Thursday, 29 March 2012

Order in, chef!

Everyone has been a help to me on twitter, every single person who follows me has helped me in some way. I am writing this piece to pay homage to the chefs of Ireland. Since being diagnosed with a mental health problem, I have found sanctuary in twitter and in many ways it has helped me to rebuild myself and the people who have helped most have been chefs. I have found a hidden love for food and I have found myself going out of the way to impress chefs with my cooking. Now you maybe reading this and saying "what is the point in this post" : I shall explain...

While cooking one Sunday, I had posted a picture of my food and I got a tweet back from Conrad Gallagher telling me he had liked my picture and well done. This for me was like winning the lotto. Mr Conrad Gallagher telling me well done, no feeling would beat it. So lets roll on to the following week, a lady called @lilfoxli suggested that we could have a #sundaycookoff and then the baby was born. To anyone who isn't familiar, #sundaycookoff involves amateur cooks cooking at home on a sunday, posting their pics on our twitter feed and getting judged by a professional chef each week. Now, we had to get a judge so I asked Conrad would he judge #sundaycookoff and he did. The following week I wasn't sure who to ask to judge so I asked Conrad for a heads and he told me to try Gary O'Hanlon. I asked him and he helped. For the past couple of months, @uluruarmgh Dean Coppard has taken on the task of being the weekly judge which I am very grateful for.
I could go on and on for the all the weeks of who helped but I wanted to just get down to the thanks - not just for the #sundaycookoff but for everything.

1. @Gazzachef  Gary O'Hanlon  He always spurs me on, always has words of encouragement about my food and practical advise

2. @chefwademurphy Wade Murphy His kind words and belief with my ideas have been great for my self confidence

3. @OrielCookery Barry Smith His one to one lessons via twitter have helped me and my culinary skills 

4.@uluruarmgh Dean Coppard He has helped me week in, week out, to follow my dreams and also with #sundaycookoff

5.@kajuiter His words of wisdom via twitter is enough to give anyone inspiration

6.@patchefic  Pat always has a kind word to say to me and reads my blog posts

7.@Ivanvarian Ivan has helped me also with #sundaycookoff and cooking and music also

8.@raymoranchef Ray has helped me in the art of culinary books which has also helped me cook and take my mind of things

9.@FQchefess Kate has been a great lady with pushing me on and also helping me find balance

10.@TheHandyKitchen Cormac has been of great support to me via twitter in all the food related things I do

11.@jamzer1 This man and his banter on twitter makes me laugh all the time.

I feel these guys have a very hard job and don't get enough thanks for the job that they do, yet they are very supportive to people like me and I have seen other people on twitter who they lend a helping hand. Not only are they chefs but also pillars of support for people on twitter so I feel they should get a thank you. 

I could go on and on, from the people who send the Direct Messages to the people who tweet me occasionally to the people who tweet me daily. Each one of these people have had a fundamental input in helping me to feel better and have given me goals to work towards and basically are really nice people and this is the way in how I wanted to thank them. So if you wanna do me a favour, follow them and say hi .

Thanks for reading 

Monday, 26 March 2012

Golden Ticket

When you become sick in Ireland and are unable to work as a result of it; as a law of the land you are entitled to a medical card. This medical card gives you free health care, GP is payed for, medication is payed for, all in all, this medical card looks after your health. I have been sick since June. I spent 8 weeks in an adult mental health unit. While in hospital I filled out all my forms. It was explained that I would have my entitlements looked after, my sick pay from the government and that I would receive a medical card. Over the last 9 frustrating months I have been back and forth filling out applications when they told me they hadn't received them, applying online when I was advised to do so by a local health officer, making endless phone calls to follow up my applications, to going to a local T.D. for help to generally worrying and stressing myself out for no good reason.  Now while in the middle of all this mess who do I have to help me ??? no one !
So four applications later, lets pause this story and recap:

1. I was in an adult mental health unit
2. I have filled out the paperwork FOUR times
3.The said four different applications have been lost

What I have just said alone should be enough for a case against the state for mishandling of a citizens own mental health.

So lets fast forward I have been given the run around for 9 months ( a child could have been born ). How in Gods name is this good for a person who 1) needs weekly doctor attention 2) needs to get regular bloods done 3) needs to get certs every week written for the government to say I am still in ill health? I don't know about you but this really makes me sick. I am Irish but writing this piece to share with you really makes me wish I lived some where else in the world.

I have come to think that maybe the health system needs a programme in place that when a patient comes out of an adult mental health unit, that they have an advocate or a peer support worker that can work alongside them and help the person get all their benefits sorted for them, or all in all just a helping hand. It is unfortunate but a reality, that people who leave a mental health unit need help and support because they are delicate and vulnerable.

Lets just hope that this medical card nightmare will end soon!

Hope you enjoyed and thanks for reading.