More Four…

Is the name of a UK TV channel. But also that applies to the Peer Support group this morning. There were only four of us. Due to various reasons, the twelve that adorned the room so well last week was reduced in size.

But no matter. We chatted away about various things, like family history, our own current mental health status, and about medication. So, despite the paucity of numbers, we found plenty to occupy the two hours. 

The weather has changed today too, for the better in my view. It’s still warm, but with more than a hint of freshness in the air. The oppressive humidity and airless conditions of the last few days is a thing of the past. A few people I’ve spoken to have complained of the heat being a little too much. I like the day we have today. Warm, but fresh, not sweating like a pig. Perfect.

How’s my anxiety today? Ok, as it goes. Not a hint of it. But as I said in other posts, it comes and goes in fits and starts. Off now to see a friend for the day.


Allen Brooks xx

Good vibes……

Day:- Thursday. Time:- 10.30 am. Reason:- Peer Support Group

Two hours of fun, laughter and good times. Mental health doesn’t need to be a difficult, heavy subject, with morbid undertones and dark thoughts. Today was just a pleasure to facilitate. Twelve people sitting round a table, and it was so good, you wouldn’t believe.

At times it was like a comedy sketch, and the four who attend who have passed their accreditation as facilitators, were feeding each other lines and keeping the mood upbeat. At other times, it was like being in a class of unruly children, but with a nicer atmosphere, if you get my meaning. 

Everybody had an equal chance to say things, no one topic of discussion came up to be honest, but that wasn’t a bad thing. It just sort of flowed. There were lots of jokes at my expense, but I managed to fight back on a few occasions. Women outnumbered men by 5:1. But I didn’t feel alone, I was able to use that numerical disadvantage to my advantage. The group runs better with a little bit of gentle mickey taking and laughter. And they say that laughter is the best medicine. 

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The group runs brilliantly every week and we see no reason to change anything. If people keep coming back, which they do, then we are doing our job properly as facilitators. It never gets out of hand and everyone is polite and responsible, well, nearly everyone…. mention no names! Ha ha. 

It was in fact, a real pleasure to sit there and just enjoy the company of like minds. If they laugh at my jokes, so much the better. Money changing hands has nothing to with it…..again ha ha. 

I was expecting only a small number of people to turn up, as we have another very nice summer’s day outside. I can’t blame people for taking advantage of the nice weather and the great outdoors, but how wrong I was with my prediction. 12 of us. Fantastic.

Allen Brooks xx

Showing strong and stable leadership….

Now where have we heard that before? Can’t quite place who has just recently uttered those immortal words….the name escapes me.

Morning. Well I do have to show strong and stable leadership this morning…but only in the interests of the Peer Support group that I’m supposed to be facilitating. Can Allen Brooks manage it? We’ll see…..but one thing is for certain, I won’t be sounding like an android. 

How do I feel today? Ok, nothing special really. It is another fab day weather wise as that bright orange orb does it’s work and tries to make people happy. Got a touch of hay fever though. Like most others, my eyes are streaming, my nose is running and the amount of sneezing has increased. The joys of living in a polluted city….summer can be joyous, but it can bring it’s down side. 

We’ll see what happens at the group today. Not overly enthusiastic, but once it starts I should be ok. It’s not been the best of weeks, I’m a little bit all over the show. Strong and stable? More like weak and wobbly. And that’s the closest I’ll get to an alliterative phrase at this time of the day.

Catch you later…

Allen Brooks xx

More bus pain…followed by some great Peer Support

Love buses. I really do. Enjoy travelling round on them. I’ve had so much ill luck with them recently that I carry a four leafed clover with me. Today was no different. 

To get from the station to the work office takes about 6-8 minutes. Usually. Today wasn’t one of those days. An accident and some roadworks saw 6-8 minutes turn into nearly an hour. I wasn’t pleased. Walked into the office and stomped around like Mr Angry.

But that was all to dissipate as the Peer Support group got under way. Due to the love and the great camaraderie of the group, the anger subsided and I thoroughly enjoyed the group. It was great fun.

Now, I’m relaxing before the music bingo. There’s little chance of staying up for the election results, so I’m just going to go all out and enjoy the evening. There’s no point getting annoyed about things you can’t control. I realise that. But the not moving for what seems like hours gets my goat. Still, that’s history now and we move on.

Looking forward to tonight

Allen Brooks xx

X marks the spot…

Thursday 8th June. London. All across the UK today, the public will be going to the polls to vote in the 2017 General Election. Luckily, my polling station is about 200 yards from my front door, so I’ve done mine already.

Everybody has the right to an opinion, I’m not going to propagate my political views on here. This isn’t the forum, and from past experience, not a good idea. Like everyone else, I stick up for what I believe in and when you go into that polling booth, writing with that dishevelled old pencil, those beliefs form your voting intention. Democracy in action. 

Some people of course, don’t bother to vote. People think it’s a waste of time, all the politicians say the same thing, lie and promise the earth. To an extent, that is probably true. But if you want to make things better, then using something that our predecessors fought for in two world wars will make a difference, however slight. 

I think it was a morning of putting a piece of paper in a box. I had to reorder my anti depressant medication, and did the same thing I did 30 minutes before. Wasn’t voting for my doctor, that’s for sure! 

Off to the weekly Peer Support group now. Haven’t attended much recently due to tiredness, but ready for a long day ahead. 

Make sure you get out there and vote! 

Allen Brooks xx

A sunny disposition….
The link is to a song that’s appropriate for the day. Sunny by Boney M. A 1970s disco classic, and a summer hit.

It’s a roaster out there in London today. Clear blue skies and temperatures around 80F. Lovely. But there is always a downside. Today’s peer support group attendance suffered as a result. There were only five of us, including two facilitators and one newbie. The regulars saw the day and the idea of sitting in a small, stuffy room with the sun beating down outside was not for them. I can quite understand. 

If I had that opportunity to go and do something else today, I would have done so. It’s too nice out there and it does lift everyone’s spirits to have the sun on their back and to enjoy the glorious warmth.

To be fair though, it’s been a long week, and the fact there were only five of us made it a lot more intimate and cosy. There was no pressure today to get everyone to tell us how they were feeling, as normally we are under some kind of time pressure. Relaxed, informal chat, as per usual, but without old Father Time to beat us.

It’s been a long week, but I can qualify that by saying it’s been a good week personally. All in the Brooks garden is quite rosy, apart from a few weeds! Nice to be back, doing a little bit of work here and there. Next week is somewhat quieter, so it’s good to look forward to the weekend and more umpiring duties.

Enjoy the weather

Allen Brooks xx

Oh do shut up Allen!

At this meeting, I advertised what I do for my particular company, namely presentations and the Peer Support group. A lady from another company joined us and was very keen to tap into the knowledge and experience gained. I just went into overdrive and extolled the virtues of the stuff we do, it was hard to shut me up! Sometimes it’s hard to get me to talk in social situations, so that’s a sign of my new found confidence and all round comfort that I seem to be enjoying thus far this year. 

Yes, that old thing called confidence. Some people think I’m very confident. Others do not. Me, being of lowish self esteem, tend to agree with the “not confident” line. There’s a little bit of bravado to mask how nervous and anxious I do get from time to time. 

So far in 2017, it’s all good. A friend of mine even commented on how well I looked last night. I maybe don’t look good, but I feel good in myself. To me, that makes all the difference.

Allen Brooks xx