Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Why do chips taste so good eaten outside?

My regular readers will know that I am a very kinaesthetic person and find great pleasure in the senses! Last week I had several such experiences.

In recent years I have been honoured to speak at The Samaritans national conference, held in York. As a result I have then been invited to address other locally-based branches. I am happy to give my time because I know how hard the volunteers work and if I can inspire them in some way, then bring it on!

Clive Gott had also spoken at their events. After he suffered a period of depression a few years ago (the reason why fellow speaking colleagues suggested we worked together),  he had admitted his illness on his blog. He used to joke that when some of The Samaritans read about it they rang HIM to see if he was okay!

I also know that another speaker whom I admire, Richard McCann, is a regular guest for them too.  So when I was asked many months ago if I would address the Shrewsbury branch AGM on Tuesday 15th November, I was delighted to accept. Their Chair had heard me in York and wanted me to share my story with his colleagues.

The venue was Shire Hall in Shrewsbury and I was relieved to get there in plenty of time to check my presentation, music, etc. after my problem in Bradford. Once set up, I nipped out to find some food. There was a pub but also a chippy! The smell tempted me in and I thoroughly enjoyed fish and chips in the paper wrappings on a bench outside Shire Hall in the dark. Bliss! Honestly! Why does food taste so good outside and when it is chilly?

Whilst listening to the business aspects of the AGM, I was shocked to see how their funds have been drastically reduced in the last couple of years due to ‘the recession’. Yet the number of callers in distress due to the recession has increased! Did you know that any donations to ‘The Samaritans’ goes to central office and not your local branch unless you specify that?

What a lovely group of people! I have every admiration for them as they are willing to be trained and then give up their time at unsociable hours to listen and advise those in distress. Since losing Clive I know the pain of bereavement. The fact that this service saves lives is incredible. I urge people to consider helping – either in financial terms or as a volunteer. Just think what rewarding work you could do if you gave up a few hours of television a week!

It was sad to hear apologies, e.g. from the local MP’s; however, it was great to see the local Mayor and Mayoress there offering their support in a number of ways – a charming couple. His blog is here.

I gave my presentation and was thrilled that it was well received. Comments included that I was able to inspire them personally and to give them a greater insight into the distress of their callers. That felt so good. I was able to give them information about The Joanne (Joe) Bingley Memorial Foundation, of which I am a trustee.

Feedback included:-

Thank you so much for your very charismatic presentation last night. Speaking to Volunteers afterwards it was clear to see that all were captivated by your story and have deep admiration for your strength of character and determination to move forwards into the next phase of your life. We could not fail to be inspired and also learn from your experiences both from a personal aspect but also make us all better Samaritans in being able to understand better the difficulties that some of our callers face and how we could better respond to them.

Messages like that inspire me too. I drove away from the meeting on a total high and felt privileged to have been able to speak to them. Thank you for making me feel so welcome.

I confess that the next day I felt rough! My throat was sore; my ears aching and my whole upper torso felt sore. So I practiced what I preach, rested, relaxed and looked after myself! By late evening I had bounced back!

I had needed to bounce back because on Thursday morning I was due to speak to physiotherapy students at Nottingham University – for three hours! What an amazing experience that was as well. I love to present my tips on what makes a difference to patients but also to help health professionals realise that they have to take care of themselves so THAT they can look after others. Once again I felt humbled to be able to share my story and experiences to very caring and compassionate people.

Friday was another wonderful day! My friend, colleague and fellow JBMF trustee Ann Girling and I did a full days workshop to professionals linked to Children’s Centre staff in Dewsbury, Yorkshire. It was the first time we had both presented as published authors!  On days like that, I am always amazed  how the time simply ‘flies’. We aim to increase the awareness and reduce the stigma around postnatal depression at these workshops. It works from what we were told!

So thank you to all those fantastic people I met this week. I hope I was able to enrich your lives as you did mine. I felt some wonderful hugs and warmth from many of you!

I am now taking a ‘rest’ from speaking until the New Year. I have so much to catch up on and want to do so before I start the New Year with renewed enthusiasm. Look out for my next blogs on my BIG NEWS!!!!

So what do you like to eat outside? What do you like to look at? What do you like to feel? What smell fills your mind with happy thoughts? What sound fills you with joy?

As I have traveled this week my love of Rascal Flatts continues. I like this one ...

Elaine x

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