This week I’d like to introduce a new guest blogger, Tom Pittwood from Brain in Hand. Tom is a researcher and training supporter for this company who are exploring ways to use technology, specifically mobile devices, to support independent living. Here Tom talks about his personal experiences with this technological support system.
I do not like anniversaries at the best of times, birthdays, Bonfire Night, and the worse of them all Christmas, a forced reminder that another year has gone and what have I done with it? At least these events are cheerful, last year I was given a lousy anniversary to commemorate the death of my father. Now I am not a massive user of the Traffic Light System, however issues surrounding dad’s death are convoluted and highly charged, everyone has an opinion and all I wish to do is find my own thoughts. The mentors on the Traffic Light Service do this; you are comforted by another human being without an agenda, and eventually the thoughts flow properly. I still feel a sadness deep down, but at least thanks to Brain In Hand I do not feel full of guilt fuelled anxiety.
We are in the process of founding our own in-house Brain In Hand mentoring service and it was to them that I had the pleasure of speaking during this harsh period. Their attentiveness has greatly encouraged me to use the Traffic Light Service more often, my mum needs the rest.
As much as I dislike anniversaries, a massive unchecked mountain of time is just as terrifying. In a recent talk I compare time to Everest vast, overwhelming, and intimidating. It would be impossible to scale Everest in one go, hence why they have five camps up it, so that people may rest, become acclimatised to the new heights and perhaps most importantly to appreciate and celebrate what you have achieved.
It is this ability to celebrate these little successes that is one of the advantages of Brain In Hand. I used to be obsessed with getting on, going further, and because of that I never appreciated a “win”, so I was tired, wound up all the time and had a rather low self-esteem.
I find that most anniversaries do not mark achievements. A birthday to survive one more year when living in Western Europe is not much of an achievement. Christmas, just means it is cold and dark, and there is nothing to do because everywhere is closed. Therefore these artificial markers just remind me another years has gone but not what I have done in it. This brings me back to Brain In Hand, and why it is so important that everything on the Brain In Hand is written by the User so that that can note and celebrate those thing they consider an achievement not just a marker of time.