Wednesday 1 August 2018

What a Week That Was!

I’m writing this at AMT Coffee in Newcastle’s Central Station. I am meeting a friend in an hour or so but right now it’s Marty time.

Just over a week ago I attended Newcastle Recovery College Collective’s leaving party at Broadacre House. The college is moving to new accommodation in the autumn and there was a distinct “end of an era” feel about the event which amply demonstrated how important ReCoCo is to those who use it. I had a fabulous time listening to the karaoke (Vikki you were awesome!) and even got up to dance at one point. Thanks to everyone for making me feel so welcome.

The following day I volunteered for Time to Change at Newcastle Pride. This was the third time I’d done so and as usual I had a great time catching up with old friends (hi Carol, Angela, Aimee, and Amanda) and making new ones (hi Nicki!)

We were there to engage with folk visiting the event, to share information and answer questions about Time to Change, and to help encourage a more open approach to mental health. I lost count of the conversations I had but one or two in particular left an impression on me. As I told a friend later:

For me, what makes it so worthwhile is when I am talking to someone who might not be used to sharing about their mental health and I comment or ask a question and they are like “yes!” In that moment there is this really genuine human connection. That happened a few times today.

Monday was a big day for me. It was my debut appearance on the Executive Team call at work. I was there to present the mental health initiatives I’ve been helping develop with the rest of our fledgling mental health team. I’d got myself all stressy about the technology side of attending the call, but thanks to several colleagues especially my fab boss Judith, and Cheryl who let me impersonate her for the occasion, it all went smoothly.

My main objective was to gain approval for the company to sign up to Time to Change’s Employer Pledge Scheme. It says a lot about our leadership team that my recommendation was approved unanimously. I’m looking forward to taking the initiative forward in the weeks to come.

Outside of work my week has been rich and full with phone calls and chats and face-to-face conversations with friends near and far. After a couple of weeks’ break I’ve also got back to my writing, with a new article on bipolar anger for bp Magazine. In something of a departure for me I have been able to draw on a wide range of experiences generously shared by others. It has broadened my knowledge and awareness and the final article will be far richer for it. Anger is a fascinating topic and I’m already considering a possible follow-up article (thanks Barry for that idea!)

So yes, it has been a busy week! I wonder what the next one will bring?!


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