The third part of Beccy’s blog series about getting involved in your own care, this time looking at taking positive risks and involvement.
Taking a positive risk
For a group of people who are so good at taking negative risks with our behaviours why do we struggle so much with taking positive risks? I know for me fear plays a big part in it: fear of opening ourselves to others’ judgements; showing what we can do means people will expect more from us; anticipation and expectations of rejection or; heaven forbid, acceptance from others. More often than not these fears are of our own making and just presumptions of what others think of us. We are not mind readers but we sure let our own minds run wild with what we think others think of us, usually ending up judging ourselves much more harshly than others do.
Challenging ourselves and taking risks in a safe supportive environment is an important step to take in our journey to better functioning and self-care in our day to day lives. Learning to work with others with shared goals can empower us to carry on and do more. Realising our opinions and experiences are valued and matter helps us move forward. Navigating and compromising with others to achieve change results in an inclusive plan of action.
There are lots of ways we can carry on with service user involvement. PIA (Personalities In Action) is the network’s service user involvement group. It is an opportunity for us to influence and provide input into the needs of service users of the network both current and future. We’re not all business minded but it doesn’t mean we cannot be of value to the development and running of services. It could be that you’re the social person who likes talking to other service users at break times and interacting with people on a one-to-one basis. You may be more interested in the paperwork side of service development, wanting to give a service users a point of view to remind staff what service users need, what works well and what doesn’t, and how service users may view things differently. Even just making sure documents and wording is in a form we understand.
Then there is everything in between, from the service user support group to training staff in the needs of those with personality disorders. The role of service user consultant is another important way of contributing to service involvement. This is a role where you work alongside staff to facilitate the running of a programme such as Journey. It’s good to pass on what you have learnt from a service to new service users and help them see that change can and does happen. Being a role model to others is very rewarding, both to yourself and others. Being a part of change gives us a sense of pride – seeing ourselves, others, and services evolve is awesome and inspires us to do more. With new technology playing a bigger part in our lives maybe you can think of ways this could be used to better reach service user’s needs. How it could be used differently. Share your ideas on the validate website or at PIA. We’re always wanting new articles, ideas and personal stories of your experiences.