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Let’s CHAT part 1: How Dan found hope in a big tent thing

November 13, 2012

(Edit: This post was written when I first got involved with CHAT and things were still good. Later when I got more involved with the workings of the organisation, things took a dark and almost life-threatening turn. I’ve left the original posts up for people to see what hopes I had for CHAT and how good things were at the beginning, but for the update on how things changed, please check my more recent post here:


No wisdom today folks, this one’s personal. Boo. Shaddap, grab a coffee, siddown, help yourself to biscuits, and set phasers to Awesome.

It’s a reasonable question to ask, so I’ll open with it: “Where the expletive have you been this past few weeks? I was enjoying your profound wisdom and was inspired by your insistance to persevere despite not being very good at blogging.” Trying to live life is the short answer but there’s more to it than that, and if you’d be so kind as to cue the music, I’ll fill you in. From the start. Like a boss.

It was a glorious day in August when I went along to the Big Bite in Pontypridd’s Ynysangharad War Memorial Park. Or Ponty Park as most people know it because the first one doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue when you have a mouthful of custard creams, as I do whenever possible. I went there primarily to get out of the house; I’d had enough of being a victim of my anxiety and feeling so housebound by my fear. Pontypridd was familiar enough to be reasonably comfortable, but out of the house enough to be challenging, with the wildcard being Other People. I hate those guys.

I wasn’t feeling too terrible but I was feeling far from on top of the world. I was a little depressed, but reasonably positive. Open to new experiences and conversation, but not feeling upbeat, I’m sure most readers would understand, perhaps even all three of you!

I mulled around the various stalls, ultimately disappointed by the massive overabundance of food stalls (though i did buy about £8 of Canadian snacks.) I took a wander into the health and wellness bit and staggered back into the beaming sun just in time for it to rain, tears in my eyes, because I’d just met Jocelyn Duncan and Dennis Laity, a couple who run something called CHAT: Community Health Advice and Training. Jocelyn assured me they could help me smooth out the hills and vales of my depression, in a matter of hours, without medication. I was skeptical, of course, she might as well have told me she could give me a six pack by blowing in my ear, but I’m always on the lookout for support groups and condition management groups to improve myself, because when you suck at looking after yourself and you feel so out of control as I did, it’s worth having a crack at fixing it.

I gave them my number, not expecting to hear from them again, but still with that feeling of hope in my chest, the one responsible for breaking the Grinch’s cardiomeasurement thingy. So naturally I went home and forgot about it.

A week or so later, Dennis called me up to tell me when the course was starting. That’s where the story gets interesting. But this is quite long and I need to make up for lost posts so I’m gonna grab a coffee and start a fresh ramble more specific to the course itself.

Hold onto your potatoes, Dr Jones!

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