Road To Recovery

Road To Recovery

Hi everyone todays blog I’m going to talk to you about how I started my road to recovery and what I’ve learned through this journey of recovery.

When I became ill in 2017 I had to wait to get an appointment to see some one form the local mental health team. After I had this appointment I got put in to something called the recovery information centre which is able to get you some more support and help while waiting to see a psychiatrist. I had this thing pointed out to me called recovery college, I was like really do I want to be doing something like this again and and still feel low afterwards. Well I had a meeting a few weeks later to discuss recovery college with two of the main tutors there. They came across so well and polite and quite enthusiastic towards me, which for was a plus as I saw they had the passion for recovery college.

So they explain to me what recovery college is about and that there are different sessions on all topics surrounding recovery. They explained that it was group work, which I was a bit worried about at first, but they then proceeded to tell me that when you pass and participate in the work, which they do not force you to do it but encourage you to do your best, it gives you new tools to help you with your struggles. I went away still not feeling sure about it but knew I needed to give it ago, which was better than sitting at home in the gloom of despair.

I went away and had long hard think about this, then I filled out the emrollment paper and sent in to the offfice and waited to hear back form them. This was a big step for me, as when I was younger I didn’t want to get the help, as I thought they couldn’t help a hopeless case like me, but now I did. I didn’t want to feel the outsider to the world, I wanted to participate. A few weeks later I got a letter confirming my dates and times for the courses I had signed up for. I thought shit this is starting to get real now. The week went by quickly and I started my first course called wellness planning, which was a six week course. I got to the place and all I wanted to do was turn round and walk away, because in my head I couldn’t get how any of this was going to help at all how big the group was going to be, where are the exit points ……all this was going through my head, and my voices were compounding the feelings I had, telling me I was useless, it won’t work, what’s the point. I was finding it really hard to keep my shit together I can tell you.

But I pulled it together and ventured in. I almost gave a sigh of relief as I saw there wasn’t many people in there. I got really nice welcome form both the tutors and some of the other members of the group. This started to relax me a little and I took my seat. The session started and it was nice an relaxed. The group didn’t really talk much in our first week, but as the weeks went by, we all seemed to open up, which for me, was a relegation. I didn’t feel judged and was comforting to know that other people where going through similar stuff to me, after all those years, I saw wasn’t the only one.

Moving on to the next session, was ‘what is psychosis’ this was just a one session teaching, and the room was quite packed. But what made me feel relaxed was, I knew some of the professionals who where also taking part in the session. This made me feel like I was in a safe place. The tutor for this session showed a clip of how the voices are for him. This clip for me was invaluable, knowing that he had come so far, even though he has these things happening to him. But with the help he had had, he is now helping others like himself, which is what I would like to do.

All these tools I got, just form the first two courses, where brilliant. My wellness plan, that I got form my first course, is like my bible, I’ve used the tools so much now, it’s stuck in my head. This helps, as I don’t have to keep referring to it constantly, only if I want to change or add something new to it.

I then took part in a safety planning session. I found this the hardest one so far, as it was just not one session, it was three, and we had a week between them. I found it hard, talking about some difficult times, but once I had completed the third session, I understood it better, and realised you couldn’t do this topic in just one session.

My next course was called Goal setting. Thankfully only one session. This was a nice relaxed course, and I found out I was setting myself too bigger goals, when I should have been doing one step at a time. I can’t stress enough that taking one step at time has done me the world of good.

I still have more courses I want to participate in on recovery college, and move forward with my recovery. I have been on the tutor training aswell, but once I’m ready and in a place I need to be, I will go back full steam ahead, so that my experience can help other, like me. Recovery college has given me my life back.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone that has helped me on my recovery journey, especially all the tutors and admins teams.

2019 A Positive Start

Hey everyone I hope your all well today I’m going to talk to you about positive things and my plans for the new year.

I hope you’ve all had a good Christmas and and have a fantastic new year. This year I’m setting myself a target of speaking at 5 events on mental health and all topics around it. I’m also looking at being involved with more projects to help others with there struggle in around mental health. I’m also going to be doing two blogs a month.

I’m really looking forward to be getting out there next year. I’m currently doing well in myself and and want to learn new things on how I can help my self be better at what I want to do with my self so then I can help other people get through their struggle.

I’m currently waiting to be seen by a therapy team and I was wondering wether they had forgot me or I wasn’t on the list. But after an appointment this month, i found I am on the list and I am just waiting for an appointment to be sent out to me. So I’ve got that to look forward, to which will help me move forward in my recovery journey and keeping on track.

I have a saying I say to myself everyday, it’s not going to beat me I’m going to beat it. This came to me when i was on a recovery college course and I was struggling. It helps me a lot saying this. I’m also saying nice things to myself each day to stop the negative stuff beat me up and weigh me down.

I am also going to accept the praise that people give me. Accept it and believe it and be proud of what I’m being praised for.

I think we all need to be proud of ourselves for being where we are now. If we look back and see how we were, say two years ago, would we have ever thought we would be where we are now. I know I would have never have thought I would be where I am now, or doing half the things I do now. For that, I am very proud of myself, to see the person I am becoming, go me!

Bad times don’t last forever, not when we realise how strong we really are, and that we have the power to change things for the better, and actually be happy in our life.

I wish you all, that the best times of last year, will seem like the bad times of this year, so even a better year ahead for you all. Believe in yourselves, because your bloody worth it!!

Thank you for reading any questions please just ask away.

Surviving my Christmas

So I’m going to talk to about the Christmas coming up, how I feel about Christmas and how I cope with the festivities alongside my mental health.

As a child I think I had good Christmas times. I don’t remember having a bad one but when I started to grow up and my sister didn’t believe in Father Christmas anymore I lost interest in Christmas as the fun of it had gone. Getting older I started to notice that I didn’t feel comfortable in groups even within my family but I didn’t want to speak about it. I felt stupid, awkward and didn’t want to ruin Christmas for everyone else. This continued throughout my life.

I wonder do I look back in anger or disgust at myself that I didn’t open up to my family so I could feel more at ease? Do I feel like I have missed out on Christmas with family? I don’t think I have but I wished I could of felt more at ease in those family get-togethers.

Now it’s 2018. I still struggle with my mental health but I have a better grip on it now. I can actually say I am looking forward to Christmas this year. Me and my partner have done all the Christmas shopping and it’s wrapped. I found it hard with my partner to stop buying things as there is just loads out there we could get for everyone. I’m looking forward to seeing family, having dinner and just looking at how far everyone has come this year.

If you’re struggling with anything over Christmas please don’t forget there is the Samaritans you can call on 116 123 they are always open and will firstly listen to you and talk if you want.

I hope you enjoy this blog and I just want to take this time to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. 🥳

Giving something back

Hey everyone it’s been a long time but I just had to take some ‘me time’ and get myself back on the right track. Now I’m going to write about this new project I’m involved in with Access Community Trust.

I was just looking through Twitter and Facebook when saw this picture. I knew the person standing in the picture was a bloke I knew from helping us get to Burgh Castle while our main man Tod was on his fellowship in the USA. The following Tuesday I asked Gary more about the article as I’m not very good at reading. I asked Gary what the project was and he told me it was to do with the war commissioned graves. They need some graves looking after over a few sites we attend across Suffolk and Norfolk with some church yards just having one grave to some having two two or more. The aim is to make them look presentable again, cutting the grass, cleaning the headstone and taking some time to reflect on what the headstone is telling us to just try to think about their story. This got me interested and I said to Gary that I would like to take part in this as it feels like I’m giving some back to them for what they gave to us.

The next Thursday came round and I was full of nerves about going. I texted Gary early that morning and said I couldn’t make it due to not feeling great. I did have a little cold which shouldn’t of stopped me from going but I was so nervous about meeting new people and and to new places I’d never been before so … Anyway I was annoyed at myself for not going to this but he replied and made arrangements to text me the following week about going. This was a good plan for me as it gave me a week to get myself calm and ready to go.

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pic above of the team 

The next Wednesday Gary texted to see if I was ok to attend on Thursday and I was. I was really looking forward to it though I still had some nerves about meeting new people and the new places we would be going to. Thursday morning Gary picked me up and and there where 3 other people in the van. We said our hellos and I was made to feel so welcome. They quickly told me we had some treats on the van that we could munch on which sounded a great idea! Gary also mentioned we should be meeting up with Chris who was the man in charge of looking after the war graves in this area. I was even more nervous then as the others had been doing this for a couple of weeks and it was my first time. We got to our first grave and met Chris. I suddenly calmed down as he was so thankful for what we were going to do and and what had been done previously. I started on strimming the area around a grave and making it look tidier. Once I’d stopped strimming one of the other volunteers had noticed that that there was some writing on the wall around the grave. We were chuffed that we had found this so we called everyone else over to see it. After this we went to another church yard where we met another two individuals who were looking after the church yard and trying to keep church grounds in a good order. The church was all fenced off and is now just ruins and it made you think was it a popular church when it was in working order and how many people had walked through these grounds.

So I just want to say thank you for letting me be part of this project. I can’t wait to look after more graves. It’s great getting out and talking to new people. It’s building my connection with the outside again as I was becoming a bit of a hermit again.

So I just want to say thank you for all you gave to us and this is my way of paying my respect.

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“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.”

 

Voices in my head:

Voices in my head:

I’m going to talk about the voices in my head that talk I can remember hearing from about the age of 12. I thought they were calling my name. I would be sitting in another room to where my mum and sister would be, maybe not even on the same floor, doing something and then I’d hear someone say ‘John’. Thinking it was my sister or mum, I would wait to see if they called me again, before going to see what they wanted. I would then hear it in quick session ‘John John John’ so I would stop what I was doing and then shout down or go down to where my mum and sister were and say yeah what do you want, they would say “nothing” so I would go back upstairs.

It wasn’t until my later years as a teenager that I started to have more then one voice going on in my head, but I didn’t want to tell anyone as I thought they would laugh at me and not take me seriously, so I kept it to myself which was probably the worst thing I could of ever done as I didn’t get the help with how to deal with them. I thought I’d take you through each voice one by one .

So the first voice I have already talked a little a bit about it can sound really close up and then at times it can be really distant. It can happen at any time of day or night, which is sometimes confusing when you’re in a place full of people.

The second is a male voice saying “help me” in a deep voice but it can also be a high pitched voice. This voice has me wondering whether it is saying that I need to help my inner child.

The third is a female and male voice together. I can’t make out what they’re saying. It’s like they’re bickering at each other or arguing. It’s also quite distant, apart from when I’m struggling or stressing. Then its really close up but I still can’t make out what they are saying.

The fourth is a lady who tells me that I’m no good, that I’m rubbish at things. While I’m writing this out, in my head she is telling me that this isn’t going to be good, so why bother?

The fifth is a male voice but like the female voice, he also tells me that I’m no good nobody wants me here and that I should be by myself. I should cause harm to myself so that I’m not a burden to anyone else.

Voice six is male that laughs at me when I feel nervous and scared. I feel that it takes the micky out of me so I quite like this voice.

I often get asked would you want to be without the voices in your head and I say no. They’re a part of me and although sometimes they scare me, I don’t think I could cope without them having known them all these years.

Around 1 in 10 people hear voices. These could be bad experiences or they could be good experiences with hearing voices.

Voices in someone’s head does not mean they are schizophrenic. Understanding more about mental health can help you understand things that people say or do. Research what a diagnosis means, learn and understand more about it and this will take away the fear of mental health challenges.

“My visits to Burgh Castle – would it interest you ” ?

Hello everyone at the Restoration Trust. I’m going to tell you about the project I’m currently involved in at Burgh Castle that I attend every other Tuesday.

The group is called the Burgh Castle Almanac group. We meet up in the village hall at Burgh Castle and walk up to the castle where we take our fixed spot photograph around the site. This is so over the year you can see the changes in the site over the different seasons. We have all been given some cameras so we can take different photos of the site.

The wild flower lady came and gave us a talk about all the different wild flowers we would see around us. I thought that was going to be boring at first because I thought I knew them all but I didn’t realise there were different types of the same flower also we had some little see through things like magnifying glasses but you could get right up close and see the detail on the flowers which was pretty cool.

It’s two weeks later and we are attending the Time and Tide museum. This was my first one as I missed the first session due to stressing as I didn’t know what to expect. It took me a while to be myself and join in but watching the arty bits going on around the room was so cool. There are some really arty people in the group.

Two weeks later we are back at Burgh Castle and we had the butterfly recorder from Norfolk there. I took a look at him and felt this was was going to be a pain staking couple of hours! Well I was wrong this man made it fun and I learnt lots. The best bit was at the start of our mindfulness walk he caught a dragonfly and we were lucky enough to stroke it. It was a female and I felt so close to the surroundings it was unreal so a big thank you to this man and it showed me I shouldn’t judge before seeing someone at work.

One week later we were at Burgh Castle again for a visit from BBC Voices. This was another top day. We went around the site at filming and making a short video about what we were doing. It went really well and the thing I liked most about it was that you saw a lot of people come out of their shell for this and that made me feel really good.

One week later we were back at Time and Tide museum. Laura brought in some biscuits/cake from other countries. They didn’t look very nice to me but they tasted very yummy. We got asked to pick out 12 favourite pictures then got asked to refine this to 3. This was quite hard and took me a while because all the pictures deserved to be in there but I managed to do it so I was happy. Thinking about it now I could so easily change them around.

I just want to take time now to say a big thank you to everyone involved in this because at first I didn’t feel like it was going to be my thing but I love it. I look forward to my every other Tuesday and feel good about what we do. Seeing people coming out of their shells is a big reward for me but must be also for the people that help put this on so once again I must just say a really big THANK YOU.

MEN ARE FROM MARS…….

MEN ARE FROM MARS…….

From an early age, the majority of boys are pressured by society, family or peers to grow up fast and be men, even before their teenaged years. Being told they can’t play with dolls or dress up in women’s clothes amongst other things that can be classed as gender stereotyping. Also being taught that they shouldn’t cry and that men are tough and strong, that showing emotions makes you weak. These boys tend to develop into men who struggle with dealing and showing/sharing emotions and this can sometimes factor in to why men struggle with mental health. A recent report made last year showed the highest suicide statistics in the uk were for men aged 40-44, at a rate 3 times higher than women. A surprising amount of people didn’t know that men can also get post natal depression. Usually typical in their early 20’s with their first child, but it can happen any time, just like women do.

Upon observation, I have noticed that a vast number of women are able to talk openly about their problems to family, friends or healthcare professionals and feel enlightened upon doing so. Whereas most men I have spoken to confess they think that if they talk about their problems, no matter the subject or how small the problem is, they will be ridiculed or judged. And that there aren’t as many options for them to seek the help and care that they need.

Would you agree this is unfair? In my opinion this is very unfair. Males from all ages are struggling more and more with mental health, because they feel like they cannot speak out or as said before, there isn’t any services theyfeel they can turn to. My goal is to change that opinion. I do not agree with society having a cookie cutter set out for every man, telling us how we should feel, and think and act. I am not play dough, ready to be moulded to suit their standards.

Do you agree with my ideas of what is stopping you from expressing how you feel? Is it the thought of people thinking you are weak? Is it the thought that others will think differently about you? Would you feel lesser as a man?

Men have a stereotype following them throughout life. Never fearful or scared. Never sad or depressed. But is not the case. We are human beings. We have emotions. We have feelings. We cry, laugh, get angry, be sad, fall in love. They are natural ways to feel. We are not the stereotypes that society sets out for us. We are not weak and pathetic for wanting to share our feelings and emotions. We are strong, but because we want to be. Not because we have to be. We are kings. We are thinkers. We are whatever we want to be and nobody has a right to stand in the way of that or stop us.

I understand not that not all people would agree with my way of thinking and that is fine. Not everybody thinks this way and they are titled to their own opinions. The only time when their opinion is a problem is when they try to shut down mine. We all have the pressure and stress of everyday life. Work, families, commitments. This is why more men should reach out. We should build each other up, not tear each other down.

So I ask, what would help you embrace your feelings and mental health, without fear of rejection, ridicule and judgement? How can we make it easier for men to get the help they need, and understand that there is help out there for them, before their mental health deteriorates so badly they feel as if they have no where to go. It would be interesting to know how you all feel about this and have feedback.

I feel lucky in a lot of ways, I have my partner to listen to me, and thankfully a great mental health team who are listening and making great suggestions in how to help myself. From this stems my idea of helping more men get the help that they need and deserve themselves. To help them realise that they are worthy of the help, and not worthless.

As I have said before, my main goal is achieve more professional help for men who are dealing with mental health issues. I want you to know that you are not alone, and you are not weak. Seeking help is the first step to proving to yourself, and no one else, that you are strong. So, don’t be worried about what others think and let me know if you have any ideas or any other suggestions. I would very much appreciate it.

Thank you for reading.

John