As I sit contemplating my yearly boxing day blog, I am wondering were to start, going back to October 2021. I was working as a relief worker for Two Saints at their Acton Lodge Hostel, a support worker had resigned due to his ill health giving a month’s notice, as a replacement had not been found, the manager asked me if I would like to work in the community rather than being hostel based. Working in the community would mean supporting clients in sublet accommodation, as well as clients in hostels awaiting sublet accommodation, the clients had previously been homeless suffering with drug, alcohol, and mental health issues. I jumped for this new opportunity as I wanted to do more to help clients, rather than day to day hostel duties. I explained to my manager that I had no experience of support work, but I would love to give it a try, as I hoped to become a full-time support worker, I had applied for the vacant position. this would mean I would have practical experience, and it would support my job application.
I feel I have learned important lessons during my time employed by Two Saints. I will discuss the lessons I learned throughout this blog. January 2022 started with me suffering with covid. Although I felt I had recovered enough to do my first service, which was a zoom demonstration of mediumship for Bognor Spiritualist Centre, the meeting went well although my voice became hoarse, and the meeting was called to time, fortunately before my voice gave out. A private reading with me was raffled, I was told lots of people had bought raffle tickets, because the reading would be with me, I know this sounds arrogant, but it made me feel good to know that my spirit team’s work, through me was touching heart’s helping people and making it’s mark.
I started out with a caseload of ten clients, and considered as a complex caseload, because of the client’s lifestyle, addictions, and mental health. I realise now as I am writing that I had bitten off more than I could chew, I started to realise that I had been thrown in the deep end. As a relief worker I was not entitled to travelling expenses, but I was expected to visit clients using my own car, and I had to get business insurance for my car, as at times I would have to take clients to professional appointments, such as doctors, dentists, and hospitals, or to the council, or to get benefit assessments, or to move clients from one property to another with their belongings. I was also not entitled to a company phone, as I could not give clients my personal phone number, this made things difficult, if a client wanted to phone me they had to leave a message at hostel for me, or if I needed to phone a client. I would have to drive back to hostel to phone them, or call hostel staff to call the client to give them a message from me.
In January 2022 I was interviewed for the role of support worker along with other candidates, I was unsuccessful in my application, and the job was offered to another candidate. I was a bit miffed as since October 21 I was working the vacant post without the correct renumeration, phone or training to do the job being asked of me, my manager asked me to do certain online training courses, but when I tried to do the training courses, I was not allowed to do them as I was still a relief worker. A week or so later I was told they could not employ the successful candidate in the community role, as she did not have a car or driving licence, she had started work at a hostel a bus ride from her home.
I was offered the support worker role. In hindsight I should have rejected the job offer, because it was clear I was second choice for the role, as a colleague reminded me a few days later. But I was happy as now. I would be working on a full-time basis, the working hours were 9am-5pm, which would allow me to earn a decent wage and accommodate my spiritual service, on the 7th February 2022 I started work aa a homeless recovery worker, not only did I have to manage my caseload, a new world of training had opened up for me, which meant I would lose alot of time to do training. I was working longer and longer hours to keep up with my caseload and the admin that comes with it, my predecessor had not done up to date support plans for the clients I had inherited from him, or arranged housing benefit for a client , which led to extra workload, with me asking lots of questions, as I had never dealt with housing benefits before.
It was at this point I realised I was becoming stressed, with my workload as I was working extra hours to keep up, also doing 3-4 services a week online and in person. I was not getting anytime for myself and quality time with my wife. I just seemed to be constantly working, the only respite I seemed to have was when it was time to sleep, as in the darkness of the night there was no expectation of me. and I could relax, at times I still had to meditate to relax enough to sleep, as to what I needed to do or worrying about what I may not have done was heavy on my mind, me and my wife had booked a 11 night cruise to the canary islands in March, which I was very much looking forward to, as I had never been on a ocean cruise before, and it would be a break from everything visiting new places, a time to rest and relax and spend time with my wife, who I missed as I was always working, and hoping to be inspired by the sea to write new poems.
My wife and I were very excited to travel to Portsmouth, to board our cruise ship the valiant lady 21/03/22. We were greeted with a champagne reception when we boarded, my wife and I had booked a rock star suite on deck 11 at the stern of the ship, we sailed later that day having a gorgeous steak dinner before bed time, it was an 80’s cruise and live entertainment was provided by Martin Fry of ABC, Toyah Wilcox, Annie Logan of Altered Images, and Carole Decker of T’Pau, and Tony Hadley of Spandau Ballet. It was great to see them perform their hits live, over the cruise back in the day I loved all of my heart by ABC, and always wanted to see it sung live, so to watch Martin Fry singing All Of My Heart was truly my best highlight of the cruise, Veronica spent the first two days of the cruise in bed sea sick, to cut a long story short, the food was great and to a very high standard, the staff were wonderful, but other than the 80’s entertainment, there was not really much else to do on board the ship, apart from drink and lie on a sun lounger, there was also a blues band that entertained during the day in one of the bars.
Our cruise was struck by tragedy as a passenger had to be airlifted to hospital, due to a medical emergency, and we had to sail back a few hours so the helicopter could reach our ship, a man committed suicide by jumping overboard, he told his wife he was going to get some air as she was going to bed, his wife woke up 8 hours later to find that he had not returned to her, and a ship wide for him began, he captain made a tannoy announcement that the man was seen on cctv, jumping overboard and that no one else was involved, under maritime law we had to sail back to the man’s last known position, and search for him, we sailed back and the ship carried out a 100 mile search with the help of the French coastguard, once we had reached the search area me and Veronica and many passengers looked out to sea to see if we could spot him. The man was not found and an eerie silence fell upon the ship, our hearts going out to his wife and family.
Our cruise had been badly delayed, but it was no one’s fault the tragic circumstances for the delays, could not have been anticipated, it meant for me and Veronica that we spent a lot more time at sea watching movies in our suite, day trips were cancelled and our time in port was shortened, we did manage to visit Santa Cruz, Gran Canaria, Tenerife, and Lisbon. But basically it was just like being dropped off at the shops, in Tenerife me and Veronica walked around the shops and had coffee in a cafe, I remarked to Veronica “we could have done this in Eastleigh”. In Santa Cruz we hopped on board a coach trip that took us around the local sights and places of historical interest, with a very informative tour guide, that was a lovely day.
We landed back in Portsmouth 01/04/22, we saw the new Royal Navy aircraft carrier The Queen Elizabeth. to be bluntly honest I could not wait to get off the ship and go home, as I felt quite depressed this may sound very ungrateful, but due to spending a lot of time at sea with nothing much to do except eat and drink, and the tragedy that had occurred on board, coupled with the stress I thought I would escape from with this cruise, my mental health was way worse than before the cruise. I do feel blessed that me and Veronica could afford the cruise, but tragedy aside I guess cruising is not for me, tragedy aside my Veronica loved her time at sea and we may book another cruise in the future,
I returned to work 04/04/22 as expected I spent the first day replying to and actioning received emails, and visiting clients over the next 3 months my work load got heavier and heavier due to staff sickness, and being expected to cover hostel duties, as well as my own caseload and my off sick colleagues caseload, this I shared with another colleague who was also feeling stressed about he extra workload, I also had 2 complex clients that were being evicted and moved to another address, plus another client who I was trying to get sublet accommodation for, this involved a lot of report writing phone calls and emails, I was working longer and longer hours to keep up with my work load, coupled with doing 3-4 demonstrations of mediumship a week, I was not getting any adequate rest or quality time with Veronica, more than once I would get home at 7pm a quick meditate and tune in, and would be demonstrating mediumship by 7.30pm. During April 2022 I self published my collection of poetry titled Reflections on Amazon UK.
Over time I was becoming more and more stressed and anxious, as I could not keep up with my caseload and the workload it generated, I was also having to take time off to do training, which was giving me less time to focus on my workload. I had already resigned once before but was talked out of it by the service manager, things were coming to a head as I was becoming more and more stressed and dreading going to work each day, I took a weeks holiday in July, to decide what I was going to do with my life, and whether I could cope with stress and anxiety, and continue to do my job also realising the stress and anxiety, was getting harder and harder to rise above, and this would have a very negative effect on my spiritual service and marriage, my mental health was effecting my physical health as I was finding it very hard to sleep.
I unloaded my worries and woes onto my spirit guides, Red Cloud advised me if I did not find balance soon in my life, I would become to ill and I would be no good to anyone, and it would cut my pathway short, and they with me would not be able to achieve future service, I was reminded when I worked for an agency working around my spiritual commitments, I was rested and the household finances did not suffer, this was a lightbulb moment for me, although I realised Red Cloud was stating the obvious, my stress and anxiety was really affecting my train of thought, I decided to resign from Two Saints and go back to working for an agency so I could earn money have a better quality of life, and be well and rested enough for my spiritual service. 11/08/22 was my last day of working for Two Saints, it was a frantic day trying to complete the tasks my service manager and unloaded on me that day, I was full of stress and anxiety, my service manager asked me to return as a relief I told her I would think about it, a colleague asked me if I would come back as a relief, I told her with the way I was feeling I would not be back, staff had a collection for me, I received a lovely farewell card a bunch of sun flowers 2 bottles of my favourite wine sauvignon blanc and a box of maltesers, I was touched by their generosity.
My colleague Louisa invited me for farewell meal and drinks after work, I picked her up at the hostel she worked at and ranted about the events of the day, but I was touched she wanted to say a proper farewell to me, the sun was shining we sat in a pub garden had a drink and a meal which was most welcome I dropped her off in Gosport after the meal and went home, feeling relief about leaving my job and sentimental about my time with Two Saints, a curious mixture of emotions. I took the following week off to meditate and rest to get my stress and anxiety under control, midweek I went back to driver hire and signed on with them, a temp to perm job with meals on wheels was mentioned, I told them that the hours suited me and the hourly rate was good, I had a current DBS certificate so I start straight away, 22/08/22 I started work with meals on wheels and I have not looked back.
I am currently applying to work for meals on wheels full time on a 22 hour contract, which accommodates my spiritual service, I am renewing my DBS certificate once that is done I will be full time with meals on wheels, my stress and anxiety did not dissappear, it took a lot of meditation and self healing before I felt myself again, so I say to all take the time to be kind to yourself especially with mental health, myself and Veronica had a lovely week in York, to celebrate our 3rd wedding anniversary 07/09/22, sadly HM The Queen passed away 08/09/22, myself Veronica and the whole nation felt her loss as she was the only Queen we had known throughout our lives from birth, whilst in York I was invited to demonstrate trance healing at Harrogate Spiritualist Church, which was an honour and a blessing to do, 11 people received healing that night, also people saw loved ones and guides appear in the cabinet.
Spiritually I have got busier and busier, I am very blessed to say my 2023 diary is full, 2022 has taught me that I am not 30 years old anymore and I cannot do now what I did then, work full-time and do 3 demonstrations of mediumship a week, I have not got the energy I had 32 years ago, but hopefully now I have things in place, whereby I have balance in all areas of my life and the energy to fulfill all my commitments, I have also learned that I am not as mentally tough as I thought I was, and that self care with mental health is just as important as physical health.