I don’t know if I’ve blown it; I think it’s possible I talked too much. The problem was I must have been storing it all up for our first meeting. I’d known for a week or so that I would be seeing Mel for the first time yesterday and too much had gone on since Heather’s departure. Oh – by the way Mel is my new Admiral Nurse.
We met at the same place I’d often met Heather. The café at Harrison House, our Mental Health Unit. It is a good place to meet. It brings back so many ‘happy’ memories from my incarceration in the Unit, a few years ago. Whenever I am in the building it serves to remind me of my recovery from a serious mental health episode. Once inside the place my thoughts turn to Irving Kirsch and how his book started me on the road to escaping from a life-time on antidepressants. It is on my ‘Bucket List’ to meet Irving in person. I want to thank him personally for helping me to realise that it was how I was interacting with my environment, not ‘chemical imbalance’, that had been causing years of depressive episodes.
Being in Harrison House also helps me keep to the forefront of my mind that dementia is not mental illness. No-one has been able to help me make sense of dementia being under the umbrella of mental health: it is brain injury not a mood disorder Maureen has had unhelpful experiences from a mental health approach to dementia and it’s attention to mood. I recall staff from the Memory Service offering to help her if her mood was low: otherwise discharge from the Service would follow. This does no make any sense whatsoever. Sorry about all of that, you can see I feel strongly on these matters ….now back to Mel.
I remember little of what she said. She just let me talk. I wonder if Heather had told her that I liked the sound of my own voice so she just let me ramble on. No wait a minute: it’s all coming back to me now there was something that she said about ‘picking your battles’. Seems she weighed me up very quickly. She sussed that I am often trying to change the world and has encouraged me to be more realistic. Not directive in the least because the choice of battles is mine.
We spent about an hour or so chatting. Rather me talking and Mel listening. Next time we are together it will be a threesome, as we are sitting down with Sue our new social worker. Mel is also keen to be in on my Blog circles to keep a wayward eye on what’s going on here. She has also confirmed that Emails and phone calls were still a good way to keep in touch. The bonus here is I have already experienced the importance she places in responding to communication. If you leave a message for Mel she gets back to you: just like her predecessor always did.
Pick your battles eh; that’s a good one. Once you’ve met one Admiral Nurse you’ve met one Admiral Nurse. However Heather and Mel have two important things in common; lots of empathy and compassion. Oh I’ve forgotten another: they are not only prepared to sit and listen; they actually hear what you say because they understand dementia.