‘I can see clearly now, the rain has gone'
My name is Graham. This is me and who I am.
I came to live with NLC (now ubu) in 1985 into the residential home on Harlow Moor Drive. I have always been happy with my own company as I have always struggled in groups or interacting with people for long periods of time. The world was quite perplexing and confusing for me and I had to learn how to live in your world because no one fully understood mine.
When the big houses were shut down and I moved to a smaller house which I coped with very well but the struggles were still real. My mother was my world and she made everything easy for me and taught my staff how to understand me as far as she knew me. I moved into my own flat at Roche Avenue in Harrogate I finally had the space and peace to be myself but then my world fell apart and my mother passed away.
I withdrew from everyone and finally ended up in the hospital for a very long time having a mental breakdown. My staff were so worried about me and didn’t know how they could help except be there with me every day showing me love, patience and time.
My staff team spent time observing and listening to me, figuring out how best they could help me. They learned how to recognise what I needed at the time and how best they can support me to gain control of my emotions but also give me the time to talk, even when I was incoherent, they listened and acknowledged my pain and sorrow. My manager created a support plan for my staff to help me and trained and coached the staff to ensure that everyone had that consistent approach for me, I led my own healing with their support for which I will always be grateful.
I still haven’t accepted my mother’s passing but I know I can live with this. I have worked so hard with my enablers to embrace my world again. It has taken me 3 years to step out of my flat with my enablers and now I need a break. I am going on a holiday this year with my enablers who have shown me continued patience, kindness and love and I trust them to keep me safe and to recognise when I need them and when I don’t.
I have never been a big lover of birthdays, but this is my 70th year and I wanted to enjoy it and celebrate. I had the most delicious and luxurious chocolate cake and everyone sang Happy Birthday with all of my neighbours at Roche Avenue. I was also excited to open my presents and I got what I wanted!
I have big plans for my 70th year and I am intending to mark this year by trying on different things. Even a 70-year-old man like me can still enjoy life to the full and do things out of the ordinary with the support of my enabling team.
So, watch out for my next story to see my next adventures!
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