The spookiest thing about this month for me is how quickly it has gone – I’m not entirely sure where it went. It feels like it was just last week that I was sitting down to write my September round up so I’m somewhat dazed coming into this one. That said, despite its pace October has been a pretty great month for me – here’s my round up.
For once I don’t have much to say on this score. My body has been coping remarkably well with everything I’ve been throwing at it over the last few weeks and I’ve seen no significant changes. (Excuse me for a moment, I’m just going to cling on to some wood for an hour). Still no news about the Royal Free but things with my current ‘team’ and plan for managing my conditions all seem to be making a difference.
The cold weather has definitely been impacting on my symptoms a little more but for the most part that’s been manageable with layers and hot water bottles!
This month has been one of my favourite of the year so far from a work perspective. I’ve recently started my new contract with the Co-Production team at Rethink Mental Illness and I’m already loving it. I’m so excited to be working on a range of projects putting young people’s voices at the heart of mental health approaches in three London boroughs. Coming up is a lot of school outreach, with students, parents and teachers, as well as planning for a very exciting event in the new year.
Alongside Rethink, I’ve spent a good chunk of the month working on freelance facilitation in schools across the South East with Future First and dipping back into some volunteer training with The Mix. As this month comes to a close it feels like things are really coming together and I’m feeling very fortunate indeed.
For once I can say that a busy month of work hasn’t meant a month of no play – hurrah! My month outside of work and health routines has, for the most part, held a couple of themes: volunteering and the arts.
This month I began volunteering with Yes Futures as a Wellbeing Coach for young people with low self-esteem. I’m based at a school in Dagenham and will be supporting 4 young people across a structured goal-focused programme which runs for the next 5 months. So far I’ve had two coaching sessions with each student and I have absolutely loved it; it has been such a joy getting to know the young people I’m supporting and to see the progress they have already made between sessions one and two. I’m so excited to keep working with them and to hopefully see them blossoming by the spring. In addition to the impact on my students, I have really enjoyed working on my coaching skills and developing myself as well. I left my first session so energised and spent hours looking at ideas for developing self esteem in young people, which will help me not only as a coach but across my work as a whole. It’s a role I would recommend to anyone looking for a fun, meaningful opportunity with a manageable time commitment.
Moving on to the artistic side of my October, I was absolutely thrilled to be asked to create a mural for the Hidden River Festival celebration at the Redmond Community Centre. I was given a blank section of wall and total artistic freedom and I am so pleased that everyone loved the result – I hope it goes on to be enjoyed over the months to come. We also launched the zine at the event and it was incredible to see an idea that had been months in the making finally realised and put out for the community to enjoy.
I’ve also really enjoyed a couple of evenings of artistic inspiration this month. First off, I attended a book event at Pages of Hackney, where Sharlene Teo and Sophie Mackintosh discussed writing women’s stories. Given that my entire novel is focused around the female voice and experience it was a perfect evening for me. I also discovered a new writing hero in Sharlene Teo who was just so relatable whilst also giving great insight. Listening to first time authors can do you a wonder of good with their honesty when you’re battling through a first draft.
My second arty evening was just this week, when I went to see Emma Rice’s stage adaptation of Wise Children by Angela Carter. Words cannot describe my adoration for Carter and as a theatre nerd the combination held a lot of promise. I was slightly nervous it wouldn’t meet my expectations – especially as everyone I know who has seen it was raving about it – but it actually managed to exceed them. If you have the chance I would urge you to go (I may even go again myself) – it is a wonderful, joyous, bawdy and brilliant show that really captures the essence of Carter’s tone and voice. I bloody loved it.
And there you have it – that’s pretty much my month in a nutshell. Now I’m off to dog sit for the afternoon which is almost certainly the best way to end the day (and month).