Politics and presentations
I am sitting in my flat trying to avoid the scorching heat outside whilst writing this. The only thing is, due to me living in the UK and my flat being full of insulation to keep warmth IN, the temperature even in my coolest room is 27 degrees Celsius (81 Fahrenheit) and I’m still very hot! My dog has taken rather well to the idea of siestas though - don’t blame her with all that fur!
Since I last wrote I have been keeping busy with my mission to raise awareness of personality disorders and mental illness in general. On Thursday I had an appointment with my local MP about campaigning for the provision of a specialist personality disorders service within my county. We are one of a minority of areas around England that don’t have such a service of any description and not even any specifically trained staff. That is despite NICE guidelines stating that local mental health trusts should seek to provide such services. The MP listened and actually promised he would write a letter to the CCG to get their view on the matter and start a discussion. That is better than the last time I went to see him, 2 years ago, when he asked me why I was campaigning for a personality disorders service and not a schizophrenia service for example. (Hmmm :-/ ) I can’t say I’m holding my breath for him to help very much but it’s a positive start and at least I can hold him accountable now if he doesn’t write the letter!
I have also been thinking a lot about, and eventually writing, my presentation for my first task as an ‘expert by experience’ tomorrow. The mental health trust is having an event for stakeholders all based on crisis and crisis intervention and I am going along to speak about my experiences with different services. The organisers said they wanted honest experiences, good or bad, which is lucky because the majority of mine have been negative, particularly when it comes to the NHS teams who are meant to help. I am sick of being told to get a cup of tea when I call the crisis team and that I ‘don’t mean it’ by A&E staff. They don’t seem to realise how invalidating that is to someone who has just bared their soul and said they want to end their life, and it has to stop. I have had more success with voluntary organisations / charities who treat me like a person and not a label but then there is the trouble of a communication gap between them and the statutory agencies like the police again. I know resources are limited but if there is going to be any let up on pressure, let the charities help out and take their concerns seriously. There shouldn’t have to be endless reassessments and waiting around when you have disclosed your risk to one agency - just act on it! That, and taking people with personality disorders, especially EUPD / BPD, seriously and not just seeing them as attention seekers, are the two key areas of constructive criticism in my talk. I hope it goes down ok in a room full of professionals. I am getting increasingly anxious about getting up there and speaking in front of so many people but I know I can do it because I have done it before. (Read about that here: https://eupdrecovery.com/home/2018/6/15/public-speaking) That’s what I have to keep reminding myself, and no doubt will be doing right up until I finish talking. More than that though, I have to do it because I want to make a difference. I want things to change and I want to use my experiences to help others. If that means I have to deal with increased anxiety for a while than so be it. It’s a positive challenge for me to face my fears and hopefully it will be worth it, we’ll see.
In other news, I started work with the psychologist from my recovery team on mapping out my history this week. I’d be lying if I said things haven’t been hard since the meeting, they have. Even just mentioning things that I thought were normal from my past and having her tell me they weren’t stirred up a well of emotion, let alone telling her about the stuff I knew wasn’t normal myself! Still, I understand that she can’t begin to figure out what I need help with if she doesn’t know anything about me so it’s unfortunately a necessary evil. I just have to stay strong and resist the growing urges inside.
I performed once again with choir yesterday at an outdoor local festival. It went well, nice and loud from us and we had a fairly decent crowd despite being on stage until the minute the England World Cup quarter final kicked off. (I have never walked home so quickly to watch it and my feet are covered in blisters as a result!) I will miss singing over the summer when we have our choir holidays though, it is such a good release for me. Still, perhaps I can spend the time learning all the songs I’m still not confident in - I can’t go on blagging them in performances forever!