Best bit about it, as ever, was engaging with fellow experts by experience. Peers. People like me who have been subject to psychiatric treatment and have survived, independent opinions intact. We were speaking out in solidarity, sometimes in agreement, sometimes not, but that was OK. We're not clones.
The MWC staff listened to us and the independent facilitators did their best to co-ordinate the discussions. I went off on my own from time to time so as to chat with a MWC worker or to the COSLA catering staff or to look at the feedback being gathered. Tweeting on occasion. Complaining if I felt the need (the need for programmes, preferably before the event, so that we were informed and empowered).
Mostly I was left alone to do my own "thing". To join in with the table groups when I felt like it and to say what I thought. Nowadays I like to test out events to see if there is the freedom to be an independent person. To find out if straitjackets are at the ready. If voices are being silenced.
The lunch spread was nice and the catering staff who served us were helpful. Some of us stayed chatting for a while during and after lunch, catching up and also getting to know each other. Sharing experiences. I heard many stories during the morning and that's a good sign I think.
Here are some photos I took of feedback yesterday on post-its, flip chart sheets and tablecloth:
|valid point (I'd go further, use word "retaliation")|
|what rights if sectioned? (sometimes none) my bit in red/blue below|
|collective responses (mine on the left)|
|my response "nothing much"|
|Rights in the pink, a good selection from folks|