I have had quite a busy and strange week, the last thing that has happened is that I seem to have offended and American with my last blog post with its picture of Christ and my proclamation that science would be better placed to find a cure for TS than prayer. The only way I can see prayer working is in a placebo way: having faith in a method will improve the symptoms or as a friend of mine suggested, meditation, however meditation is something I’ve never really been good at as my mind tends to wander, I’m no longer thinking of the warm sea covering my toes on the shoreline but I’m thinking about what I need to get from Asda and do I have enough money for the gas bill. However my Hindu friend tells me that it usually (mediation that is) in his experience involves repeating a phrase over and over….rather like saying the Rosary which used to be a Friday afternoon regular whilst at school. The way I see it, it’s nothing really to do with the prayer but taking time out from a busy schedule and focusing on something different which indeed does work, and it works by decreasing my tics and moving my mind away from a stressful thought pattern for a while, which leads me on to my next point, and what I’ve been up to – nothing illegal – I promise.
For the last few days I’ve been at the Custard Factory in Birmingham, which as places go is pretty cool; it was the old Bird’s Custard Factory just outside Birmingham city centre. At the moment there’s an event going on – “Arts all over the Place” facebook.com/event.php?eid=... Which is an exhibition of art by service users from Birmingham and Solihull mental health Foundation Trust, now I wish that I had a painting or something to contribute, there are some amazing pictures, notably the painting of fellow service user Steve Berridge - steveberridge.com/ Some people have not understood his work but being a ticcer who’s often plagued by dark thoughts that are often violent and bloody I get it completely and I’d love to take one of his pictures home with me. If you are easily offended DON’T follow the last link. Apart from the work on display there’s been some other stuff going on, Wednesday I was asked to fill in for someone and take a workshop in card making which I found quite relaxing and cathartic, card making isn’t usually my type of thing but it did remind me of what I enjoyed about teaching and steered my mind towards more creative thoughts, coming up we have the national (??? I think) day of poetry which hopefully will include me, on bass and my friend, on djembe providing the accompaniment for some of the featured poets. It’s also been good to meet other service users (to the uninitiated that’s a new euphemism for people affected by mental health problems). That leads me to the dark side, although I’ve been very busy my depression has been pretty bad, bad to the extent that when I was outside my village post office I heard Magpie, my sadly missed surrogate aunty who passed away earlier this year, as clear as anything I heard her shout “HIYAH!!” at me, but nowhere to be seen. There has also been the knocking at the door – there’s nobody there, and people talking in my kitchen, there’s also the case of the missing Andrea Camilleri book, there it was on the kitchen table waiting to be read, and now it’s gone, not even Inspector Montalbano could solve this one and not forgetting those shadowy figures just behind me. By Thursday, after 4 days of travelling to Brum after about 3-4 hours of sleep each night things had taken their toll on me, the doctor came round to see me and suggested that I should go into hospital for a few days so I could be monitored and assessed, but of course money’s too tight to mention so I had a shorter assessment at home with a psychiatric nurse from the crisis team based in Nuneaton. So I don’t know what would come of that yet, probably another leaflet.