Just some people I’ve met…..

Just some people I’ve met…..

Hi everyone, i hope this fiinds you all in good mental health.

I thought, today, i would write about feeling safe working with an organization, that i am involved with.

About two years ago, i had started to go to a cafe called, Sams Cafe. It is a meeting place for anyone in the community who want to meet up for different groups within the community. The Cafe is run by a company called Access.

I was meeting people there for the Burgh Castle project. I can be there for about ten mins, before i feel really sick. I could see the exits, in and out of the room, as i need to see my escape routes at all times. This is a major comfort thing for me. But this was going on every fortnight. I then found would start asking myself a question about the organisatin and what they are doing.

Every member of the staff i have met, within Access, have made me feel welcome and relaxed. From saying hello to me in the cafe, to meeting them through different projects they organize. I would like to talk about some of the people who work with the projects.

Lets start with Gary. Gary takes me and the rest of the group to the Burgh Castle project, when Tod not there. Gary is a proper down to earth bloke. He talks about his job with so much passoin, its quite catching. He also talked about another project he is involved in, which i am glad to say, i am also enjoying, and that is the war graves project, where we go to graveyaards, and tidy up the old war graves that have been sadly neglected. I love readig the headstones while i am making them tidy. I really enjoy this project.

Then we have Lee. Lee, sadly, is no longer working with Access, as he has found his dream Job, But this does not denote the impact he had on people in the cafe. He was very passionate about the job, and the people he got onto other projects. Although he did stich me up once, on a lunch project I attended. He asked me to speak ….. I was not prepared at all, and had to do a talk, off the cuff, but as i was at the cafe, i felt safe, so i stood up and did a five min talk…Thanks for that Lee!!

While i was living out in the sticks, Tod Sullivan, through social media, put me in contact with the Access Social Prescribing Team. So we come to Beth. Well, what can i say about Beth. I think she is the most passionate person i have ever met, and considering the others i have spoke about, thats saying a lot. She is so positive and has helped me loads with my living with mental health journey.

I have had the honour, of sitting on interview panels for Access, for one of thier new projects they have got going. I have also took part insome training for the social prescribing team with Todd, and for some of the team of Access. I talked to them about my situation and how i feel safe within thier organisation.

I think what i am trying to get across here is, how much i appreciate the people i have mentioned above, and the fantastic company Access. They have brilliant people working with them, and they help people like me, gain trust and self respect, through all the work and projects they do.

So a big Thank You Access, you help me keep positive, feeling safe and looking forward to the furure. If you need any more help, weather it be sitting on panels or joining any project, you know where i am.

Take care everyone, stay safe and be well.

My Take on the Mental Health Conference July 2019

My Take on the Mental Health Conference July 2019

Hello everyone, hope you are all well today. i thought i would share with you, my thoughts about the mental health conference that took place in July this year.

I took part this time. standing up and speaking about my own personal experiences of mental health. The other speakers are what i want to talk about today.

The first speaker was Vincent Harrison. his talk was original and entertaining and very informative. He ‘rapped’ about his struggles with life , his mental health and his past experiences of life. i have never seen a talk done this way, but you could relate to his story. i found him quite inspirational to be honest.

I was the next speaker, which was quite daunting, considering who i had to follow. but i stood up and just let it flow. my talk was done in an interview style by my friend Ivan, whiched helped me feel more relaxed. Ivan asked me about my struggles dealing with my mental health. He also gave me the opportunity yo explain about things that i use to help me get through tough times. we also talked about my time at Recovery College, and what an impact it has had on my own recovery. all in all i think it went well.

The next speaker after me was a gentlemen was called Tod Sullivan. this man has been helping me a lot over the last couple of years, and i cant thank him enough. He spoke about his experiences he had, whilst on his fellowship in America. the things he has learned, has made him want to use the same ideas, and hopefully implement them, here in the UK.

The fourth speaker was a lovely lady, and i would like to say a good friend now, Sue Willgoss. She spoke about the loss of her son last year, to suicide. She spoke about how she lobby’s to get mental health services improved. She has gained a vast amount of knowledge about the mental health services here in our own town. She also has formed a charity, Lift Loud For Danny, in memory of her son, and in the hopes of improving things for people with mental health issues, She is an avid campaigner, and speaks up for those who struggle with mental health. She also runs quite a few drop ins where people can come in for a chat and find out information that she has accumulated. Sue is also planning to get a crisis centre opened up in our town. I support her as much as i can and am in awe of her fighting spirit.

Now, the next speaker was a young lady named Yasmin. She spoke about her last father and how her culture affected her, by telling her how to dress and how to at. she also touched on CPTSD, and how the diagnosis is not diagnosed correctly soon enough. I found this very interesting, ans a westerner looking into another culture and background, its something a lot of us don’t even think about.

Our sixth speaker was a lady called Catherine. She spoke about ways of coping with her mental health. She described a ‘village’ that she draws, which includes people in her life and important things to here. this gives her a sense of security and peace. She also told us that creating artwork helps her a great deal, and even showed us some of her work. I for one know that doing anything creative can help quite the mind and help you relax, so i would recommend this pastime to anyone.

Our final speaker was Dan Biddel. I remember the first time i heard him speak, and even now, i marvel at his inner spirit and fight. For those of you that don’t know this inspirational man, Dan was a victim of the 7/7 bombings in London. ue to this he lost both legs and one of his eyes, his injuries were so extensive that i could not possible list them all, and he is a marvel for surviving so much injuries. But to listen to him, i just don’t know if i, for one, would have come through it even half a good as him. I find him funny, and enthralling to listen to. He narrates that day in such a way, you are rooted to your seat, because even though you know how it ends, you want to hear his version. I love hearing his love story, about how he met his wife after the event. I don’t think anyone leaves untouched by his story. I have a great admiration for this man. He too is trying to raise awareness of services that can help people with mental health.

Reflecting on this day, i’ve found it to e empowering for myself. telling my own story, and listening to others was, well, Awesome!!

I encourage you all, to look for the help you need or want. It might take a while, but i say, never give up, because your worth it.

I would also like to highly recommend you to go to any of the events put on around you. You can find inspiration, and even find a different perspective on things.

I look forward to hearing from you and wish you all a good mental health.

Thanks for reading

John.

The team of speakers

Another Burgh Castle adventure😀

Another Burgh Castle adventure

It’s been a while since I’ve wrote a blog, due to personal reasons, but I’m back up and running. I want to let you know about my visit to Burgh Castle yesterday. I was not looking forward to the activities we were going to do, arts and crafts, and also building a module for a sculpture we are doing. Now anyone who knows me, knows I’m not artistic at all, and because of this I get frustrated with myself, if I see myself as failing. But I’m very happy to report, that I actually enjoyed it a lot.

We are making a sculpture from willow branches. It will be a dome shape, to be used on the sculpture trail in Raveningham. We had to bend the branches into to shape, and make some circles, some small and some medium and some large. I was getting frustrated with joining them with the wire, then I realised, by watching others, that I wasn’t doing it the correct way. I should have used the string. But once I saw how it was being done, I found it a lot easier the way I saw others doing it.

After a while, we then had a couple of people come and talk from the Assent Project. They do research on how people with communication difficulties, are not asked to help with research. And to help come up with communication tools and skills, so they then can join with any studies and research. As I struggle with communication needs, I found it a great thing to be involved with, and have now signed up to take part in the research.

The other part of the arts and craft session, I drew a circle on some paper, and placed some plants on it. I then PVA glued the plants on, twice, then put another piece of paper on top and pressed it out so the glue spread. One more coat of PVA glue, then I hung it up to dry. I sent my partner a photo of what I had done, and she said the title of the artwork should be ‘The world as nature intended ‘. I also made an origami butterfly, which I must send my thanks to another participant on the course, who helped me, after I cussed it for a while, through their encouragement to make it.

Thanks for reading. I’m starting to realise, we can do anything we want, even it it looks like we fail, we don’t. Failing is not trying at all, don’t you think!

Homework really works!!!!!!!!!!

Homework really works!!!!!!!!

Hi everyone, hope this catches you all in an upbeat and positive way.

Well, i have something interesting to share with you all. As you may be aware from my previous blogs, I am currently partaking in CBT therapy. It is a one to one session, and i am learning so much from it all.

Now I have never been academically minded, and came out of school without much to show for my many years at school. So when my therapist sets me homework, it can be a bit of a challenge.

I have learned a lot of coping strategies through various courses i have done, so when my CBT therapist sets me homework, i try to do my best and do it.

Well, last week she set me some homework, which i took on board and was determined to complete. This did not go according to plan!!

I spent most of the week cursing her, and thinking that she had set me up big time!

So I shall share with you what made me feel this way. She asked me to make a list. A list of evidence of the negative things i thought to myself.

My main thoughts are, I am no good, I am not good enough, and I always make mistakes because im useless.to anyone.

I thought it would be an easy task, but was dumbfounded when i realized, there was no evidence to justify what i was thinking and feeling about myself.

My therapist had set me up!!!! Yes in a very very good way, but what a simple and effective way to make me see things from a different perspective.

So my visit with her yesterday, was very interesting too. She asked me for my homework, with a little smile on her face, i looked at her and said, I was still in the process of doing it, as i could not believe that i could not find any evidence at all. With her smile on her face, she replied, i thought that would be the case.

Now don’t get me wrong, this was not a trick on her part, she is a highly trained therapist, and knows what she is doing, obviously. But something so simple, has blown me away. Yes i am still trying to find evidence, but now I am smiling, because i cannot find any at all. And that’s a good thing!

So when you think about it, all the negativity we aim at ourselves, is totally wrong. Think about it, wheres the evidence!!!

Pickle, not just something I put on my sandwiches….

Pickle, not just something i put on my sandwiches….

Nine years ago, i persuaded my partner to let me have a dog. We went and met her parents and even though she was all teeth and a rapid ball of fur, we fell in love. We took her home and decided to name her Pickle, due to her Branston pickle looking colour.

Due to potty training, we decided she had to learn to go to the kitchen to do her business on the pad, so we brought a stairgate to keep her in, but the sassy mutt jumped it within twenty minuets….. we quickly found out this mutt had springs in her feet!!!!

As most pups do, she whizzed around the house, chewing my partners slippers…and teething on anyone’s hands available. But my favorite thing she did was when she was ready to sleep. She would curl up and sleep on my head. As shes gotten bigger, this is not viable, but does not stop her trying.

Now the reason i am talking about my scruffy hairy mutt, is because of how she helps me. As most dogs do, they can sense things in humans. She knows when im anxious or upset and will jump up for a cuddle.

I find stroking her hair very therapeutic. It can calm me down and make me feel at ease. It may be the stroking sensation that makes me feel relaxed, im not sure, but im not going to question it, as it works. The licking of my face is not so therapeutic, but i understand its her way of saying, its ok dad, im here.

Now im not suggesting we all go out and get a nutty ball of fur to keep us sane, i just want to share with you the things that help me during my times of anxiety and stress.

We go on walks, and this is helpful, as we are in the fresh air and walking in nature which i love. Now my mutt is strange, because if its raining, she point blank refuses to leave the house!!!! Now thats great as i dont like getting wet, but dragging her along the floor, is not something i want to be seen doing!!!! So on very wet days we stay in.

She makes me laugh a lot, even now thats shes getting on in age,, everyone loves her as she is so friendly and wanting love off everyone, but we noticed with an old friend of ours, that even pretend fighting me will result in your leg or bum coming into contact with her teeth!!

I think what i am trying to tell you is, i have found different ways of coping with my anxiety and thoughts, and my beloved Pickle is one of my stress busters. So what do you use to help you de-stress??

Hope this finds you in good stress free mental health, and i would like to give out a big thank you to my Mutt and anyone else pets that helps them through times of need.

Have a good day and keep smiling, as this will make you feel good even when your not in the mood to.

Not just about Mental Health!!!!

Not just about Mental Health!!!!

Hey Everyone, hope this finds you all well. Well this blog is to share with you, not only my mental health, but also my physical health. I have had a condition called M.E. since the age of 15. A brief description of this condition is that causes extreme fatigue in all your muscles, and makes you want to sleep a lot! It can affect your joints quite a lot too.

So i am a member of the Burgh Castle Almanac group, and we all went on the Angles Way walk, which is 4.5 miles long. well for most this is a mission, but for someone with M.E., it can be very daunting and exhausting experience. But i am very happy to say, I did it !!! ok i’ve been resting every since, but the achievement of doing it was well worth it.

When i found out we were doing the walk, i dreaded it. The thought of walking that far made me feel anxious, and i wanted to pull out quite a few times, due to the fear of failing to complete it. But with encouragement, and a stern talking to myself, I did it, and best of all, as i have said earlier, I completed it. I think our biggest obstacle in life is ourselves. We talk ourselves out of so many good things, that we miss, what is, and can be a very uplifting experience, whatever level of fitness or mental capability we are. I think pushing ourselves to what we think is our limit, will surprise us all, when we realize, that that limit, is actually limitless!!!

So i have mentioned in a couple of blogs, what i get up to in the Burgh Castle Almanac group, well the update of what we have been up to is thus. We have had a small exhibition at the Great Yarmouth Time and Tide museum, which is well worth a visit if you have never been, where we displayed our artwork and items that we have found on our walks around Burgh Castle. Items such as pottery and an old coin. The coin was an old Roman coin with an inscription on which had been translated to say, ‘The return of Happy times’ The art work was made by using a pin hole camera, which gave great results and was very interesting to do. Other artwork included, a drawing and photos which we had taken and adapted through a app on the computer.

Once the exhibition was taken down, we were told that while it was up, the museum had had 2395 people through the door, looking at all the exhibits, including ours. This has made me feel very proud of our group, and all that we have achieved throughout the year.

I am having ups and downs with my mental and physical well being, but achieving something like all this, above, makes it easier to like myself just that little bit more. I can actually say now, i did that, and im dam well proud of what i’ve achieved.

I encourage you all to try something that you thought was un-achievable before, because i can guarantee, you will succeed and feel great about it. It doesn’t matter how many times you try to do something, its the not giving up and finally succeeding that counts.

I wish you all happy mental and physical health, and keep up the good work!!!

Therapies

Therapies

Living with mental health, covers a vast array of conditions. What does it mean to you I wonder, and what therapies have you tried?

There are many things you can try, with or without medication. As you may be aware, I am now involved with CBT, which I am finding very helpful. My partner has had counselling and EMDR, which, in her words, has cured her of her CPTSD. She would shout from the rooftops to anyone who would listen, how fantastic her counsellor was, and still is!

She also tells me that she finds it hard to understand, why others don’t try EMDR therapy. So its made me think. As we are all individuals, I believe not one specific therapy will or can, work on everyone.

We all have our own journey in life, and our own experiences, which makes us all brilliantly unique, so this, I think, can compact on how we heal and at what pace.

I know my partner has lived with her condition for over forty years, until she was cured, her words, but then was she now ready? It’s a bit like the chicken and the egg scenario, which came first, her ability to face her demons, or the right therapist? Her journey was quite complex, and it has taken her years to finally find peace, but that does not matter, as she has now got to where she was aiming for.

I know in the past she has had therapists who were no help to her at all, in fact she tells me, one therapist was crying when she was telling her her story. So her confidence in this particular therapist was shaken to the core, and she spent many many years, still looking for answers to help her with her mental health recovery.

I’m really happy for her recovery, and am proud of how far she has come. I look forward to my day of feeling happier with my life, and feel more hopeful that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. and not just some bloke lost with a torch searching for something himself.

The conversation with my partner, and now my CBT journey, has thrown up questions about therapy. Do you think they work? and if so, which ones would you be shouting about from the rooftops?

I think, as i have stated above, that this is a personal thing, and the therapy we find helps the best, might not be the best for the person who has similar conditions as we do. We will all be different in our journey, and we will deal with them accordingly. After all we are all a product of our upbringing and environment, coupled with the fact that we have different and complex personalities, so as you see, we are unique, interesting people, and thats fantastic, as life would be so boring if we were the same.

So don’t judge others, if they have not found the way to recover yet, its not a race to the finishing line. This has been made clear to me by my partner. She was judging someone who was constantly moaning about their own CPTSD, and she could not understand why they had not tried the therapy she had, and was cured of this crippling mental condition. But she now understands, through her own thoughts, that we are not ready when others think we are, that the final step is their choice to make.

I think the reason for this post is, hope. Hope that one day we can all come to terms with our mental health, and hope of a brighter future. If any of you have had experience of a therapy that has helped, or cured you, please feel free to share. I wish you all good mental health, and success on your journey.