Mind Waves recently had its summer outing to Balloch on the shores of Loch Lomond – my first Mind Waves social. I only recently started helping out with the day to day management of the project. I’m no stranger to the Mind Waves having been a community correspondent for a couple of years. I still continue to view the work I do through the eyes of a reporter with lived experience of mental health issues.
One of the things I really enjoy about my work is meeting the other correspondents, hearing (and reading) their, stories, thoughts and opinions on recovery and wellbeing. Above all that I like to hear about them as people and not as a diagnosis. A day out was a good chance to forget the shop talk and just be with some great people.
Laura, Maureen, Vivienne, Rosie, Ivy, and myself met up at Queen Street to hop on the train to Balloch. It was a typically grey and drizzly Scottish day but the weather done nothing to dampen our spirits as we dished the Fruit Pastilles en route to the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond.
Having only ever attended Mind Waves meetings before I was delighted to see how relaxed everyone was to just go with the flow instead of focusing on a meeting agenda. Of course focus is important at meetings or stuff wouldn’t get done, but it was really nice to see everyone pleasing themselves.
During the journey we decided to visit the Sea Life Centre. As the weather was less than lovely outside it was the sensible option. We spent a good 3 hours in the centre, with a lunch break in the middle where we had a chance to talk about what we’d like to see changes in society creating a mental wellbeing utopia. There will be more on this topic in the coming weeks! Viewing the various aquariums got us all reflecting on the calming effects watching fish can have, which has been the focus of scientific research in recent years.
I think it is fair to say that the highlight of the trip for us all was watching the otter feeding. I personally had never seen otters close up so watching a mother and her two daughters slip gracefully through the water chasing their lunchtime meal was an awesome sight. Now, I’m going to see if my local pet shop sells otters…