Creative Competition 2017 – Short Story Winner

We are delighted to share the results of the Creative Competition 2017.

This year was on the theme of ‘change’. We partnered with Scottish Recovery Network, Write To Recovery, Reach out with Arts in Mind and Mind Waves and asked entrants to tell us:

  • What you think needs to change in Scotland to keep you living well?
  • What you do to stay healthy and well?
  • What one thing would you change where you live to keep you well?

Entrants shared their views by submitting to categories of poetry, short story, photography, film and arts and crafts.

The winner of the Creative Competition 2017 Short Story category is:

The Beach by Write To Recovery user ihatemytwin

” Next stop Phi Phi Islan ” the Thai tour guide shouts in broken English.  The rickety boat speeds through the water with black diesel fumes spouting from the motor like an old jakey puffing out the smoke from his black lungs.

The boat slows to a stop before we see the beach. I look at my reflection in the water the hot sun beats down on my neck warming me. I’m happy and I remember why I’m here.

My mind tumbles back to that night in marshmallow towers. My almost empty, 13 floors up coffin. I was the pay master again that night . Paying for the white lines and green plastic bottles of apple flavoured acidic ,gut rot.  I paid for the company of a cardboard friend , giving him my drugs and drink in exchange for a few hours of fast conversation and a break in the routine of loneliness,  and talking to my monkey mind. Talking to my walls.

I take another fat stinging line up ma hooter and in my intoxicated haze I notice that the film ” The Beach” is on the TV . Leonardo jumps off a cliff into the most beautiful peaceful place I have ever seen . White sands, turquoise water, green, green jungle and peace. Oh the peace.  Paradise!

” I’m going there John!” I exclaim. ” Don’t talk shite Dave, you’re schizophrenic and ye canny even get yer arse on a bus. Only place you’re going is fuckin Gartnavel Royal” John sneers at me.  I shrink into myself and retourt nothing because I know he’s right.

The drugs are gone and my cardboard companion leaves,….but his remarks don’t.  The soft edges of Marshmallow towers become sharp and jaggy again as I sober up.

The voices start  and then the disorganised thoughts and delusions .  “I’m being watched, ….they are after me! I’m evil. I’m worthless.” …. CPN help!  they’re  coming to get me !…… And off I go …..McNair house here I come!!!…. Paranoia and fear.

Safe place.

John’s comments going through my head, cutting and slashing me.

Resentment turned to determination, I was going to get better.

I thought I was a million miles away from the Beach, but really I was only 12 steps away.

Coffee and a regal king size and its….
” keep coming back son” ” Don’t lift the first drink and you can’t get drunk” ” if you stay sober you can have a life beyond you’re wildest dreams ” ” do lots of meetings ” …..” God’s good Son! ”

Determination turned to forgiveness, not just for others, but myself too . I righted wrongs and humbly asked others if I could make things right to them.

Compassion came too and lots of it,  Compassion for others who suffer. Compassion for me.

As my addictions were removed my mental health improved. Prayer and medication.

So I trudged the road to happy destiny and five years later…… here I am , looking at my reflection in the turquoise water.  ” you okay? You excited? Kirsty asks . “Aye am great”.  “It is beautiful here and looks much better than it did in the film” .

The boat bobs in the shallows and Kirsty and I jump into the cool water. I inhale deeply and feel the gratitude. We swim to the beach and I’m there. Peace. Paradise. Maybe we will get married, have two kids a house and a dog? Who knows. Stay in the present. Not in the future. Enjoy the beach. I can’t help it.  My mind wanders again and I think…

I could still be in Marshmallow Towers talking to the walls, if it wasn’t for someone’s observation of the way my life was going…… thank you John and thank you ” The Beach”

“Aye God’s good Son!”

Creative Competition 2017 – Arts and Crafts

We are delighted to share the results of the Creative Competition 2017.

This year was on the theme of ‘change’. We partnered with Scottish Recovery Network, Write To Recovery, Reach out with Arts in Mind and Mind Waves and asked entrants to tell us:

  • What you think needs to change in Scotland to keep you living well?
  • What you do to stay healthy and well?
  • What one thing would you change where you live to keep you well?

Entrants shared their views by submitting to categories of poetry, short story, photography, film and arts and crafts.

The winner of the Creative Competition 2017 Arts and Crafts category is:

Delirium by Stephen Borland

Creative Competition 2017 – Photography Winner

We are delighted to share the results of the Creative Competition 2017.

This year was on the theme of ‘change’. We partnered with Scottish Recovery Network, Write To Recovery, Reach out with Arts in Mind and Mind Waves and asked entrants to tell us:

  • What you think needs to change in Scotland to keep you living well?
  • What you do to stay healthy and well?
  • What one thing would you change where you live to keep you well?

Entrants shared their views by submitting to categories of poetry, short story, photography, film and arts and crafts.

The winner of the Creative Competition 2017 Photography category is:

Hope by Junfei Hu

 

Creative Competition 2017 – Film Winner

We are delighted to share the results of the Creative Competition 2017.

This year was on the theme of ‘change’. We partnered with Scottish Recovery Network, Write To Recovery, Reach out with Arts in Mind and Mind Waves and asked entrants to tell us:

  • What you think needs to change in Scotland to keep you living well?
  • What you do to stay healthy and well?
  • What one thing would you change where you live to keep you well?

Entrants shared their views by submitting to categories of poetry, short story, photography, film and arts and crafts.

The winner of the Creative Competition 2017 Film category is:

Creative Present, Past and Future by Elaine Kordys

 

Creative Competition 2017 – Poetry Winner

We are delighted to share the results of the Creative Competition 2017.

This year was on the theme of ‘change’. We partnered with Scottish Recovery Network, Write To Recovery, Reach out with Arts in Mind and Mind Waves and asked entrants to tell us:

  • What you think needs to change in Scotland to keep you living well?
  • What you do to stay healthy and well?
  • What one thing would you change where you live to keep you well?

Entrants shared their views by submitting to categories of poetry, short story, photography, film and arts and crafts.

The winner of the Creative Competition 2017 Poetry category is:

‘Heard’ by Write to Recovery user Sa_raPreston

If the illness, the struggle, the fear and the pain,

Were not all trapped inside, but used for others to gain.

So the time and the opportunities missed – were no loss,

If employed as currency, so the next bear no cost.

 

If I can use my voice – have my experiences told,

So from diagnosis, I’m not just ‘a label’‘like this’ ‘til I’m old.

If I can share my own negatives and turn into good,

Without hesitation – raised hand – I’d stand up and I would.

 

For this cannot continue – year after year,

A new generation living in fear,

Of the stigma, and the shortage, in services mental,

It’s unjust, not enough – if we’re seen as inconsequential.

 

But is this a pipe dream? Of a mind ill, unstable, unsound?

No good for board meeting, handover or round?

Is my voice valid, or will I forever be ‘sick?’

Am I tarnished, categorised, in a check-box now ticked?

 

If I could voice what I’ve been through,

And have you hear, not just listen.

With care, insight and patience,

Where you understand, not dismiss it.

 

And when I got to the end,

Not speak for me, what you’ve learned.

Instead be a medium and an amplifier,

For my voice to be heard.

 

Carers’ Week Chaos and Concerns

Lynn reflects on yet another Carers’ Week in the context of a tumultuous General Election.

When I was asked to write this blog for Carers’ Week, I was conscious of the looming General Election. I did some fine-tuning post election on three hours sleep last Friday; still trying to make sense of it all (and not doing very well!).

Here we are then – Carers’ Week. It’s my second as an “official” full time carer – someone who provides 35 hours or more of care for the princely sum of £62.70 a week.

It’s not a landmark I want to celebrate, for a number of reasons.

I miss being in full time work; I miss earning a decent wage and I miss being valued by society. As a “scrounger”, I am deemed to be a leech sucking on taxpayers’ money. That’s what many in the political world would have you believe and yet, carers are essentially a significant, poorly paid public service, which underpins our communities and our economy.

Carers’ Week should be a spur to action – to improve carers’ experience and outcomes and to improve the way we treat disabled people. However, it seems only to elicit the usual platitudes about unsung heroes (my least favourite phrase). For many, Carers’ Week serves to remind us of how little progress has been made; in many ways, we are going backwards. The services and supports we need are not always there; the right services and conditions for our loved ones are eroding fast.

This past year has seen many of my friends and fellow activists fighting local authorities over destitution level care charges and further cuts to crucial care services. I’ve watched families brought to breaking point by a deeply flawed interpretation of legislation, which was meant to transform our broken social care system.

Continued cuts to respite and community support; further benefit reductions and cuts to pupil support all combine to leave families coping with more than most can imagine.  Dealing with constantly challenging behaviour; lack of sleep; learning to use medical equipment; physical lifting and turning; washing; wiping and changing beds are a daily part of our lives – yet public services meant to make life easier often fail to work with us. The facets of good public service, outlined in the work of the Health and Social Care Academy seem quite elusive. Rather than ceding control to families to achieve good outcomes, carers feel that they have no control over their destiny.  Carers’ Week often hides the less sanitary and salutary aspects of caring.

It has also coincided with the fallout from last week’s election – an election marked by chaos and change. Those concepts are not unfamiliar to carers and yet, there is no comfort here.

The result doesn’t help appease my worries for the future. It won’t do much to secure much-needed investment for social care or other services we rely on. It’s also unlikely to shift the debate on the value of unpaid care or the pitiful level of Carers’ Allowance.

Carers are a pretty cynical bunch – we will continue to be cynical as we wind our way through another Carers Week. And we’ll be watching what happens post election – with more than a passing interest!

@Carer49

‘2 Millions Expert Voices’: Listening, Learning and Leading Change

This year marks the 10 year anniversary of the ALLIANCE, and to mark the occasion: our annual conference, held in partnership with the Academy will explore how collectively we have can work in partnership achieve greater outcomes for the people of Scotland.

With renewed political energy in Scotland following the 2016 Holyrood election, we’ll look to the future and ways of improving the lives of the two million people across Scotland who are disabled, living with long term conditions and unpaid carers.

Our annual conference will focus on practical ways to hear the voice of lived experience, learn from others about changing support and services for the better and lead from the front in developing new models of care.

Pennie Taylor will chair this event and Cabinet Secretary for Health Wellbeing and Sport will address delegates.

The agenda for the day can be found here.
Attend if you have an interest in improving health and social care in Scotland.

Register your place today by downloading the conference booking form and returning to event@alliance-scotland.org.uk.

If you would like to keep up to date with the latest news in the run-up to the conference, or contribute on the day, please use the hashtag #2MExperts

There are a number of sponsorship opportunities available at the conference.
Please contact the events team for further information on 0141 404 0231 or email event@alliance-scotland.org.uk

Ffion’s Story

Dear Tommy

On Monday the 7th March I talked to the children and teachers at my school in our school assembly, I told them about your work, your lovey mum and your #Tommyontour. I also showed them one for my personalised dementia pledge trees. I have been making these pledge trees for my mummy’s work friends I make a different one for each person, I put their name on it and l do my signature, the person then writes their own pledge on the tree. I hope my trees make a difference to people who live with dementia.

My lovely pops (grandad) had dementia and l would like more people to undgrandaderstand dementia and always be nice to people with it, my pops always put his thumb up when things were OK. He was so kind he would give some of his food to his favourite blackbird the blackbird visited every meal time. My mummy misses pops a lot.

Here is a photo of my mummy with pops his thumb is up.

From, Ffion Age 9 from Shropshire.

To find out more about how to make a pledge visit the ALLIANCE’s Dementia Carer Voices website