Your Voice

The Recovery South West team consisted of Michael, Pat, Julie, Sarah and Aileen (all shown above).

Your Potential, Your voice, Your Way

Recovery South West (RSW) was set up in 2010 as a Community Interest Company by a group of people with lived experience and professionals from the South West.

Their objective was to promote story telling by people recovering from mental illness to:

  • Have a way to share their unique stories and learn from others
  • Increase their hope and enhance wellbeing
  • Strengthen their own sense of identity
  • Recover and develop resilience
  • Promote awareness to the general public
  • Reduce stigma around mental health
  • Give hope to others experiencing similar conditions

Having set up the project it is now time to pass on the baton to an organisation who can continue with the vision. As WATCH have the infrastructure and resources to support and develop the programme Recovery South West are pleased that they have agreed to take on the project and continue to promote story telling as an aid to recovery.

RSW were supported by a number of organisations during the development of this project and these include Awards for All, Second Step, local NHS Trusts and PCTS and the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Chard WATCH CIC would like to thank Recovery South West for this amazing opportunity and we look forward to continue sharing your stories on their behalf.

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

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Jo’s Carpentry Course for Beginners trip

A few weeks ago, volunteer Jo Hunt left the project for a couple Thursdays to participate in a carpentry course for beginners. As the WATCH workshop gets busier and the members more ambitious with their ideas, she felt it would be a good idea to improve her skills and confidence.

During her absence, she built this nifty little bench and  learnt that the best way to fix a broken heart was to never leave us again. (We missed her far too much.)

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Richard’s Coffee and Walnut Sponge

One of our member's, Richard, tried their hand at baking this week (Thursday 30th July) and cooked what Project Day Leader Gemma Adams has described as "the yummiest cake she has ever eaten." Coming from someone famous for their sweet tooth, that is quite the compliment!

So eager was Richard to don his oven mitts, he rang first thing to see if he could get started immediately. It was, however, far closer to breakfast than lunch time!

With support from volunteers Mike and Alan (who were running the Kitchen) Richard started his culinary masterpiece just after the last curry of the day was dished out, leaving it ready to be served during our regular 'Tea and Talk' session -- a session that proved so popular, the cake vanished in seconds and nobody got a picture of the finished product as a result!

My personal excuse is, it's difficult to take photographs in between bites of delicatessen. But there's always next time of course. Inspired by the oven hot reception of his efforts, Richard is already talking about the next challenge. A bake off perhaps? Making everyone a winner!

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Poems by Lynsey

Slim Gym

I've joined the gym I'm in my peek,
I want to have a good physique.
It's now been months of training,
Not that I'm complaining.
I've worked so hard to get into shape,
Even if it meant having less on my plate.
But I can see I'm getting slimmer,
Which to me makes me a winner.
I've kept to a routine everyday,
At this rate I will fade away.
Now at last my figure is trim,
I'm proud to say I am Slim Gym.


Keep Calm

The world can be so serious,
Life can be so delirious.
You never know what to expect, or what to achieve,
But sit back, relax and gently breathe.
There's nothing to fear if things don't go to plan,
Just think of lovely things around us,
So far and so near and just do what you can.

- Lynsey Arscott (was Harris)

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You Mugs!

We’ve all been there. You want a hot drink but you’re with company and it would be rude not ask if they want one too. But now, instead of only worrying about the social stigma that comes with a selfish cuppa, you’ve got a laundry list the length of your arm detailing everything from the spoonful’s of sugar somebody takes to their preferred drinking temperature.

So, to lighten the stress of the mind (but not the tea tray), the WATCH project members decided to paint personalised mugs covering their beverages of choice – allowing them to remember what they’re favourite volunteer has in their tea, with ease. (Golden age members may remember this idea from past implementation.)

… Never mind that the paint we used wasn’t suitable for washing, these were a lot of fun to do!

The plan is to try again in the near future with more suitable materials, but I for one, am going to continue storing pens in mine.

- Matthew.

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Three Poems by Jackie

 

[I have typed these out but feel Bryony and Jackie's work needs to be uploaded in it's original form. Punctuation and form are a crucial part of self-expression, and to edit or tweak their creative efforts myself would only take away from them. A website isn't normally the best representation of these raw artisan, so I have included my attempts below. Please forgive any artistic license! - Matt.]

Summer Garden

Seagulls dance on the summer breeze
Sounding a happy cry
Butterflies perch on the buddleia
Wings on lilac, against a summer sky
Blackbirds dash for the rowan berries
Swaying in the tree
Bees float over the lavender
So much nature to see
Plopping sound of fish and frogs
Living in the summer pond
Ginger cat lurking in the hedge
Seeking birds of which he’s fond
Two pigeons flying overhead
They’re looking down at me
Honeysuckle lights the hedge
So much nature to see.

My Pregnancy

Baby growing inside of me
Fills me with hope and joy
Makes me feel youthful
Are you a girl or a boy?
Maternal bond
Feeling excited for now and beyond
Hearing your heartbeat
Vibrant and loud
Keep on beating little heart
You are making me proud.

The Flame

It is getting dark
I cannot see
Put a light in front of me
Ignite a flame
Lead my way
Move towards a brighter day
Fuel the flame
Keep it strong
I need to see it burning on
It is dimming
Light it bright
Shining on throughout the night
Keep the faith
Watch it gleam
As it flickers, hold the dream.

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A Collection of Poems by Bryony

 

[I have typed these out but feel Bryony and Jackie's work needs to be uploaded in it's original form. Punctuation and form are a crucial part of self-expression, and to edit or tweak their creative efforts myself would only take away from them. A website isn't normally the best representation of these raw artisan, so I have included my attempts below. Please forgive any artistic license! - Matt.]


Making Progress

Your still here regardless
and those challenges go on
You’ve overcome the worst of them
Survivals made you strong
You’ll question every motive
from others old and new
And you’ll analyse every memory
with a different point of view
Some days your invincible
others just a wreck
healing is a process
like a walk becomes a trek

Those mountains will get smaller
but still take you by surprise
3 steps forward 2 steps back
Now done with open eyes
Past trials have empowered you
if you remember to reflect
And slowly life gets easier
from your vantage point, aspect


Karma

My heart was full of courage
Alcohol inspired
I sent that Facebook message
As my child so desired.

That night of carefree, happy thoughts
I’d finally been strong
Crashed down to earth with sunrise
realisation, I’d been wrong.

Fear and panic overwhelmed me
What if he came round
I became that helpless being
Who’s silence gave him ground.

My childishness annoyed me
I’m no longer 9 years old
One moment standing tall + strong
How had I been so bold.

I looked back with trepidation
To find that I’d been blocked
My words had had an impact
And his cosy life was rocked

Now I carry on divided
As an adult that’s been wild
but I recognise the strength it took
That night to voice my child.

Remember life goes on regardless
I’ve some turmoil left unspoke
To my inner self some difference
Small courage is no joke.


Purpose

Thinking thinking overmuch
my mind has gone too mush
My reason for existing
Lost in that thinking crush

Till this moment, just a half life
Lived happy to extreme
Fighting inner demons
The world just saw my dream

And suddenly awakening
There must be more than
Than challenge after challenge
Waiting deaths long final kiss

So now I’m on a mission
To discover the new me
Someone I never was before
No judgements, set me free.

I’m sure I have a reason
A tale that I can tell
to give courage to some others
on that dark trip out of hell


Trying Again

Your sure you have it sorted
Supressing all those fears
Kicking panics restless butt
holding back your tears.

You bounce along quite happy
As light shines on this day
positive smiles, momentum
It’s a game we all must play.

Your coping with this project
You’ve set yourself this task
Your out, about and dealing
Life cannot shread this mask

You know that you can do this
Determination on a high
then a minor blip will throw you
And your confidence will die

Sheer determination
resolve will get you through
but digging deep to find it
Seems just too much for you

Past memories of triumphs
no recall at the time
This panics far too potent
In lives like yours and mine.

But afterwards a moment
You remember times before
When you overcame this crisis
And you knew you could do no more.


Reflections + Recollections

Shadows on the water
Steam that filled the air
droplets falling in the bath
It feels like I’m not there

I look down upon this picture
not a teardrop in my eye
A numbness had enveloped me
No strength to even cry.

So like a stringless puppet
I complied with every move
Not thinking of a single thing
No voice to disapprove.

The bathroom light was glareing
but the darkness welcome made
It swallowed up my wholeness
left my body as a slave

Vulnerable in every sense
without the will to care
I wanted him to kill me
but I knew he wouldn’t dare.

And so this process carried on
I motioned every day
Wishing I’d be found out
too ashamed to say.

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A Poem by Val Board

Walk through the door
At Young People's Centre
To be greeted by a friendly face
Could these people help me
Happy and smiling working together

Please take me into your group I say
Reception is the role I will be given
On a Thursday at eleven
Join in the activities if you want
Ever cautious I say No, let me see how things go
Come on they say you will not be judged
Together we will get you through

First a talk with a volunteer
Round the building I am taken
Interested in the things I see
Excited I say this is the place for me
Never look back, just look ahead
Doing something positive instead of crying
Sorry it is only on one day of the week

- Val Board

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Khandi

My rescue greyhound was trained from her birth to race and earn money for her owners. She knew nothing else. This was all she knew for the first four years of her life. Still young, she was thought to have lost her usefulness and was put in a rescue centre. I was looking for a greyhound as a pet and Khandi came into my life. She knew nothing about freedom and I helped her to find it. Today she races around the fields thoroughly enjoying her life and comes back to me with her tail wagging with happiness.

Watching her playing I started to think about my life. I was thought to be a write off, no good, have no purpose and I was shut away in a mental hospital for fifteen years. When I did leave, the world was frightening after being institutionalize for so long. Over the years I worked hard to be a part of the life outside. The freedom I yearned for came and I now enjoy a wonderful life. Freedom is so precious and it is wonderful when it is used correctly. My life has changed so much and as I take Khandi over the fields to enjoy her freedom I am looking on thrilled to have mine. Never give up and never give in to your circumstances. Freedom in its many forms is just around the corner. I was given up as a lost cause and if I believed that, I would have been. I wanted my life back and got it proving so many people wrong. I had a goal I intended to reach and that was getting my freedom.

My life is wonderful now and is more complete now I have Khandi. I see each new day as a blessing and I am excited by the opportunities it brings. I am so grateful to have the life I have now. My past is my past. I live for the day and have hope for tomorrow.

- Joyce Passmore

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The Flight of My Life

In may 2011 there I was roughly 3 weeks old, not properly dressed and was minding my own business, snug and warm in my nest when big brother gave me a shove out into the big wide world. It was a frightening experience falling into a cheerless no man's land that seemed endless, and landed on a very hard surface. I was so scared and frightened, and my tweets were not heard by anyone.

It must have been several hours as I layed there cold and lonely and very hungry. Suddenly I felt two hands soft and warm lift me up out of the coldness, by this time I felt very weak, but secure. I was layed into a warm bed and given food and went into a deep deep sleep.

Over the days I became stronger and life seemed to be kind to me, bathed and fed several times a day, I had new feathers and my wings got stronger. Time passed and my friends the hands held and cherished me through those scarey times. I was then taken to a large room where I was taught to fly over several days. I felt real good, but I knew this had to end.

One day my hands picked me up and a voice said " come on little Tiddles its time to go out into the big wide world to meet your friends. God will look after you( and he did) Tiddles flew off into the blue sky to freedom, BUT returned 4 hours later very hungry and tired.

The year is now 2012 and the month of August, he is still arriving on my head for his early morning breakfast of cornflakes, he tries to get there before his mates arrive.

Bless him, remember there is always hope in this world NEVER GIVE UP.

This is a true story of a little sparrow that was rescued and still returns every day for food to the owners who cared for him. He is free and brings his friends around and has now a lady friend

- Daph

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