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.

Thursday Project: Jewelry on the Art Table

One of our members, Jackie, randomly got in touch via social media to let us know about her experience on the Art table recently: "I really enjoyed jewelry making at WATCH last week!"

She also attached these pictures, and has given us permission to share them online. Thank you for the message, Jackie! We're really pleased you enjoyed yourself. 😀

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feedback like this is always super nice to see and hear, by the way, so we encourage all of our members to reach out and do the same. Send us your pictures, writing, or whatever your creative expression of choice is to Facebook or Twitter here and here -- and if they're suitable, we'll try to get them on the website as soon as we're able!

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Self-Management & Peer Workshop Exercise: Chard

WATCH has been very busy delivering self-management and peer workshops in our contract with Somerset Mental Wellbeing Service recently -- and feedback from these courses has been very positive!

Attached below are drawings from an exercise some of the Chard attendees participated in. We hope you enjoy reading them. 🙂

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Stain Glass Painted Jam Jars (on the Art Table)

“I really enjoyed the art table this week as we did stain glass painting for the first time, turning old jam jars into decorative pieces for multi-use purposes.” – Sarah L.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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!"

 

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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. 😀

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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

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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. 😉

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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.

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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. 🙂

 

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A Poem

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

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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

 

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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

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Debbie Jackson – ‘My Name Is Sabine’ Review

Sabine

I went to Taunton on Saturday 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

 

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

 


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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