Friday, 25 April 2014

the last straw

Yesterday was another experience of it being the last straw that broke the camel's back.

I'd been going to the "user/carer" group for years, hoping that the involvement would get more meaningful as relationships developed.  But there appeared to be a resistance to change among the "professionals" who just aren't prepared to rock the boat or take the people with lived experience seriously.

A new member came along to the group, a paid worker with a voluntary sector organisation.  It was apparent that the "professionals" were more comfortable in the presence of another "professional".  They discussed ways with this person about how they could be meaningfully involved.  In the presence of us who are still waiting for the privilege.

I first went to the group years back and identified myself as a survivor of mental illness.  Exposed my weakness.  Others did the same in the early days.  But they have fallen away.  Another survivor has recently come along to join us although he is careful with what he discloses.  Safer I suppose.  It's not a group to be identifying yourself as having or having had "mental illness".  You're more likely to be silenced or discriminated against.

The irony is that the group has a focus on talking therapies and training.

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