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Reisverslag London meeting (2) and a scary airport experience
12 november 2012
London meeting (2) and a scary airport experience
So here’s the blog. Again I won’t highlight much details of the substance of the meeting, because we were in a drafting process, with rather loose language connecting the dots. It’s quite hard to reflect on that in an accurate way, it will all need to be put into the right shape first.
I can say it was a positive meeting, and we discussed again how Service User Involvement in monitoring bodies could be arranged, and how to secure equal participation and whether there are already some sustainable formats. Yesterday we had set out the first outline, and now we had come to complete the picture by adding topics and creating some balance in the framework (putting things in it’s place). It was again really interesting.
Very often Kay shared her practical experiences of being a service user involved in monitoring quality of care, and I was generally being rather critical towards official forms of quality monitoring (inspection boards, 1 day visits). But Kay and I were still very much on the same line, really complementary to each other. That was a special experience on itself. There was not any competition, we just shared many angles on the issue. The atmosphere was really good and constructive. And Dodo and Rea from MDAC kept on taking notes on everything we said.
And I think in 2 days we managed to establish quite a good framework , that provides basic steps and guidelines for setting up Service User Involvement in quality monitoring of mental health care, institutions and social care facilities. This toolkit will be developed further with all of our expertise in the next months.
And in the process, we might even get a chance to work with the toolkit in practice, during a planned field trip to Moldova, for a training on monitoring, with DPO’s and NGO’s (but the funding isn’t secured yet, so it’s so far just a plan to try out our toolkit there).
It was really a pleasant meeting and a pleasant stay. After the second day Kay left shortly after the meeting, it had been great to see her again. Then Dodo and I went out for dinner and meeting some new friends, who took us out into some nice bars in East London. We danced a bit, and had a great evening.
In the middle of the night Dodo and I returned to the hotel, and I then had about 2 free hours before I had to leave to the airport, so I didn’t go to sleep, but just took a coffee instead. Then I took a taxi, and then a train, and then I was at Stansted Airport at around 5.30 AM, well on time. I was having a good feeling about my London adventure.
But then things took a turn for me. At the security gate they gave me a frisking and used the detection stick, then I was suddenly asked to come along to the Private Search Cabin. I was really scared and shocked, because I have my personal experiences of forced body cavity search in psychiatry. I really was scared. My bag was still on the belt, open, the laptop next to it, my shoes, my mobile, it was all there in the open, and I had to come with the guards, leaving everything out of sight, I felt powerless without even my phone .. without shoes.. I didn’t want to cry, so I stayed strong, and tried to hide my fear (fear may lead to wrong conclusions). The guards gave me another frisking and one with the detection stick, and I had to pull up my legs, my skirt, my arms, and they took my data from my passport and my flight. I had to sign something which I couldn’t read at that time, because I had no time (I had a plane to board in 15 minutes, and I still had to walk to the gate) and I was too upset to read, my eyes were getting wet. I was shaking and I really wanted to get out of that cabin, get back to my bag and my belongings, be left alone. So I signed blindly, because they said: sign here please.. (I felt I had no other option). Then when I was let out, and back to my stuff, the emotions came out. I started crying and I walked to the gate. I got there just in time, last in line. My eyes were big and red, I was still upset, not calm at all. I took my reserved place, and then the man next to me started a nice general conversation with me. That really calmed me down. He was really a nice man. I thank this stranger for talking to me and making me feel calm again. This was such an important gesture to me. Kindness is the greatest thing in life. We had a nice flight together, and by the time we landed in Eindhoven, I was not upset anymore. I was rather exhausted from all of it: no sleep, and the intense emotions, the crying. I was getting numbed after such a long day.
Then at the local bus there were 3 guards, and of course bureaucracy was again present, so I felt trapped again, and I knew I seriously needed some rest to recover from this travel-experience. It had released a lot of old feelings, trauma and so on. I was loaded. I wouldn’t be able to handle much, so I knew I had to relax and get some sleep.
So when I came home, I slept for about 2 days, to recover physically from the exhausting experience. I was totally empty. It had obviously taken much from me. Then after the sleep, I started to realize that I had faced my biggest fear, and I had survived in a good way. It makes me feel so proud and victorious. The fear of airport-checks is now less. I know I can handle it. I was mainly scared of having to go through similar things as in psychiatry, with forced undressing and forced body-checks, even with physical overpowering, and solitary confinement. But I can say psychiatry is a lot worse than the border-security. I didn’t have to undress. But still, it was very confronting, very scary, and finally gave me a lot of flashbacks to a very nasty time of my life. I’m still cleansing myself from this experience. Getting my balance back, and my memories calmed down. For example I remember how I once covered myself with poo as a self defence against forced body cavity searches in psychiatry… and how I hated the women and men doing it.. and the insanity of it all, the powerlessness.. I remember that dark world, which I thought was going to be the end of my life.. Those are very horrible memories of course, which I would rather get out of my daily system before it eats me from teh inside. I must realize I'm out of that bad life now. I'm here and now. I should just give it a place, use it as a source of positive survivor-energy. I’m a survivor, I’m out of that bad life now. My life is actually good now. And I’m really proud of myself, of being a survivor, and I can handle my hypersensitivity at confronting moments very well. Making me even more proud.
So, travelling back from the UK was a real adventure for me. And after some recovery time, I am now able to get over it, and steer my memories to the substance of the meeting in London again. I can feel great about this event. Not only the meeting, but also the personal dimension is making me feel proud. The misery can’t stop me, it only makes me stronger :)
12 november 2012 21:46 | Door: je moeder
Ik ben trots op je!!!