Blog John, Mental Health

Our Tribe Pt2. (John)

Elle has been having real problems with her sleeping pattern. Eventually with treatment she did manage to get a good 7 hours sleep. She told me that all the other patients on the ward were delighted to hear this when she awoke. That really made me smile.

I’m glad to report that I got another text from Elle this morning and she’s had another good 7 hrs sleep. Thank you so much for all your messages of encouragement, please keep them coming. Although she is dealing with a lot her humour remains intact. She tells me she is explaining everything in her usual eloquent style to the support team. Apparently the nurses want the Occupational Therapist to visit and find her some stuff to keep her occupied. Her response to me about this is to crack some jokes about perhaps treating this visit like a spa break. She describes herself as “Adequate psychonaut.” I’ve just googled Psychonaut…here’s the definition…

Psychonaut is a person who explores activities by which altered states of consciousness are induced and utilized for spiritual purposes or the exploration of the human condition, including shamanism, lamas of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, sensory deprivation, and both archaic and modern users of entheogenic substance.

So that all sounds quite positive.

If you read the first part of this blog you’ll notice I’ve changed the title from Your Tribe to Our Tribe. That’s because I realise everybody that reads this may not necessarily be within the psychiatric service users body that these posts are about.

So for part two I’d just like to quickly chat about a great experience I had this week. I’ve been running comedy workshops for budding Stand Up comedians for about nine years now. I work with Youth Theatre, local universities and the general public at large. This week I did my first workshop with a bunch of fellow mental health service users. It probably comes as no surprise that it was one of the most rewarding I’ve ever done. You’re always a little bit tentative prior to a workshop. Mine goes on for three hours, and although the experience is generally positive, you’re never quite sure how folk are going to take to it. I’m delighted to say everybody seemed to really enjoy the experience. For me highlights were getting people to laugh who told me at the start they’d lost the ability to do so, getting people to get up in front of a group and chat who told me at the start they didn’t think they could, getting folk to crack jokes about some of their more personal/negative experiences and in general just having a right good laugh with a bunch of people who have seen and been through the mill (Me included).

I think this particular workshop was therapeutic for me too. It’s great to share time and company with others who can really understand what the experience of having an acute mental health condition is like.

We’re going to follow up this workshop with those who wish to performing a stand up comedy show in front of a real live audience. I think that should be a positive experience for all involved. I’ll keep you posted as to how things develop. I’d like to say a huge thanks to Launchpad mental health charity for giving me the opportunity to do this.

As we’re approaching the weekend here’s a wee tune to give us all a lift.


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