In December 2009 I was sectioned for the second time in my life. It was not long before Christmas and it was a Katie, an admission and a Christmas I'd like to wipe from my memory bank.
I recently met with Mind’s Infoline team and shared that experience with them and what led me down that path.
You may wonder why I would volunteer to go and do a presentation for them?
I even asked myself why. I knew in my heart, after reflecting back on how the experience is etched on my mind and those close to me. I knew why I had to after something my sister said: "Katie why did they section you before Christmas? I didn't understand why you weren’t with us that Christmas."
I couldn't answer that question, either.
That is why I volunteered to meet the Infoline team. If my sister felt that way, how many other sisters, family members, and even myself if I was in that moment again, would want to ask for help but wouldn't know how. Sometimes, you don’t even know what is it you’re exactly asking, or if it’s appropriate to ask. The feelings of fear, panic and being left out in the darkness. It all made me realise that if I felt that I couldn’t ask, and if my family felt that way, how many more would also feel like they’re alone with no one to ask?
Where would you turn for advice and guidance? I know if I was to go through that again, I would tell my family to ring the Infoline as they take calls relating to similar issues. For that reason I wanted to get involved and support the Infoline in some way. So donating my experience and my family’s, was my way of supporting the Infoline, in the best way I knew.
The staff from the Infoline amazed me, the passion they had for wanting to make each call matter and to make a difference. I was extremely nervous from moment I submitted my interest into Sam (who I liaised with from Mind). He reassured me in the build up and was interested in what I was going to put together. I felt settled and reassured that I could support the Infoline by sharing my experience and the affect it had on my family.
When I went to see them, the Infoline staff made me feel settled, welcomed and were lovely to meet with. They showed the amazing character they had and welcomed me with open arms. At times I could see in their eyes just how passionate they were to go above and beyond. They did not feel sorry for me; they showed empathy for me and for my family. Empathy has been the one key thing that's lacked in my journey.
They asked me questions, like how I'd have wanted to be spoken to on the phone and how my questions could have been answered. Or what my mum and sister would have wanted to know, and how their questions could have been answers. They knew the answers and spoke about their own personal experiences. For me I know that if I needed a friendly ear, I know that the Infoline team truly care and would offer me the best guidance they could.
This December, Mind are asking for donations to support the Infoline. My December wish is if you need support or if you want to support a loved one, don't feel isolated, phone the infoline. And please, if you can, donate. Please support the infoline. Make a difference, so they can make a difference to someone who calls. So they can be the friendly person supporting someone who, like I did that Christmas, may be feeling vulnerable, frightened and alone.
Mind Infoline - I thank you for being there and making a difference.
Katie has her own blog on Facebook.