Laughter therapy: Liberation!

The WATCH Project played host to a laughter workshop run by Denise recently. One of the members who participated (Maureen) collected her thoughts on paper and was happy to share them on the website today: 

“After a leisurely lunch (slow because so many bits I had to pick out)! Already some of the others were assembling in comfortable chairs at the other end. I didn’t mind sitting in the middle of two people on a sofa to do that, hopefully I could “lip read.” Nevertheless, I feel apprehensive as I had never been able to hear a talk.

However, I was told, right at the beginning that the speaker knew me. I was amazed – but it was true. She had heard about me from Simon Heyes when he was a resident at Swallowed cliffe. She remembered the morning we set off to the Brighton Mind Conference – Simon with sixty photocopies draped over his arm – Our first 1st S.U.S newspaper.
But on the talk – with 100% audience participation, I felt excited – Somebody I had known!

Ho, ho, ho hah – and we all stood up – eager to respond. Expelling air seemed to exhilarate me and I felt eager to follow the next direction. Shake hands – it felt good to feel the warmth of other people’s hands and shaking them about really made me feel light-hearted and free as a bird.

Then she produced a soft yellow laughing ball and I couldn’t help laughing with it and feel uplifted with abandonment. I didn’t care about making a fool of myself. The laughter was infectious.

Then we chatted in gibberish like small children – crazy but infectious. I didn’t feel embarrassed – free as a bird and didn’t hesitate to converse in talking absolute rubbish!

We then dipped our hands into a bag, covering them with an imaginary powder. It felt good, even though nothing was there!

We then blew bubbles from tiny polythene pots, enjoying with wonder as they flew in the air.

Seeing Denise with an enormous “bubble maker” we looked around with wonder, no embarrassment or inhibitions, enjoying seeing each other totally relaxed – feeling a release of tension in each other.

I watched several latecomers walk in – the tension in their faces. I felt sorry they had missed the best talk. However, no straining to hear. Her voice came through loud and clear – a happy voice and I felt like communicating – the barriers had been lifted!”

 

Artwork by Carolyn

One of our members, Carolyn, made this beautiful piece of work on the art table the other week and wanted to share it with you all. 😀

Our Latest Folly Farm Trip

 

 

 

 

 

On 10th April a small group of members and volunteers made our regular quarterly visit to Folly Farm on the Blackdown Hills. Johnathan runs the farm on an ecological basis, allowing hedgerows to grow and encourage birds, and digging a large pond to attract wildlife.

We took part in a number of activities, walking through the woods, making clay models, cooking flatbread and popcorn, and making butter with wild garlic.

A great day was had, with fun and good company. Many thanks to Johnathan, Emma and others who always make it such a success.

The next visit is on the 10th July, btw!

– Richard Miller

Button Mosaic: Picture Update!

If you’re not familiar with the Button Mosaic we’ve been working on, I highly recommend you check out the earlier post here. Christine and everyone have clearly been very busy, and the change in just a few weeks is quite remarkable!

Keep refreshing this page for any future updates. 😉

Joyce Passmore: The Light In My Mind

“When l experienced long term care in the mental health system at the age of 13 years it was a most frightening and confusing time. The 3 weeks of hospital life I was promised lasted for 15 years in the old mental health system.

When I say I became lost in a system that is exactly true. My days were arranged for me. My life became others to control. I lost my identity. I had no rights and to ask questions about what was happening to me was frowned upon. It felt I was being punished. The Victorian hospital gave out harsh Victorian treatments.

Bit by bit I got sucked into the institutional regime I was forced to live. I was surrounded by people who had given up on life itself but I fought hard to get my life back that had been taken away from me. I kept focused on my aim that one day l would get my life and freedom back. It took years but I made it!

It then took years to adjust to life outside of the institution. I knew I never belonged in the hospital but I now felt I did not fit in to the life outside either. People terrified me. It was a horrible feeling. I persevered and though it was hard l found my place in the world outside. It was officially recognised as medical neglect. I was asked by the medical profession to write my story . I was now totally free from all medical help where my mental health was concerned.

My book The Light in my Mind came out in 2010 and has been accepted well going all over the world. I have a wonderful life now. I have given many talks on my life and the lessons learnt and would be very willing to share my experiences with you. Thank you.”

– Joyce Passmore

“Everybody at Chard WATCH has been very well supported by Joyce over the years. She has contributed the sales from her books to us, and her own chosen child charity. Joyce has given us all a lot of hope, and given so much back to help those whose lives suffer from mental health issues.

I have personally seen Joyce give hopeful, inspiring talks on her experience going through the mental health system, and if you would like Joyce and WATCH to come to your club, organisation or project to speak about her life and our brand of peer support work please send an email to: information.WatchProject@gmail.com

– Julie Matthews (Chard WATCH Manager)

Joyce’s book brings hope to its readers. Her faith and perseverance encourages so many. All proceeds from her book goes to charity. Joyce’s book “The Light in my Mind” costs £4.00 and with postage and packing the total costs is £6.00.

Button Mosaic

If you’ve visited a hospital in Somerset over the last couple of years, we’re sure you’ve noticed one of the many excellent Mosaics the WATCH Project has on display there — so this time we’ve decided to produce something a little different!

Led by WATCH attendee, Christine, we’re using buttons (not tiles this time) to create a peer-led design our members feel helps emphasise the Peer Support we provide each other. So not only does this creative effort provide a helpful message, it’s a great example of peer support in action because we’re making it together!

Please watch this space for regular updates on the mosaic’s development. 🙂

 

A Poem

[This was a beautiful poem written by an attendee at one of our workshops. :-)]

I’m going to a Peer Support Meeting
I won’t know what to say
Its on from 11am to one thirty
What a waste of a day

All these people here have done something
What have I done with my life?
I met Peter when I was 16 nearly 17
And I’ve always been Peters wife

Peter was a friend, lover and soulmate
At times we were together 24/7
I’m only here to bide my time
Then I will be with Peter in heaven

I’ve lost confidence and my motivation
In my head I’ve got lots of things to do
Knit, Crochet, Pompoms and card making
I start but I never follow things through

I’ve got beads, buttons, toggles and tassels
Paints, crayons, card and super glue
Jewellery kits, doilies and coloured paper
Whatever am I going to do?

But something has made me think at this meeting
I was so anxious when I stopped through the door
But no-one looking around is better than I am
So in April I’m going to give that craft club a go

So Peter, you’ll have to wait a bit longer
But it doesn’t mean I’ve stopped loving you
Something has changed and got me thinking
Before I die I’ve got lots of things to do

So I just want to thank everyone here
I misjudged you before I gave you a chance
I might never see any of you in the future
But I feel now I can go out and dance

– Judy

Time to Talk Event 2018

I’m sure you were there and know this already (but if you weren’t, you were sorely missed) The WATCH Project took part in the Time to Change event happening across the country on February the 1st 2018.

Our Rugby Club doors were open to the public, who were encouraged to come in and talk to us all about Mental Health in a continued effort to break down the stigma. We’ve done it a few years now and it’s always proven to be an enjoyable experience, in spite of the heavy subject matter (which is kind of the point) and this year was no exception! We had hot drinks, good chat, a wide variety of biscuits, and friendly conversation with people who entered as strangers and left as friends.

In attendance were our members, volunteers (in some very fetching t-shirts) and a house full of special guest speakers, old friends and the local press too!

In fact, Richard, Natalie and Matthew spoke on BBC Somerset radio with Claire Carter live in the morning and Matthew Faulkner pre-recorded in the evening. You can listen to those broadcasts below:

Part One:

Part Two:

The Chard & Ilminster also did a wonderfully detailed report on the day here and provided us with the header image found above.

I’m running out of adjectives to describe what a success the whole thing was, so I will close this post by thanking everybody for their support on the day (whether you showed up, helped out, or braved those big scary doors for the first time) and I encourage you all to keep an eye on this space for our next event! We hope to see you all again soon.

– M@thew

 

XMAS WATCH

XMAS WATCH – by Richy at WATCH

ITS THE WATCH XMAS PARTY
ANOTHER YEAR HAS PASSED
FOOD AND FUN JUST LIKE THE LAST

FRIENDS WE’VE NOT SEEN
OR HEARD FOR A WHILE
TO SEE THEM AGAIN
THAT JUST MAKES ME SMILE

BUT REMEMBER THAT XMAS
IS ABOUT HELPING OTHERS IN NEED
THE LONELY, THE HOMELESS WHO MAY NEED A FEED

THE WEAK AND THE OLD
THE WORRIED AND NEEDY
LETS HAVE A THOUGHT FOR THEM
AND NOT BE SO GREEDY

SO IF YOU’RE IN HIGH SPIRITS AT THE WATCH TODAY
AND SOMEONE LOOKS SAD, THEN DONT WALK AWAY

SIT DOWN WITH THEM IF THEY NEED TO TALK IN YOUR EAR
BEFORE YOU GO OFF AND HAVE YOUR MINCE PIES AND BEER

Read by Richy at the WATCH XMAS Party

Debbie Jackson – ‘My Name Is Sabine’ Review

Sabine

I went to Taunton on Saturday [the 6th of February] to see the exhibition that has been advertised at WATCH. I was not sure what to expect. When I got there I was surprised at the emotions I felt. I seem to be able to get a lot out of art, dance, music etc. And connect to my inner self this way. I found myself really connecting with her story especially one particular painting of almost being on a roller-coaster. I felt like my life is like this. I have got in contact with her to find out more.

– Debbie Jackson