Occupational Therapy offers activities which help the patient recover in a number of ways. It helps with memory and concentration, allows the patient to do things in their own time and gives a sense of achievement. The activities can spark off ideas thereby getting the brain stimulated and working again.
There are so many other benefits : interaction with other people, as well as with occupational therapists, an invaluable support network. Patients can talk through any problems. It promotes and encourages assertiveness, decision making, having a laugh which is so important. Patients can be mentally occupied in a relaxing environment. It helps with stamina and can bring a person out of their shell. The resources are useful as a tool to engage the patient in conversation and patients can learn new skills as well as regaining confidence, multi tasking and learning to relax.
Occupational therapy occupies the mind, therefore taking the mind off any symptoms and problems.
What I have found helpful in my recovery
I did the full 6 week programme of Occupational Therapy at Clatterbridge Hospital which was:
Relaxation 3 times a week, healthy lifestyle, cooking, arts and crafts, walking and using the hospital gym twice a week.
I found that the exercise was very good for me and helped with confidence and had psychological benefits as well as feeling better. I benefitted from 3 months at the hospital gym.
I paced myself, was kind to myself and took the pressure off myself. I have found that keeping busy is best for me within my energy capabilities.
I have received input from the early intervention team based at St Catherine’s Hospital:
Working with my care coordinator/community mental health nurse and benefiting from regular home visits, even though sometimes this was hard work and uncomfortable I have found the sessions helped me in my recovery because I was willing to do the work. My nurse has also helped me in other ways, coordinating my care, making arrangements for me, advising me and organising sick notes for me. I cannot praise her highly enough. Without her input I wouldn’t be where I am today. I have been helped by other members of the team as well of course: taking part in activities run by the team such as a music workshop, walking group, cinema group, weekly get-togethers for coffee and a chat (so important for socialising), arts and crafts.
I was invited to take part in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy training on a one to one basis with a clinical helper who was very kind and sympathetic and gave me ideas and encouragement. It included training on managing anxiety. The course was very intensive but of benefit to me. The CBT training has been run on a pilot scheme and so far there has been very good feedback.
I have taken part in various training courses, relaxation sessions and art groups at Wirral Mind. All sessions are free, so they are accessible for everyone.
I have found Voluntary Work very useful as a stepping stone for returning to work. This was advocated by my nurse, challenging myself in different situations, making sure I sleep well. Part of my illness was brought on by sleep deprivation so getting a good sleep pattern established was crucial and I received some great advice from the Home Treatment Team when I returned home from hospital. They suggested not watching television after a certain time because it might be too stimulating for me. This worked for me. I was given particular medication to take and even though I didn’t want to take it at first I realised that it is needed. I am making very good progress and will be returning to work soon.