In the last couple of days I tried the Emilia Project and the Expert Patients Programme. I realised that neither of them were for me. The Emilia was particularly disappointing because I really expected more from it. Basically it was just another special ‘service users’ course. I had an excruciating afternoon supposedly discovering something called the ‘strengths approach’. Felt very tense and frustrated all afternoon, unable to really contribute anything meaningful because, to me, the class itself had no meaning! Though having said that I guess I discovered something quite important. That I really have no need of being hived off into a ‘service users’ ghetto in order to be ’empowered’. The exact opposite of empowerment is what that does for me.
The teacher/trainer’s approach to ‘strengths’ was to pussyfoot around us all. ‘If you don’t feel you can say anything at all, that’s fine’. Etc etc. Then we were sat around in groups in order to help each other list our strengths. When the professor came around, asking us how we were getting on, I had to tell him the truth, but ended up feeling characterised as awkward rather than understood. Well, he did ask! I noticed that others, after some initial reluctance, did seem to get into it more as time went on. But not me. If this would ever have been any use to me, it might have been about fifteen years ago, when I was first diagnosed and at my worst, with the condition. It was bloody rehabilitation! Which I do not need!
I did strike up some camaraderie and shared subversive humour with some of the others. But I knew I wasn’t going to be going back. It was even more awkward because one of the trainer/teachers was someone I knew well and was friendly with.
So then today it was the Expert Patients, a self-management programme that originated in the States and is now over here. I had reservations about it but was withholding judgment until I tried it. After the Emilia debacle yesterday I was dreading a kind of repeat performance. Well it wasn’t the same thing at all, but for me it was equally useless. I have already written the letter to the administrator of the Programme explaining why I don’t want to pursue it any further. It so wasn’t me. Picture this, gentle reader! The facilitator tells us ‘do as your doctor says and take your medication’. I kid you not! And I’m thinking, dream on, honey. I’m outta here! The thing is, the title really does say it all. But I ain’t anyone’s patient! Expert or otherwise!
So. perhaps, in their way, a couple of productive days. Discovering what I in no way, shape or form, am interested in doing! Back to the drawing board, back to looking for a job I guess. The Emilia was supposed to be helping us with that but it’s pitched at such a low level it would be more of a hindrance. What I do know is, I am not ill any more. I am confident, capable and competent. I’m flexible, a great learner and have good skills which I’m building on all the time. I’m ready to work!
I think I may try working one day at the library (voluntary), one day at MIND and one day at HAVCO. That way I won’t get bored and may get some insight into which I prefer. Well, we’ll see. Take care all! Love, Zoe.