Mark York has suffered from extreme anxiety and hears voices. His residential care provider, Dignus Healthcare, says he rarely went out because so many things frightened him. Here is his account of a recent trip to Blackpool, with support workers Sunny and Martin.
I was awake early this morning because I knew it was my day out at Blackpool, Amrita gave me my breakfast and medication, Sunny was collecting the car while Martin made me some sandwiches, and a flask of tea.
After we left I was really excited and couldn’t wait to get there, it was a beautiful day and my two top men were at my side – Martin and Sunny said they had “got my back, man…”
We arrived at Blackpool at around 10:45 and it was still sunny, I had my picture taken with a horse that was very smelly.
I also found a street sign with my name on it, York Street and I got a shot of that too.
After this we walked a little further down the street, which Martin informed me was called the golden mile because of the length of the beach along the front.
I felt very happy about what we had already done and felt a little emotional but in a good way, Martin and Sunny picked up on this straight away and slowly calmed my nerves.
I was a little overwhelmed, there was so much to do and see, Martin and Sunny both said they had visited Blackpool before and knew what to expect but said they would show me in good time so not to exited me too much, I am having the best day I can remember.
After we rested a bit we continued with the day, all around me were bright shiny and flashy things, I was desperate to buy. Martin suggested I was like a woman and said men are not so impulsive but I was having none of it, I was spending and that’s it. I picked up a pair of glasses on my own and went inside to pay, Martin and Sunny watched me from a distance to see how far I could get without help, they were very pleased with my independence and patted me on the back and said well done, I was proud I had done this but knew they were both watching me like hawks so I felt safe and comfortable, they checked my change and continued with the day, I felt a lot calmer after this and settled down very quickly
Further down the street Martin and Sunny knew of a place we could spend some time inside. The place was called Coral Island, it was massive , there was a casino, a rollercoaster, rides, amusements and lots of different games. There was also an electric chair which I had a go on, we took lots of great pictures in here, the flashing lights or crowds didn’t bother me one bit but I am involved in these situations more and more due to the skilled support I was getting on the day and from my friends at school house front.
Eventually we came to a waxwork museum but it was really expensive so we didn’t pay in but Martin and Sunny were really cheeky today so we entered the foyer anyway, inside were two waxwork models of dell and Rodney Trotter. Sunny suggested we should definitely take some shots as it was a one shot deal and should take the chance today, it paid off because we got some great shots. I also had some pictures taken with the van outside.
After we left the Coral Island we crossed the road to the pier, this place was full of fairground rides and food outlets. Sunny said I should try out driving on the dodgems with Martin. I was really excited about this because I had told Sunny I would like to do this a couple of days ago. They told me if there was anything I wanted they could make it happen, we collected some tokens from the kiosk and paid the man. Iwas a little nervous but more exited, Martin got in the car with me but only to help if things got difficult, I loved it and showed Sunny and Martin what a good driver I was.
We walked a little further down the pier and sat on a bench overlooking the sea to eat our sandwiches and have a drink, it was a good time for me to stop as I felt a little emotional with all the excitement, but Martin and Sunny already knew this which is why they orchestrated the break for me.
After a while we took a gentle stroll off the pier on to the beach, I found this very calming and was able to slow down as it had been a rollercoaster of a day.
We started to collect sea shells but I got fed up, I wanted more fun. Collecting sea shells was nice but I had experienced so much more. Sunny and Martin said I was an adrenalin junkie and a party animal. We left the beach and walked along the front of the shops, I helped Sunny and Martin choose their rock and also brought some for myself and on my own with just watchful eye from my two mates Sunny and Martin.
After this I still felt I wanted to do more so they took me to the Reflex bar and nightclub, there were flashing lights and loud music.
I had a drink but couldn’t wait to get up and boogie so I did sunny filmed me doing this and I felt fantastic, Martin and Sunny were really cheeky and asked the man behind the bar if they could borrow his big inflatable guitar so I could have my picture taken with it.
I have had a fantastic day, all good, no problems and look forward to Martin and Sunny taking me to Tenerife soon. Once we had brought our gifts we walked slowly in the sunshine back to what Sunny called our tractor. We finished our sandwiches, had a cup of tea settled down and began our journey home.
I was getting tired by this time and found it difficult to sleep in the car but I was glad to be home but look forward to the next day out, I know Blackpool will take some beating but I can’t wait, I will never forget today’s events. Thank you for making me feel special, thank you all.