Richie’s Care Worker’s Story

An intervention named JOY

When I was asked to write this short piece it felt like an impossible task as I could fill a journal with our therapeutic journey from where you were to where you are now. I decided to concentrate on one aspect: finding the JOY.

I’m not sure who was the most daunted, the most vulnerable; you embarking on an independent life leaving the Russell clinic or me at the beginning of a new role being totally naive in community work.

Ours became a journey of discovery, searching out together a connection with the wider community, finding/sampling resources and meeting many wonderful people along the way.

With every little step we grew in confidence, your hidden depths emerged and I found a sensitive creative man using your experience to support others. You became adept at playing the guitar and have a beautiful singing voice, and are also a skilled artist, proficient in painting and drawing.

You discovered your humour and got mine, you gave me permission to introduce fun to my role; it was ok to have a sing along in the car and travel down memory lane, it was ok to share a comfortable silence and quiet contemplation as we walked along the beach and it was a joy to share the crazy shopping trips where we tried on hats, sunglasses and scarves. Sharing joyful times with another is the elixir of life and aids recovery. Mental Illness like a Dementor from ‘Harry Potter’ which sweeps down and steals the joy. It can happen to any one of us.

You showed me you are so much more than a person who needs support with a mental illness. You wanted to be normal and experience the OK’ness in being both happy and sad and to have someone alongside you to accept you for who you are.

You’re in a good place now and say you’re enjoying life. Our time is coming to an end. My favourite poem ‘A reason for a season’ sums up beautifully our journey together.