“Our Caz”, had been picked by the police and was in a psychiatric hospital somewhere in north London and she needed to be brought back “up to a ward up north…”. “C’mon lad, we’re off to London” dad said.
My career path was set when I was approximately 10 years of age. My dad had just received a phone call from a random nurse to say that my sister, “our Caz”, had been picked by the police and was in a psychiatric hospital somewhere in north London and she needed to be brought back “up to a ward up north…”. “C’mon lad, we’re off to London” he said. It was the beginning of the eighties and general knowledge of mental health issues and concerns was, to the general public, nominal at best. I didn’t know what to expect.
Fast forward 40 years and numerous hospital admissions, many tears, laughs, stress, more laughs, many highs, sometimes way too high, shouts, screams, arguments and chaos, our Caz has been stable for years and years. In part thanks to the good work of mental health services, of places like Recovery College, of family and friends, but most importantly, her own strength of character and her decision to embrace life, despite all the hardships she’s faced.
So now, after having worked in community mental health for more years than I care to admit, I’ve been given the opportunity to work with Recovery College and, after hearing so many positive stories about the people who attend, the volunteers and staff, as well as the more unusual courses (trampolining, fantastic!!!) I’m looking to pursue that similar, unusual path. From music and film to taking random pictures as I’m out and about, to helping develop a family and carers group, I like to think that my own lived experience of seeing my sister deal with bipolar disorder for over 40 years has enabled me to perhaps understand, at least to a small degree, the concerns of people with mental health issues, and maybe help people realise that that issue isn’t their defining characteristic.
So, if you fancy a course that’s maybe just off the beaten track, give us a shout because, as a very famous rock’n’roll band once sang, “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you get what you need…”.