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May 2013 newsletter final version

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  • 1. May 2013G a t e w a yG a t e w a yG a t e w a yNewsletterUnit 1, 2 Park Hill, Rathmines Road, D 6. E-mail : thegatewaynewsletter@gmail.comMy Personal StoryBy Patrick C.My story of mental ill health is that I didn’t alwayshave mental health problems. As a lad growingup I was always good at sports. Soccer is my favouritesport. I’m a huge Liverpool fan.I dropped out of school quite young, I had no secondlevel education as a young teenager. This affected myself-esteem and then after a while I began drinking andgetting into trouble.“mental health difficulties”This was the start of me experiencing mental healthdifficulties. My first hospitalisation was when I waseighteen years of age. I was really suffering frommental ill health problems. At the time I didn’t have anunderstanding about my condition and how seriousthe difficulties were. I remained in Psychiatric care fornine years.I stopped drinking when I was twenty four and mymental health started to improve. Two years later, stilla patient in the hospital I was crossing the motorwayand I was knocked down. They pronounced me dead atthe scene. I drifted off into a coma on the way to thehospital and remained in the coma for six weeks. I losta lot of blood they pumped thirty eight pints of bloodinto me. I was nine weeks on life support. My left legwas broken in four places, broken pelvis, broken ribs,punctured lung, right foot drop and other injuries . Thishad a huge affect on my mental health. I was fourmonths in hospital. I done physio-therapy. I wasn’tsure if I would ever recover fully and walk again. I wastwo years on crutches and eventually started walkingwithout support.“very challenging”I found it very challenging both physically and mentallyto recover. After a couple of years I began to start liv-ing my life again. I started doing courses. I went backand done the Junior and Leaving Certificate. I’m doinga college course today and live in my own apartmentindependently .“good perception of reality”Today I have a good perception on reality, my percep-tion is not distorted. I am living my life doing things tokeep myself well and not lose touch with reality. I dolots of exercise, including working out in the gym thishelps me stay well. I have certain things I do whichhelps me, including a healthy diet. I know what effectpoor mental health have a person. The loneliness anddespair they feel. This is my personal story. And I hopesomeone can learn or identify with it. And if you’restruggling, there is light at the end the tunnel.HelloYou are very welcome to the May edition of your Gateway newsletter. We hope you read it, and find some-thing of interest to you. The main story this month is by Patrick C, and it tells how he overcame not only poormental health in his life, but also how he overcame horrific physical injuries as well. It is an amazing story ofsheer courage and determination.We are also celebrating our 1st birthday in Parker Hill, Rathmines, so here’s to many more to come and letshope we will all be here for the 2nd.So sit back and enjoy your newsletter, and if you would like write an article, please talk to Ali, Tom, Mary Q,Patrick, AnnMarie, Ciarán, Mary M, Diarmaid or Michelle. We would love to hear from you. -The editors
  • 2. Peer ListeningPeer listening is an activity that two people can dotogether to help each other. You dont need any skillsor training to do it.How it works Two people agree to spend some amount of timetalking to each other.The length of time is up you. Agood time for beginners is 2 minuteseach. Once you agree on the time, decidewho will speak first and set the timer.The first person speaks while thesecond person listens until the time isup. The person speaking can talk about anything theywant. This is your time. You might want to talk aboutsomething thats bothering you, or you might justwant to talk about your favourite sport. The keything to remember is that this time is yours to speakabout anything you wish. The only thing the person listening needs to do islisten, and to keep anything that is said confidential.You may like to nod to show that you are listening,but you do not need to offer any advice to the otherperson. You are giving them the gift of listeningattentively, and that is a valuable gift. When the timer goes, set it again and swap roles.Now the second person speaks while the first personlistens to them attentively.BenefitsI have found it helpful to be able speak my mind freelyand have another human being hear mewithout expecting anything from them.But I think I find it even better to be ableto give the gift of listening to anotherperson, and to sometimes see them feellighter for being listened to. You can dopeer listening with anyone just once ifyou want to. Some people might findsomeone they like doing it with and continue havingsessions together for years.DifficultiesI think that the most difficult part of all this is actuallyasking someone to do it with you. I cant imagineanyone finds this easy! Im hoping that people will usethe new Listening Room in the drop-in centre topractise peer listening. If you can think of how to makeit easier for people to do this, please do tell me or oneof the team. We would really welcome any ideas. -AliMusic andMadnessIvor Browne’s childhoodplayground was a fewacres in DublinsSandycove where all theyoungsters would spendendless hours inunfettered play and openimagination. At the sametime, his father woulddeclare Im afraid Ivor wasa mistake. His parentsmixed marriageProtestant/Catholic (hismother) represented theprimary internal conflict ofhis youth. He still lives inDublin and at 84 years ofage, is virtually retiredfrom formal psychiatry.However, his name stillappears as a practitioner atthe Institute ofPsychosocial medicinelocated in Dun Laoghaire.Sadly, his life partner,writer and feminist, JuneLevine passed away inOctober 2008.He distinguished himselfby holding the posts ofhead of PsychiatricMedicine in UCD and asthe director ofSt. Brendan’s Hospital inGrangegorman. Andaccording to himself, hewas ahead of his time, abohemian, and a thorn inthe side of the medical andpolitical establishment. Itwas great to get my handson this big book and finallydemystify the man whosename I had heard mentionso often. The account ofhis early years and sunlitchildhood are an absolutetreat.The title of this biographycomes from the fact thathe wanted to be a jazzmusician, but was forcedto give up the trumpet dueto recurring bouts of life-threatening tuberculosis.These virtually solitaryperiods of quarantineduring the illness affordedhim ample time to ponderhis own recovery and alsothe human condition. For
  • 3. this reason, he went intopsychiatry. So the bookcould equally betitled....from Music toMadness...The ideas contained in thisbook are ground-breakingand of most interest toanyone connected to thearea of mental health andwell-being. Although hisacademic articles havereceived a lot ofrecognition, his methodshave not, as yet, beenwidely adopted.We can note at this point,that the site atGrangegorman is currentlybeing rebuilt to house afaculty of the DIT. All thatremains of St Brendan’sHospital are perhaps 2patients and a new daycare clinic named as thePhoenix Care Centre. Thismust have been influencedby the former directors’mental health philosophy:‘What we urgently requireis a new form of asylum, atherapeutic communitythat provides a warm,loving, human contextwithin which a person cangrow, develop a healthylifestyle, learn to work andmanage themselves. It isthen that the problem of so-called “psychiatric illness”ceases to be relevant.’-NessaTom &Ali inEnnisTo get the opportunity to becomean official WRAP facilitator was notone to be missed. W.R.A.P standingfor Wellness Recovery Action Planwas designed by Mary EllenCopeland after she was strugglingwith her own mental healthdifficulties. It states that you are theexpert on you and through theworkshop you can find ways to helpkeep yourself well.WatershedHeading off on the train to Ennis wasdefinitely a watershed for me.WRAP has changed how I view mymental health and how I canmanage it. Instead of drifting in thewind and relying on medication topatch me up, now with the toolsfrom WRAP I can look at what I needto do everyday to stay well. I havestruggled long enough to know alltoo well how difficult life is whennot going well so for me followingmy daily maintenance plan is amust.Nervous at firstI was a little nervous at first as Iknew there would be presentationson the horizon. I knew where I wasat (about 55% sometimes bettersometimes worse) and the nature ofthe learning that there would be noescaping the dreaded standing up infront of the group and pretending tobe in a much better place than I am.However after 31 years of a hard lifeI have grown wiser and for the firstpresentation I got special treatmentand was allowed to give it fromwhere I was sitting. It passed offwith excruciating pain. Ali did herswith ease and delivered it very wellas was to be expected. The secondpresentation was a riveting heartfeltperformance. I used the smilingexercise as an ice breaker and wasgenerally more relaxed. I gave it onmy Triggers and what my actionplans were.Settled into the trainingThe group was about 15 from allover but mostly from the West ofIreland. Many in the group thought Iwas from Dublin. I could understandwhy as I am from the Pale. As thegroup got to know one anothermore we all settled into the training.The belief in WRAP wasoverwhelming to see many in thegroup who had experience ofmental health difficulties or hadfamily members with self experienceor worked with people who facedthese challenges explain why andhow they wanted to see WRAP usedmore often. My folder was indemand in the group forphotocopying as it was far morecomprehensive than the rest of thegroup (thumbs up to Fionn & Ali).Liam who is the founder of WRAPIreland reminded us on the last daythat WRAP is continuous learningand he is available for any questionswe may have on an ongoingbasis.Back on the trainOn the way back on the train I wastired and my conversation wasbouncing from the book I was tryingto read, to the sun shining, thetrees, how great the train is, whatI’m going to add to my dailymaintenance plan, hair dye etc. etc.I then realised that I was possiblywrecking Alis head she smiled andsaid that it was ok as we were nearlyin Dublin! -Tom
  • 4. Getting to know me withJohn L.What do you like about Gateway?“I like the interaction betweenmembers”What did you want to work at in life?“To be an official at a bank”Where is your favourite place?“Rosses Point in county Sligo. The bestgolf courses in Ireland are there”Tell us something about yourself“I took part in a circus on the high wire”Random Notes Radio Showby Richard Moloney every secondWednesday between 9.00pm –10.30pm on Near 90.3fm andonline atwww.near.ie/livestreamRelaxation & Meditationcontinues on Mondays inMay from 3.45pm-4.45pm!Indian Head Massage is onthe last Monday every Monthfrom 1.45pm till 4.45pmA very trendy coffee bar calledToast on Lr. Rathmines Road iswhere Oliver D and other mem-bers of Gateway meet everyWednesday at 1 o’clock.All are very welcome and thanksto Oliver for his commitment tothis meet-up.Patrick takesPatrick takesPatrick takes goldgoldgold with the blackwith the blackwith the blackAnother fascinating Pool competition took place last month in Parker Hill.Loud gasps of disbelief were heard as Mary M swept into round 2 as shetrounced Ciarán. The loudest gasp coming from Ciarán himself, as herealised yet another month would go by before he would get anotherchance to win this much sought after title.“big guns fell”Big names like Joe O’, and Nicholas fell by the wayside early on as well. Alimade a surprise entry into the competition and amazed everyone, includingherself by potting a ball. It was the day for the underdog it seemed. Therewas total shock as the likes of Tom M went crashing out in the first roundalso. That is till the two Titans remained to treat us all to a thrilling final.“beads of sweat”From where I was sitting in the front row I could see tiny beads of sweatbreak across Patricks brow as Sandra started potting the yellow balls left,right and centre. It looked certain that it was to be Sandra’s day. But Patrickhad different ideas. It all came down once again to 1 last single black ball,and Patrick made no mistake. He leaned over the table and in his usualquick and stylish way of playing , potted the black and took the gold. Sandrapresented Patrick with his award, shook his hand and, silently under herbreath said to him, “See you next month buddy”.But hey, congratulations to Patrick C. and the well deserved title of beingthe champ for March goes to you Paddy.11 Wynnfield Road Dublin 6. Ph. 01-4965558 www.projectgateway.blogspot.comViews expressed in this newsletter are only views of the contributors and not views of the Gateway Project.Jokes of the monthTwo goldfish swimming in a tank. Onesays to the other,“Do you know how to drive thisthing”?What did the fish say when he swaminto a wall?“Dam”.“Waiter, waiter. There are 2 ears inmy soup”“What” says the waiter.The fishing group are meeting Tuesday 4/06/13 at 2.00 pm in BelgraveSquare, Rathmines, D6 to get practice with the gear and organise a trip allwelcome but mini bus spaces are limited to 9!Fishing group news-flash