Speaking at the World Hearing Voices Congress in 2013

I’ve received an email to say that my paper “Supporting someone through a dissociative crisis” has been accepted as a 20 minute talk, and I’ve been asked to create a poster form of “About Multiplicity” for display at this years World Hearing Voices Congress. Hurrah! You can read the abstracts I wrote here. The conference is being held in Melbourne in November. I’m really excited to go again and meet up with some of my amazing online friends. I’m feeling isolated here in SA and I really need the boost – I need to spend time with other people as passionate about mental health reform (and, perhaps, as cynical about the effectiveness of mainstream services). I need to feel part of a worldwide movement. The last time I was able to attend a Hearing Voices conference it had a profound impact upon my mental health work. Because I’m not part of a big organisation I can feel very alone at times. It makes me incredibly sad to see the same myths and misinformation over and over again, to hear the same stories of shaming, alienation, and indignity. It starts to feel like moving a desert with a sieve.

I’m feeling more and more settled about the job choices I’ve been making this year. Crazy as it seems to be focusing on a job in the arts world, it’s easing a sense of exhaustion I’ve been feeling about mental health/community services work. I still care passionately about these fields, but building a home in arts to make a difference in the world feels like a much better fit than trying to build a home in the world of mental health, at least for now. It’s not like mental health is going anywhere… I’m tired of working in such a conservative, conventional sector. I’m tired of being the outlandish one. In art I don’t stand out so much for being alternative. I don’t feel like I’m working so hard to function in an environment that’s basically alien to me. I don’t have so many arguments about boundaries being too harsh, and the need to treat people as equal humans.

Rose says I often come home from peer work shattered. I tend to come home from a day face painting in pretty awful physical pain, but otherwise elated. There’s a joy in it for me that’s very simply about creating something beautiful and making people happy. For now, that’s good enough for me. I’ll work and save to send myself over to Melbourne. I’ll keep the DI Inc running as best I can, with the various groups. And I’ll keep looking after myself.

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