As I have bemoaned on previous occasions, I’ve had a lot of hit n misses with the mental health team in Somerset, but for once, the odds seem to be working in my favour.
I have a new support worker. Actually, she’s part of the Somerset NHS “Support, Time and Recovery” Team, whatever the hell that’s meant to mean, but I think that support worker sums her job up nicely. And her job is to help me find ways to manage the more practical side of my life, such building up my confidence to go into Taunton, as well as taking up opportunities to volunteer in the community – and build up a network for myself in the process.
I had an appointment to see her this afternoon and over a relaxing cup of coffee, we got to know one another and put together a plan to achieve the above.
I admit, when Sparky suggested I hook up with J, I was sceptical and cautious, but I think I can safely say that I like J. She listens to me and seems to have done quite a good job of assessing me. She even understood when I explained how I like to learn (tell me, show me, let me try it for myself) and has decided to take that approach with me.
Next week, she’s coming to pick me up and we’ll spend the afternoon in Taunton, parking at Evil Tesco’s and wandering around town to help me familiarise myself with the main shopping streets and where different car parks are located.
The following week, if all goes well, I’ll drive myself into Taunton and with up meet her, and we’ll do a bit more exploring, probably taking in locations I need to attend on a regular basis, such as Foundation House, where she, Sparky and my new psychiatrist are based, etc.
She’s also going to get me details of local voluntary groups, such as one which meets fortnightly to do catch-all “conservation work”, from clearing shopping trolleys out of rivers to mending gates and stiles on footpaths, and another which meets weekly to do light gardening for the elderly and disabled.
It all sounds good. Terrifying (I had me a little panic attack after she left) but good.
I wish I didn’t need this kind of help to live my life but the fact is, if I don’t ask for it and don’t take it up when it’s offered, I’m going to end up stuck here, never going out, a hermit (apart from the internet!). So I’m going to ignore my pride and go with it. There isn’t a price that’s too high to pay for freedom and independence.
And on that note, here endeth the lesson…