Friday, 1 April 2011
The birth of Recovery Leeds; by Recovery Leeds
I entered the mental health system just over 10 years ago, first as a patient, emphasis on the patience, then a service user and shortly after as a member of staff.
Conditioned by the usual messages welcoming me to a jobless and dysfunctional future, I had become a half being set to fail as both parent and husband. A hungry ghost, haunting my old life, surrounded on all sides by imaginary walls, infecting my surroundings with misery.
" Encompassed on all sides with a thousand dangers, weary faint, trembling with a thousand terrors...I...in a fleshy tomb, am buried above ground."
It is important to stress most of this stigma and negativity came from within. My wife was unfailing in her belief of healing, while others in their silence and empathic expressions only colluded with my own sense of loss, misery and hopelessness, heralding the dawn of an age of severe and enduring illness.
After seeing a long, and I do mean long, series of locum psychiatrists all of whom confirmed my fears, it was during a CPA review that I first heard, spoken by a professional, the language of what I now recognise to be recovery. I was in no state to speak, sobbing so inconsolably those present must have wondered if I even knew what was going on, but this young doctor, Dr Watson, spoke of a return to my normal, of work and life as enjoyable once again. Outwardly I must have seemed unable to hear but inwardly his words gently lifted my face that I would hear them, engendering a sense of hope. The message was understood not in an intellectual sense rather as an experience in my heart, the budding of optimism following words which fell as seeds in my being, watered perhaps by my own tears.
Later after beginning work as a Service User Development Worker within rehabilitation services in Leeds I found echoes of that message in the Psychosocial Interventions training I attended and so I did all I could to understand the concept of what has been labelled recovery. My first Google searches uncovered little; there was information about the Tidal Model together with advice on recovery of a model rocket. I gathered all the information I could and developed my own recovery resource, attaching documents to as many emails I could in the hope of growing the positive message I received on that day and the ensuing positive effect on my sense of hope. I gathered articles which fostered that same sense of optimism by listening with my heart. I then went on to collect items which might be helpful to organisations and the people working within them, those like I now found myself to be, privileged in supporting people with Mental Health challenges.
It was during a visit to my daughters school and reading information produced by their IT department that I realised how easy it would be to set up a blog, this would mean instead of sending people documents I could simply give them the blog address. I went home that evening and within a few short minutes, recoveryleeds was born. It isn’t a blog in the sense of an online journal or diary, more a place to find links and documents. In the body of the blog I have tried to place articles or even phrases which might interest or even inspire others.
Just over a year ago I installed an add-on called Google Analytics, this provides information about how often the site is accessed and from where. Since then the blog has been viewed 2675 times in 83 countries spanning 6 continents. I have no financial investment in people visiting the site only the hope they will find some of the pieces in their jigsaw.
It was suggested I write a short article about my blog for a magazine and I thought it a good idea to post it.
My very best wishes in your recovery and those who you may have the privilege to support. rl
Posted by Recovery Leeds