leave my last acute hospital admission alive to where I am now. And it was great, there was even a spontaneous round of applause after I finished talking which was heartfelt and really touching! Not only that but people stopped and said how useful hearing things from patients was, how well we’d done and how thankful they were for our input (one other patient also spoke). One lady even said that we had been the highlight of her whole conference! I actually feel quite proud of myself and I am surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I coped better than I thought I would at speaking to so many people about a personal subject and I actually got pleasure from sharing my story. I even managed to answer a Q&A session at the end. This is something that I will definitely look into doing more of in the future. It is so important that patients get heard and seen as people as well as raising the profile of personality disorder treatment and the need for good care across the mental health board.
For now though I am just pleased that today has allowed me to see more progress in my journey. Yes things have been, and will continue to be, bloody difficult at times but if my story can touch a room full of people then I must be doing something right. If nothing else, this treatment has certainly given me more self confidence - there is no way that I would have envisaged me being able to do that a year ago and yet it happened. Today it happened!