January 31, 2010
Last night I slept out on the streets of Woking and let me tell you, IT WAS COLD!
I felt like a bit of a fraud to be honest because we were SO wrapped up, 2 pairs of everything (including sleeping bags) and that’s not the way that it happens in real life.
The point of the exercise was to raise awareness of homeless- specifically in Woking. Did it work?… I’m not sure yet but it certainly opened my eyes.
My friend and I took part in an event, organised by the Ypod , the local press came down so fingers crossed we will be in the papers next week.
We met up at a local Church- which was open for us all night with tea, coffee and soup, we were with a group of friendly people and, if the weather had been really bad, my friends car was moments away and we could have driven back to our real lives. As it was it was freezing but dry and I spent my time chatting, tweeting and texting. Being alone on the streets without the preparation, technology and friends that I had would make the experience utterly dreadful, isolating and frightening to say the least.
I didn’t feel able to ask people for sponsorship because it seems thats all I do these days but I did think a great deal about the real homelessness issues, which ever town, city or space they find themselves in. Homelessness is not an easy option, you must be feeling pretty low to consider sleeping on the streets and taking your chances against other, perhaps more experienced, perhaps dangerous and probably hurt, isolated and scared people too. There are so many risks once you are homeless and it is SO tough to get help, once you are homeless it seems very tough to get back into the real world as you are invisable to the benefits system, most of the public and you are vulnerable to the weather, crime, abuse and mental and physical illness.
As I crawled back into my bed this morning to watch Andy Murray lose the final of the Melbourne Cup I could not imagine homelessness being my life and I will certainly be happy to do more to raise awareness of this issue again.
Keep safe and well all.
June 17, 2009
As I mentioned last night in my very random blog, a few weeks ago I had a panic attack . It wasn’t my first and probably won’t be my last but, on this occassion I had a bit of a wake up call and following a few sleepless nights decided that I wanted to deal with this head on and I booked myself in to see a private counsellor.
I was really lucky in that I found someone that I felt I clicked with first try (well, second try really- I went to see someone following a similar episode around 8 years ago, it turned out to be the dad of a girl I went to school with- I felt totally alkward and it was a total non-starter) and I have now had four sessions which are going really well and I am feeling a 100% better which is brilliant.
BUT…this got me to thinking;
When I had my panic attack I was not alone, I was with my husband and, while I did not really want to go through everything that was running through my over active brain I knew I could have if I had wanted.
If I was a young care leaver I most likely would have been alone in a flat, hostel or B&B and there are few worse things than feeling alone when you badly need support and comfort- where do the thoughts go? Either deep into yourself or into a bottle of white lightening or a line of coke.
I picked up the phone in the morning and I called my mum- I spoke to her on the phone for ages and she was really supportive.
If I was a young care leaver I may not have had a supportive parent/carer to call. I might mot have had any credit to make that call or, I might have been so used to putting up barriers and showing the world how much I don’t care and how able I am to ‘cope’ I might not have felt able to tell someone how alone and vulnerable I felt.
I went up to my mother in laws and spent the day chilling on her sofa getting lots of TLC, tea and sympathy. I dozed on the sofa while she carried on around me and that was a really comforting feeling.
Had I been a young care leaver my ‘networks’ may not have been this positive.
I was able to rearrange my day so that I didn’t miss anything important. I was aware that I needed to call in sick and re-organise any tasks I had planned.
If a young care leaver had wanted to crawl back under their duvet and lock themselves away for the day would they have had the phone credit to call and re-arrange appointments? In my experience when our care leavers have any situation that knocks them off balance they might disengage for a while- not pick up the phone, not attend appointments, not go and sign on for benefits…
Most importantly perhaps, I did not need to join the NHS waiting list to see a counsellor- I physically felt that I could NOT wait to see someone so I decided to go private and pay.
If I had been a young care leaver….do I even need to start this sentence?
This is quite an extreme example, food for thought if you like.
Panic attacks, stress, anxiety or depression don’t affect all young care leavers- not by a long way. Lots of care leavers are doing really really well (one of my case load called me yesterday to say that she had achieved an average of a 1st class in her first end of year uni exams- elated is not the word) but, this is just another example of an area where we need to offer more support. I do not think that this support should be exclusive to care leavers by the way- there are thousands of vulnerable and marginalised people of all ages in our society that need support in many different areas.
Where do we start? By highlighting these issues so we can start to come up with ideas which can be translated into positive actions.
Have a lovely day now!
June 16, 2009
A few weeks ago I had a huge and horrid panic attack…my body is telling me to slow down I thought so I joined a pilates class… I had session number four this evening and I like to think I have given it a fair old crack of the whip but I have to tell you; it’s not for me.
The lady who takes the class is lovely, and quite a looker to be honest- very Susan Hampshire but it is just too slow for me all tiny weeny controlled movements and slow lateral breaths- hum.
I have to pretend to understand the whole idea of rocking until you are in neutral- WHAT?!
Nod when she asks if I am engaging my core to the 5th notch of my imaginary hipster belt,
and smile in a knowing way when she says ‘ can you feel your pelvic floor reaching level 3 of the lift’. No quite frankly I can not!
I am more of a run until you think you might puke or faint kind of gal so I think I will finish the next to sessions and get back to my good old fashioned gym sessions. I have signed up to the marathon for next year so need to get back into some kind of fitness routine asap really- Have bought myself a book on running so surely my fitness levels are soon to go through the roof (whether I read the book or not!)
Thats that off my chest then- first non work blog done and dusted- just a bit of a paractise for my next awe inspiring rant.