On the right there is a picture of me, my name and some words about me.
FeedBack Mental Health conference Shedding the Light on Loneliness and isolation, the last one was in Lowestoft this time we are in Thetford.
This is the vulnerability bit of what I’m doing, just the word domestic abuse near my name is unnerving, I’m not going to publically underline my whole experience because, well, we’d be here a while. I haven’t got the energy to correct others assumptions either way, my vast experiences come under this umbrella heading. There is still a little part of me that is scared of getting in trouble for being honest. Im dealing with it, every day. Everytime someone lets me know how i’m helping them to overcome their own challenges it fuels the courage I need to keep talking.
There is no hiding, anyone can get lonely. New parents, children, cared for young people, older people, retired, self employed, bereaved or carers can become chronically lonely and it’s one sure way to become enveloped by a wave of depression. I have had bouts of loneliness while being a new mum, being a childminder and after a fantastically, spectacular bout of depression.
The isolation that comes with having a baby can knock a persons life totally off kilter www.huffingtonpost.mums-feel-lonely Loneliness hits the eldery it really hits hard on health www.campaigntoendloneliness.org However, Young adults are more likely to feel lonely than older age groups, says a study from the Office for National Statistics. The research found that almost 10% of people aged 16 to 24 were “always or often” lonely – the highest proportion of any age group.bbc.co.uk/news/education
This isn’t “Just Pull Your Sock’s up”
I have sustained myself and avoid loneliness only because I have learnt how. It takes a bit of courage to ask for help and wait. It started small, a cuppa with neighbours who offered, asking those I trusted for dinner, one a week at least. I joined online groups and forums and found I wasn’t alone in many of my struggles. I found places to go where I felt safe, these are often libraries and coffee shops. I found where routine had often made me feel bored and hemmed as a teen I now found it comforting, Even micro moments with people I pass on the street has become predictable, tiny connections with others, proving I am visible and not alone. Slowly I felt better because I was more confident that I am enough.
A really good way to get out and be amongst things happening around you this time of year is The Great Get Together
What’s the problem?
There are pockets of excellence , perhaps these skew the average across the UK’s services, but it’s the foundation of these that need to be looked at and formulated into what is basically a product to share between and across services to enable communities to thrive. I suspect it is where there is good linkedin care, carers passports, communication between social services, NHS and education within county, between cases, within timelines that don’t impede the health and success of the “service user”.
Where the services have been able to collect honest feedback and been able to improve one area without neglecting others. That can happen right? It’s not just an imaginary ideal where the lived experience isn’t totally alien to the professionals. Where the professional is supported within a safety net of their own, a sensible workload given and job security, enabling an amount of professional vulnerability and ability to have prolonged human contact in their role with honest dialogue and co production of care. Imagine that.
I honestly think if the services worked better together and more for the people within them than for targets, the communities needed to help lessen the load of loneliness would form naturally with less need for funding.
Have your Say!
If you have had a naff time or an awesome experience, it could make a difference to how the service is run in the future, which would be great, like not taking people off WellBeing waiting lists if they haven’t responded to a call or email!
‘Shedding the Light’ on Loneliness & Isolation. Lowestoft
Throughout this event we will be hearing from a range of speakers on the subject of loneliness and isolation, we know that mental health is made worse and can be caused by isolation. Including my self, giving a talk on my varied lived experience of loneliness, with my own brand of gritty and playful break out session too.
ON MY OWN!
I have once before spoken at a conference, I had my work to back me up, Making a pop up Exhibition from work from Finding a Voice 2017 I wasn’t speaking alone on stage either. READ further thepsychologist.bps.org.uk This time it’s just me and Im jumping in with two feet.
I could continue only exhibiting my work in an ordinary but vibrant standard exhibition format, it would be valid and worth while. However I found this voice, a way of speaking and making that playfully gets uncomfortable truths out in the open.
The concept of What Finding a Voice is… is tricky because of the raw nature of its content and my unwillingness to let it just be an art exhibition. Meshing together art and services in a gallery setting has its sticky points, but I honestly feel it is part of a dynamic way to make changes with in services is to shift stigma about mental health, collaboration and perhaps about “stuffy artsy fartys” exhibitions.
To get the most out of FAV18 Im being bold and talking more. Exhilarating and exhausting but totally worth it.