Dave's Progress. Chapter 126: Feels Like We Might Have Made It.

After visiting the Pathways Group on Tuesday, I was somewhat overcome with a great feeling of positivity and hope for the future. Our little group, set up for those who have had some experience of psychosis, has now been running for around four years, and although there have been sad times, with the unfortunate loss of two of our members, the group has remained a steadfast resource for, I believe, all of us who take part in it. I almost cannot get over the continuing positive "vibes" which emanate from our little gathering, and indeed, it seems we have achieved quite a bit since its inception, including making a short film which was screened at our local museum, and recently developing our own website (see link below).
The group, then, is not what you might expect from one designed to help those with perhaps the most severe and enduring of mental health conditions. Indeed, we seem to be forever having our confidence boosted by the staff who facilitate the group by them telling us how "dynamic" we are, and that the group represents, to many, a beacon of hope as to what can be achieved even with such diagnoses.
At the group on Tuesday one member spoke of how it has served to increase his confidence, and we remembered how when he first came he hardly spoke at all. It seemed, however, on this day there was no stopping him. Ideas poured forth about how we could further develop the group, and with him being quite skilled at using computers (unlike my somewhat Luddite self) he suggested that we now go further with our foray into cyberspace and announce our presence on "Twitter".
Perhaps more importantly, though, he spoke of how the group has helped him come to terms with his illness and how he has managed to overcome the vagaries of bi-polar, suggesting that now, being a little older, he has lost many of the neuroses which plagued him. It is as if all of us have grown up together with the group.
Indeed, for myself I can decidedly say that I feel, after many years of illness, almost like a "new" person. Or, perhaps, it would be more appropriate to say I am beginning to feel almost like the person I was before schizophrenia interrupted my life, only older, wiser and with better coping strategies. I have sometimes spoken in this blog of how I felt I had lost part of myself through my illness, as if my emotional life had virtually shut down. It seems now that it is back. I have many new friends and feel contented with that.
To end on a final warm and fuzzy note, when I was about to leave the Bennett Centre (where our group is held) on Tuesday, one member of staff came up to me, said "Hello, David" and took my hand and shook it. With this simple little gesture, he made me feel like a respected individual. Long gone are the days of me and staff members being seemingly at each others' throats, and I might say that I feel so welcome at the centre that it almost feels as if I am a member of staff. Indeed, it is often remarked by some of the student nurses who sometimes come to our group that you can't tell the difference between the service users and the facilitators. In this case, it seems, the loonies may well and truly have taken over the asylum.
It can sometimes take years to overcome illnesses of the like we in the group have had, but all that I have mentioned above gives me an overwhelming feeling that, finally, we might have made it.        


dcrelief said…
Hi David.

I enjoyed this post so much. It's heart warming and encouraging. What a treasure your group is.

Peace and contentment,
David said…
Dear Dixie,
Thank you for your kind words.
Our little group is, indeed, a treasure, and has given us all a valuable social outlet, taught us about our illneses and coping skills, and allowed us to develop our own skills and knowledge.
And I must also thank you for putting up a link to our site on your own blog page- so you have helped us along the way too!
Wishing you all the very best,

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