Passing Strangers


Mr Fox

Mr Fox

Started this entry and lost three paragraphs immediately. How infuriating is that!!

Well, as I was starting – I met with Nicola Bate today for the last time.

As the woman who has worked with me for two years to adjust my identity toward self acceptance, embrace of my womanhood, ego-stabilisation and recognition that ‘no man is an island – nor is any woman’ and, even, that this was a lesson I needed to learn: it was not an occasion I necessarily looked forward to. She has become my ‘internalised mother figure’ and it’s always nice if you have an external figure to attach to your internal registers.

Still, I have memorised her image quite well, I doubt I’ll ever forget her face or her gait, indeed, I’ll never forget anything much about her. To her I owe my entirely novel state of wellbeing.

It is an achievement that would not have been possible, however, without an entire network of friends and associates in my life echoing her acceptance and positive regard.

Is this the point at which I list all of the people I regard as contributing to my recovery, indeed, not mere recovery but progress toward what Mike Smith and Marion Aslan define as ‘Thriving’?

Is it too soon to make such an announcement? After all, I’m sitting in a kitchen that defies description in any civilised terminology – my entire home is reminiscent of anyone’s concept of ‘hell on earth’ – boxes, bin bags full of books and clothes, portfolios, canvases, ‘people’ every inch of the place – it’s barely safe to walk to the front door, so likely is it that I’ll fall over something leaning in my way. Loft insulation wonderful, preparation for it – nightmare!

But also – preparation for it: miraculous: down fell so much art work I thought I’d binned many years ago.. Of course the larger part was binned and this is merely the smaller stuff the ephemeral stuff that was easy to chuck above myself out of sight. Still, it’s been a treasure of wonder to me that I can only feel deeply grateful for. How to proceed from here, though, is another question. My father’s will to furnish me with sufficient fund’s to see me out of financial distress after his death was an unexpected privilege I still haven’t got over, any more than I will ever get over, past, or want to move from his words and look on the last day I spent with him, five days before his death. The cash is not in sight as yet, however, and won’t be for some time. The house needs to be cleared, cleaned and repaired before that can occur.

I’m still accepting incapacity benefit/esa and ‘therapeutic earnings”supervised’ by a woman who seldom offers any supervision, and I remain in the dark regarding how or when a more dignified alternative to this plight will arise as an unmissable opportunity.

Yet, such an opportunity is what I have some sense is absolutely predictable for me within the year.

So, again – is now the time to announce my transition to health or is now the time to remain a little wary of such open optimism?

On balance I’ll stick with just a little wariness. Whilst also thinking it’s high time I thanked endless characters from the University of Birmingham – Jerry, Maureen, Kris, Ann & Alex, Dee, and from MHRN, Sonia, and Paul McDonald, for a culture of acceptance and tolerance in relation to me that has made a big difference to my life in recent years. To Paul Roberts and Gordon Parsons, Becky and Bella I owe my sense of security in possessing a local friendship circle and to Glenn Miranda I am ever grateful for his unswervable faith in MissionMiraculus. He, I and Gordon alone, I suspect, remain enthusiastic adherents to the mission and values informing that eccentric little group. It’s never been smaller or less active, officially than it is today – other than that ’til 2009 it had remained effectively a concept in my head and a few bits of paper since 2000 – so it’s made progress since then.

It surfaced in my mind today after seeing Nicola and having my eyebrows threaded (not simultaneously). I sauntered into Cafe Nero, my favourite Redditch coffee bar (there’s a really cute little girl who works there, same age as my own daughters, and I tend to buy her a chocolate each time I go there, though today, after the expense of the threading, she had to go without). I sat down and within minutes the owner of the cola on the table I was at appeared and sat beside me. His name was Mr Fox and he was 26 years old and he suffered from the kind of restless, nervous leg movements that aren’t unusual amongst young men. It transpired that he has suffered from mental health distress and that he attended Kings Norton Boys School. I add in these details because, if anyone recognises this description I’d like you to urge him to come along to Suresearch and find some peer support in Birmingham. In the absence of any organised peer support in Redditch it seems the best thing to do.

Suresearch has a website and the address and directions to arrive at the right destination will be on the site. I go to these meetings so he won’t arrive and find himself isolated in any way.

It made me think. Maybe I need to localise some of my energies and organise some kind of peer support group in Redditch that isn’t paternalistic and boring as hell but appeals to young people being casually written off by a cynical social infrastructure.

That’s it for now.

I need to brush my hair and dash along to Birmingham to get another hepatitis jab for my honorary research contract.

Toodle Pip,

Janie

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