I got referred by my doctor. I felt a bit funny coming here at the start because I’m younger in comparison to some of the other people who are here. But after a few weeks you just fit in, everyone’s in the same boat.
I wanted to make something as a keepsake for my little boys. My youngest, Callum, is 5 and my oldest, Toby, is 8. I have loads of photos but nowadays we just keep them on our phones and never print them, never see them. So I wanted to do a project where I could put the photos on a pillow that they could cuddle.
I’ve made one pillow for Callum and one for Toby. I found the pillows I wanted, really nice ones, they’re really fluffy and I had some photo’s printed on fabric that I was able to sew onto the pillows. The majority of the pictures I used are of me with them, but there are also other things, like one of a love heart that Callum made out of a bread and butter crust, and one of Toby flying on my feet in an aeroplane position. Things that they will remember and that I remember them doing. I’ve put the pictures on one side and on the other side I have comforters which I’ve used to make a pocket, so they can put messages in for their Daddy if they’re feeling sad, or messages for me. I also added one of my handprints as well so that if they ever want to hold me I’m there.
I worked on it predominantly with June, one of the staff members, who’s been an amazing help. The support from June and other daycentre staff has been really great, and it’s been fun as well.
It’s been more than just making a pillow; it’s about being able to get to the day centre, and feeling like I’ve accomplished something, and feeling proud of what I’ve done. It’s given me an incentive to get here because some days when you’re thinking about getting out your house you just don’t want to do it. Because I have this project that I work on every Tuesday, even if I have a whole week where I’m feeling really bad I make that my day to push myself to get out - June helped me to learn that.
I’ve tended to stick with crafts in the day centre but there are lots of other things you can do too, like music therapy. Sewing was totally new to me so they’ve taught me that and that’s happened for other people in the day centre too. A few people have taken up music therapy and at the start they didn’t think they’d be able to make a song or a poem. Tom (the Sobell House music therapist) is so good at getting you talking that before you know it you’ve got a whole poem. There’s one lady who is attending at the moment who now has a whole book of poems! She’s created things for the whole family to do, for example she’s written a poem and her daughter has written it up in calligraphy and then they’ve got pictures to go with them from her younger children, so it’s amazing how it’s all fit together. That’s how it’s worked for me too with my pillows.
I’m staying on the ward at the moment, I got here yesterday and I was in a little while back too after coming into the day centre. The staff here, they can’t do enough, it’s just amazing. They’re like walking angels. Coming to Sobell House has been an amazing experience and I wouldn’t change it for the world. It’s helped me in many ways, even with things just like getting out of bed, getting dressed, getting showered. It’s helped me to function. And then they do lovely coffees and cakes and dinners. I’ve been very well looked after.