Friday, 5 December 2008

Focus on...the Allotment

It's Friday which means a 'Focus on...', which usually involves a wee write up on one of our humble friut or vegetable varieties. Today however I am going to talk about something much more vital than mere food. I talking about good mental health.

I am not in the best of places at the moment (even though I have been going through a better week so far) as I have had to see both my Psychiatrist and my Social Worker in the one day. You would think this is a good thing and you would be right, up to a point. I am very lucky in that my mental health care team is made up of very nice individuals who do seem to genuinely want to help me.

The problems lie in -

1: Having to go over the same painful issues time and time again (with a cacophony of Psychiatric Senior House Officers who I generally only see once or twice each) and then it's a three month gap till it all happens again
2: Constantly being told that there isn't the funding or the resources available that they need to help me (e.g. NO Psychologists!!!!!)
Thus, I am left in limbo land, trying to sort my own head out- which is very ironic and not at all funny; my head and thoughts being the thing I need to work on but also the thing I would need to have a good grasp on in order to help myself work on them. A bloody vicious circle if ever there was one. Complicated further by the fact that I'm on medication at the same time!!

As my very own Social Worker said this afternoon, "the Mental Health Care in Northern Ireland is sh1te". Not very professional she professed but truth is all that matters between us.

This, my friends is why I am so passionate about my Allotments. Ecotherapy is something that has just landed on my lap, out of the blue - due to having a Husband who loves to grow stuff. I cannot emphases enough the benefits that growing fruit, veg, herbs, flowers (and even weeds, if they're pretty) can have on your health (or, let's face it- the health of someone that you love).
Today's Focus on - if you would like a food topic is.. Cake, Chocolate, Ice Cream, Wine, a Take Away - whatever makes you have a happier, relaxed Friday night and gets you ready for gardening tomorrow!

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Allotment/Garden/Patio Containers/Window Boxes - grow, harvest, eat and enjoy!


  1. Carrie, I think you are a very brave person to be so open and honest about your mental health problems. Far too many people think there is a stigma attached to admitting to having such problems, but of course there isn't. Poor mental health is no more a stigma than if it's a physical health problem, the only sad thing is that people can't see what's wrong with the sufferer so that person doesn't always get the sympathy and support of others, which is basically what they need in order to recover. Your husband sounds as though he is really there for you and that's fantastic.
    Keep on digging and growing and of course Blogging your way to better health.

  2. Maureen, You have been such a great supporter of me and the blog. I can't thank you enough. I am trying to break through a barrier here of stigma, you are right. I am emphathetic to others in my situation but when it comes to me, I am very hard on myself - I ought to be better by now!! My husband is my rock.
    I'll keep blogging away, don't you worry - it's my best outlet.
    Thanks again x

  3. Carrie I completely agree about breakign through the stigma and you ARE a brave and wonderful person :)

    Did you mention there were empty plots at your allotment ? Perhaps your local MIND charity, social services, some volunteers and maybe some supprot from THRIVR and you could get a plot going for people with mental health problems.

    Just an idea as it's what I am currently working on in my village and Horticultural therapy has a very good track record of helping people with depression for a start. An NHS funded scheme exits at Bridgend Allotments in Edinburgh. It might be something to suggest to your social worker for something she could put forward to the mental health team in your area.


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