Traditionally I would expect September to feel like a refresh button – it’s the start of a new academic year (even if it’s a long time since I adhered to one) and the start of autumn – and yet this one has felt more like I hit fast forward. I’ve been very busy over the past month with all sorts of bits and pieces which has left me feeling somewhat exhausted but I’m hoping that the chaos has been worth it. Here’s my month in review.
September has seen me getting back into the pattern of my health admin routines – I had a medication review with my GP and have been getting back into weekly sessions with my therapist and osteopath after their summer breaks. I was beginning to feel the effects of a hectic August without support so it has felt good to come back to the people who know me and my conditions best and to move forward again.
I’m beginning to get a little impatient waiting to hear about my next appointment at the Royal Free but I know it’s going to take time. I did have a nightmare that I missed the letter and had to go back through the entire referral/funding bid/assessment process again, though, so I can’t say my subconscious is doing too well with taking things in its stride!
At the moment I’m working hard on figuring out how to organise and manage my health without being too rigid or too hard on myself. It’s tricky to get it right all the time, even though I really want to and try my best. As September comes to a close, I’m testing out a few things the Royal Free clinic suggested to me to help me manage things better and hope they may help whilst I’m sitting on the waiting list.
This month I’ve had the joy of working on various different projects and events which has been really good fun. I’ve officially started as a programme facilitator with Future First and have absolutely loved getting out and about in Essex and Kent, leading workshops with year 12 students and corporate volunteers about networking and employability.
In early September I joined the lovely social enterprise Sisterhood, who use creative workshops to boost girls’ self confidence, for a one off event. I stepped in to help with the smooth running of an evening celebrating the achievements and project created by a brilliant group of students from School 21. The event involved a panel discussion, a “confidence catwalk” and several creative workshops. You can read more about the girls’ work here.
Continuing the creative theme of my month, on Saturday 15th I was at Hidden River Festival, running drop in zine making and gathering contributions from the community for the official Hidden River Festival Zine, which I am working on now – ready to be unveiled at the after party in October. We absolutely lucked out with beautiful sunshine and I so enjoyed chatting with engaged community members, sharing zine making joy and working with some super cute little ones who wanted to draw me pictures for the zine.
To round off my month, I secured a new part time contract taking me to at least the end of March which I’m incredibly excited about! I’m thrilled to be joining the health influencing team at Rethink Mental Illness, where I will be working on co-production, supporting young people to have their voices heard through commissioning and training. I cannot wait to start!
I started September with a trip to sunny Wales to visit my grandparents, which was a much needed breath of fresh air. It’s so good to get out of London sometimes and away from the day to day. My sister and I spent the weekend treating our grandparents and digitising their extensive photo collection to make sure we have every photo and know who is in them. It was so much fun listening to the stories behind the images.
I’ve also spent a good chunk of this month with Ministry of Stories, completing a CPD course on facilitating creative writing and story making workshops with young people. It has been really interesting to meet other practitioners and to share ideas. I’m looking forward to putting some of it to practice in a top secret project launching in 2019. Watch this space!
And that is my month in a nutshell. It looks like I have a busy October ahead so I’m hoping that a restful end to the month will prepare me for what’s coming next.