Good day..enjoyed that

It’s been a long day. Ever since those welcoming blue skies encouraged me out of the door this morning, it’s been a very good day too.

First of all, it was off to a meeting to arrange something around World Mental Health Day, in a few weeks time. Surprisingly, I was full of ideas and those ideas seemed to be welcomed. I’m really looking forward to the day and I hope to stand up and do a little presentation on autism. Heaven help us all!

Then it was this on a blissful afternoon:-

In the wrong order…but there you go. It was off on a boat (I know, I’m not great with them), across the Solent to Shanklin on the Isle of Wight. I’ve never been to the small island in the English Channel before, but what a wonderful place. Idyllic, peaceful and somewhere to spend a summer holiday in the future. I just fell in love in the place within the first few minutes of arriving. 

Sadly, I’m back home now. Yes, back in shouty, sweary, aggressive, turbulent London. It was nice to get away from this for a few hours. The smell of the sea salt and the soft warmth of an autumn afternoon really appealed to me. I love to get away, it’s just I haven’t been that well to go away that often this year. An indication of better times ahead? We’ll wait and see. But it’s a start. Good day.

Allen Brooks xx


Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness

English romantic poet John Keats wrote about Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness, referring of course to Autumn. This Friday morning is a testament to that, a glorious morning, warm, mellow, with a hint of that autumnal freshness.

And that blue sky welcome has got me out of bed and off to a meeting. I’m on the bus, so far, so good. Everything crossed for an incident free journey. I’m in a better mood than yesterday, where frustration, anger and bitterness were my constant companions.

And they also say the first cup of tea of the day is also the best. That went down well. 9:45 am, and all is good, so far.

Allen Brooks xx

The Idiot Shop…

I’ve an idea for a new kind of business. Hanging on coat pegs around the shop are people that have no common sense or are just plain idiotic, like for example, passengers who won’t pay their way on local buses.

You could walk in the shop and have a choice of your special customised idiot. Then they would attempt to spoil your day, causing limitless anger and frustration. Then you would return the idiot to the shop the following day. 

I only say this as we had yet another example of someone wanting a free ride on the local buses, followed by the inevitable Mexican style stand off. Ever heard of that commodity called money? Then try getting your arse off the bus, draw some money out of the cashpoint and top up your card at a shop. Don’t get on and expect a free taxi service to your destination, unless you’re a child under 14 or an old age pensioner. 

So with the day I’ve had, I’ve decided to return to base and not venture out again today. Don’t want any more idiots ruining my day. Now when’s that idiot shop opening? 

Allen Brooks xx

Call Waiting…

Of late, I’ve decided to explore some other volunteering opportunities. This has meant going back to a company I used to volunteer for, as they had an open day recently. 

I’ve filled in the forms and they’ve been acknowledged. Today was the day of the telephone interview. I set up my computer to have the last form displaying on screen, and sat there, awaiting a 10 a.m. call.

Which never came. At all. I rang up the company concerned and they promised to investigate. I had been promised this call and my usual Thursday morning appointment had been put on the back burner. 

Some 90 minutes later, a generic email was sent to all prospective volunteers, saying that there had been circumstances beyond their control and all interviews were suspended for the day. At least I got a satisfactory answer after a very disappointing and frustrating morning.

Hoping that take two will happen soon. 

Allen Brooks xx

Stepping into the Unknown…

I got a phone call yesterday asking me to attend a meeting….at the mental hospital I normally attend when I volunteer at the tea bar on occasions.

I’ve not been into the inner sanctum of a mental hospital since I was six years old, when a member of my late mother’s family was detained there, for want of a better phrase. Me and Mum used to make the odd visit, and I vaguely remember the clinical atmosphere and the bleached walls. Being six, I had little idea of what it was like to be detained in these places.

However, it was with a slight twinge of anxiety that I walked into one of the wards, with my line manager, to attend a meeting regarding a nationwide smoking ban on NHS premises and how well it has been enforced.

I sat, listened and took notes and the meeting passed with little incident….until we were hustled back into the meeting room as staff were dealing with an inpatient. Suffice it to say that there was a lot of shouting and a lot of force to deal with the inpatient. It quickly died down and we were allowed to leave.

What did I think of the place? Well, apart from being modern, there does remain an element of detention and imprisonment in there. Unfortunately, all mental illnesses are different and are treated differently. Being “sectioned” or detained isn’t a nice feeling, it’s a feeling I get when mental illness traps me in my flat for a few days, that cabin fever that can really send someone, if not to the brink, then certainly close to it.

The experiment shook me out of my comfort zone, and gave me an insight into what really goes on in a mental health ward. My line manager was quite surprised when I agreed to come along, given the events of recent weeks. But I felt ok enough to deal with this afternoon. I’m glad to say I’ve never been sectioned or detained, and I hope I never will.

Allen Brooks xx

The Land of Nod….

As you can appreciate, sleep is a precious commodity to me. And recently, I haven’t been sleeping well at all. I had an old bed that was soft and uncomfortable to sleep on and with lots of fidgeting later on, I was able only to sleep for a few hours. Lack of quality and quantity shuteye.

Well I have a new bed now. And it is really comfortable. It’s like being back in that hotel room in Fuerteventura. The sleep that week was relaxing and delightful. Last night was the best sleep I’ve had in ages. A long sleep, but of the best quality. It’s been a very long time since I’ve said that.

How do I feel? Ok as it happens. That very bad spell is now in the past. I’m back in the land of the living. Things have calmed down. Each day lived is an achievement. And I’ll go on achieving.

Allen Brooks xx

Take care Clarke…
In the news the other day was the disappearance of former footballer and mental health champion, Clarke Carlisle. His disappearance sparked concern from his family and friends, but thankfully, he was found in Liverpool. 

Clarke is in hospital at the moment, but at least he is in safe hands. We all wish him well and every health and happiness. Life cannot be easy for him, as I can testify, but he knows he has a groundswell of support and love for his eloquent views on mental health and how it affects those in sport and especially football. 

Get well soon Clarke!

Allen Brooks xx