Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Apologies for the Absence

I have been neglectful of this blog - a whole week without a single post.  Shame on me!  I have no particular excuse - just the pressures of ordinary life.

My eldest had to have a minor op earlier this week.  I hate seeing her under par, although on the other hand it has been nice in a way to have her at home.  We had such fun at the hospital before she went down to theatre - she taught me to play a card game called 'Slam' - a bit like 'Snap' but instead of calling out you have to slam your hand down on the cards, and the object is to get rid of all your cards, not to collect them all.  I haven't laughed so much in ages - and I had forgotten the therapeutic power of laughter.   It made me feel able to cope with the day ahead, where previously I had been feeling overwhelmed by the pressure of it all.  Note to self - must play with the children more often.

I have been doing a little 'work' although I am not yet formally employed by anybody.  Yesterday I went to a meeting about the redesign of mental health services.  It was part of the NHS consulation process - they wanted the opinions and input of service users and carers.  It was an interesting morning, and I enjoyed the opportunity to meet new people and learn more about all sorts of things.  It still feels odd though, suddenly identifying myself as a 'service user' when really I have not used mental health services for at least eleven years.

Most people who recover from breakdowns and integrate into the community keep well away from the mental health system - as I did for a long time.  It feels more comfortable that way.  But I want to play a part in improving the system - and the experience I have had of it is very relevant to that desire for change.  So I have had to make myself vulnerable by suddenly being up front about my past involvement with the system - although I don't think I have got the balance quite right yet.  We were divided into groups for discussion yesterday, and I told everybody on our table about my diagnosis during the first part of the debate - I think in future it might be more professional to hold back a bit on that.  On the other hand, if we are not open with each other (and I mean humankind as a whole) how can we hope to move forward, to gain further understanding, to learn tolerance and acceptance? 

I suppose I will learn more as I go along.  This was not a typical experience yesterday anyway - I think in future I will be working more in peer support, so I will be in an entirely different sort of working environment.  And I guess if the professionals do decide that actually I never had schizophrenia, I won't be able to go around accidentally disclosing the diagnosis any more. 

It is amazing (as a mother) how life changes once work comes into the equation.  Suddenly my focus is more on me, because I am actually doing something of importance out of the house.   Luckily the children are old enough to cope with the shift of attention, and my work is very much part time.  I am also taken aback by how many arrangments I have to make in order to be somewhere other than the home.  Dropping the children off beforehand, travelling to and fro from the meeting yesterday - I found that the vast majority of the day had gone, for a meeting of just a few hours.

Anyway, it is progress, and that is a good thing.  So I will keep going with it all - and make sure I still find the time to blog, and to keep on writing the new book.  I feel like I am juggling a lot of things just now - but as long as I have Paul and the kids to keep me grounded I am sure it will all turn out fine.

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