Free at Last! Free at Last! Thank God Almighty, I am Free at Last!

I have now been officially discharged from mental health services. They have decided that I am now well enough to go my own way and seek my fortune. Or something like that, anyway. It was at a care plan meeting at my local residential unit yesterday that I was informed of this decision. I was asked how I felt about this, to which I replied that I was "OK" about it. What I think I really meant was, "Yippee- free at last! free at last! thank God almighty, I am free at last!".
OK, so I'm being a little facetious, and the notion that being under the care of mental health services somehow means that you are not "free" is a bit unfair to them. After all, despite some (significant, to my mind, at least) glitches in my treatment, they have played an instrumental part in my recovery. Since joining the Pathways Group, for example, I only seem to have got better. Being part of the "Lifestyle Project", which was run within the group, also helped me on my way in losing weight, and that has been significant in enhancing my well-being. The social aspect of the help of mental health services has had a significant impact on how I relate to other people, and the many staff I have come to know have been kind and generous in their care. Indeed, they (in particular clinical lead nurse Janet Sigley) seem always to be showering me (and others in the Pathways Group) with praise, and they have taken the time to build on existing abilities and thereby enhance them. I believe this has had a great effect on my mindset, and instead of being so self-critical, I now try to concentrate on all the positives in my life. At the meeting yesterday, for example, Janet gave a glowing assessment of all the things I've been involved with through mental health services, and also an extremely favourable summing up of what I was like as a person.
Although I have been discharged, I will still be allowed to go to the Pathways Group, and will still be involved in other areas of the mental health field. I may, for example, be involved in the training of student nurses, and I was told yesterday that I may be asked to co-author a paper, together with Janet and our consultant psychiatrist, on the "Lifestyle Project" in which I took part, which will be published in a psychiatric journal.
So, not only have mental health services helped me get better, it is also the case that all the things I have been involved with through them may help to impress any prospective employer. As well as my voluntary work, I can mention all the things me and the Pathways Group have achieved, and for that I am extremely grateful.
There is, though, just a sneaky part of me which is glad at what has been decided. Although the positives greatly outweigh them, there have been, of course, certain negative aspects to my involvement with mental health services. They are a long time ago now, but one would hope that the improvements in services I have seen since the inception of my involvement with them continue.
Now, for me, I have to consider life without any further appointments or care plan meetings. But, it's not as if I'm being totally set adrift to cope on my own. Any problems or apparent relapses into illness and all it will take is a 'phone call to fast-track me back into services. And I would just say a great, big thank you to everyone who has helped me on my way to being this well. For me, though, this seems more like a beginning than an end. It seems like the opening of an opportunity, or a possibility. Life, it seems, is like the sea- vast, unplumbed, mysterious. I plan to open out my nets, and pull.


klahanie said…
Dear David,
And thus they have decided you can now be officially discharged from mental health services. If you are truly comfortable with this, then so be it and I applaud you.
And I would of seen no reason as to why your discharge would of potentially seen you not being able to attend the Pathways Group. Thankfully, they do not see any mental health concerns as a prerequisite for you being able to attend and indeed, contribute. That's encouraging. For, no matter what, we are always in some form of ongoing recovery. Pathways is a positive resource for you and the glowing adulation they have for you, is testimony to your notable and no doubt, helpful contribution you make. A contribution that helps others and helps yourself.
My continued support and admiration to you, my good friend. Kind wishes and happy pulling with your open nets. Gee, I hope that sounded okay.
With very kind wishes, your way,
David said…
Dear Gary,
Thanks for your very kind remarks.
And, for some reason, I knew you'd mention my "nets" and "pulling". Oh well, my attempts at being poetic don't always hit the mark!
Seriuosly, though, I think I am truly comfortable with this decision. Happy, in fact. I don't know why, but it just seems liberating not to have to go to any more assessments or appointments. As I say, it sort of feels like I'm "free at last".
Very Best Wishes, your way, Gary.
Your Pal,
dcrelief said…
David, you're most amazing! I feel joyful for your good news. You and that vast sea... with nets to bring on board a mighty treasure. And yet, there is below, and high above to explore. One minute watching the coral swaying in the deep; the next minute, watching a seabird fly to a palm tree... Life is full, life is vast... yours at last... and Thank God!!! ~for you.
David said…
Dear Dixie,
Thank you for your kind and supportive (as always) words.
I think, actually, that the thing I wrote about life being like the sea is taken from the great African-American writer and poet Langston Hughes. I can't be sure of this, but I'm sure that I have heard it somewhere before.
Anyway, I still plan to do a lot of opening of nets, and pulling!
Thanks Dixie.
With Very Best Wishes,
bazza said…
Hi David. Well, this is mighty interesting. In all sorts of ways when we become 'institutionalised' in any way we come to depend on the security of that institution. Such as, being at school or college, living at home with parents, being in the employ of a large organisation, being in jail etc etc. Therefore, it is bound to be a bit scary for you to be out there without a crutch, so to speak; I have no doubt that you are made of the right stuff and will now begin to blossom like the approaching springtime.
As Martin Luther King said at the close of his I Have A Dream speech, "Let Freedom Ring!"
David said…
Dear bazza,
Yes, I think you are very right to say that we come to be a little dependent on any "institution" we are involved with. I think many are a little scared, then, of being discharged from mental health services. As for myself, I'm trying to put a positive spin on this and view it all as an opportunity, rather than a loss.
In some ways, I can't wait to sort of test myself out there in the big, bad world, and see what I can (or can't) achieve.
And thanks for the encouraging words, bazza. No doubt I will update you all of my progress in my new-found "freedom" in this blog.
Very Best Wishes,

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