Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Schizophrenia Commission

I am WELL excited!  I have been invited to speak to the Schizophrenia Commission in London about my experience of recovery, following the recovery story that I sent in to them last November.  I have so many things I want to speak about, I keep having to remind myself that I will not be the only person they have invited in.

I was so impolite at the cinema the other evening.  I had gone to watch The Blind Side.  I had been invited by a friend  whose church had hired the cinema and were selling tickets for just fifty pence each to members of the public.  I took the older children and some friends along.  The very kind and generous church members gave us all sweets, tea or coffee and cake before we went in.  And then - incredibly - somebody came around the cinema handing out free ice cream.  She gave them out to several of the rows, then turned.  I thought she was leaving and called out to remind her that we hadn't got any yet.  I really embarrassed myself - she had only been trying to reach us by coming around to the other side, and even those children who hadn't yet been given an ice cream hadn't called out in dismay as I had done!  I had to apologise for my impulsiveness, and I really did feel stupid.

Anyway, my point is that I will have to take care to behave nicely at the Commission meeting, take my turn and be polite.  And remember my table manners of course - they are laying on lunch.

I am excited about the whole day, although I do have some feelings of trepidation.  The trouble is, I have leant on Paul for so long during our marriage that I am now incapable of doing simple things for myself.  I hardly ever go to London - now I have to get there on my own, and find my way to the venue.  Part of me appreciates the challenge - I know I can do it (I think) - I certainly know that I should be able to.  Part of me is baffled that I ever became so dependent on anybody else that I stopped thinking for myself.  And part of me is still beset with doubt as to my capability - something that won't go away until I start taking on more responsibility. 

Today I drove a fair distance, something that would have terrified me a year ago, to meet some members of a local mental health organisation.  I left an hour later feeling boosted - I had an offer of work (I think, subject to references).  I will be providing peer support to those in mental distress, something that I feel well equipped to do, and which I am looking forward to, although it will be another challenge.  But it will prove to myself that I am capable at last - work feels like a hurdle that I have to face, although I will not work outside the house for many hours while the children are young.

I notice already that since I am devoting more time to writing I have been distracted, and that it is not good for the children.  They need me to be available, to pay attention to them - they have each other to play with, but they need to know that I am there to talk to and that I will listen to them properly.  It makes a huge difference to their emotional welfare and my own - I hate to feel that I am neglecting their needs in any way.  I don't know how mothers manage to work full-time and look after their children.  I suppose most people don't have such a large family, and those who do go out to work have support networks and childcare arrangements in place.  I just want to make sure I don't start getting carried away with my fledgling career at the expense of my children - the family is the main part of my existence and I want to keep it that way.

Enough for now, more in due course.  I hope that all of you out there are well and happy.

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