Papillon provided a safe space for me to heal. Safe in that here were people who recognised my symptoms, understood them, did not judge me. Yet, they wanted to help me start the process of healing:to see and accept the reality of my illness, attempt to get me on the right medication, build up self-esteem, find the courage to look within and remember what my purpose and loves in life actually are. Removing me from my home environment was essential to my healing. My family were no longer aiding my recovery, even though they were doing the best they knew;my manic presence was exhausting them to say the least.The food provided was nutritious and of sufficient variety. Again this was crucial to my recovery as I either under ate or over ate during my mania, further harming my body.Papillon reintroduced daily structure into my life, starting with a daily schedule each morning.We were given the opportunity to engage in simple artistic activities and colour and music therapy activities, none of which required much intellectual thought, but rather fine motor skills (art classes), or gross motor skills(yoga, bio dancing and adventure therapy);thus engaging in simple concentration which all aided a letting go of obsessive thoughts, which marked my bipolar illness. The drumming therapy allowed me to express myself, free of words and to feel part of a community, something I was severely deprived of prior to coming into Papillon.The equine therapy received was something I never experienced before. I thoroughly enjoyed interacting with the horses. Tears would flow freely….As my six months drew to an end, the team of therapists provided me with more individual focus on my reintegration back to the working world. It was a facilitated effort, always putting the decisions back into my court.Being in contact with other sufferers who had also experienced manic attacks was pivotal in my recovery at Papillon. Sharing experiences outside therapy sessions helped me accept the commonality of the illness. It was a relief to know that others have had mad thoughts like myself…… most bipolar people do. Papillon broke my isolation that this illness had exposed me to.I felt like I became part of a small family again and, over the months, a trust and kingship developed amongst the clients and therapists. I felt safe again.By: Dagmar Delmarco
A letter from parents to the Papillon team +
'Just as the caterpillar thought it was over, it grew wings and became a butterfly' - its name is Papillon.
This portrays our daughter, Jessica's, journey precisely.
I stumbled upon Papillon’s website and it seemed an answer to prayer. Yolande listened attentively to our dilemma and, for the first time, in a very caring and compassionate way, explained to us what was happening to our daughter and assured us that Papillon would be able to accommodate and help her with her recovery.
Jessica arrived at Papillon on the 14th November 2015. She was very fragile... her childhood wings were broken and her brain had simply shutdown.
Papillon proved true to their word. After a month Jessica became well enough to partake in Papillon’s various therapies and day by day Jessica's mind grew stronger. With the support and encouragement from the therapists, social worker and Papillon staff, Jessica's determination and self-esteem strengthened every day. With very relieved and happy hearts we saw her wings starting to grow back.
After completing the six month program and reaching Level 5, Jessica was ready to take the final step to recovery by returning home. It was a joyous moment in our lives... our beautiful butterfly was back home.
Papillon will always be Jessica's second home. She returns from time to time to touch base and attend therapy sessions if she feels inclined to. Should those bumps in the road be a little too large for her to handle, she can rest assured that Papillon will be there with open doors to help her forward.
Although each person’s journey through mental illness differs, there is a common denominator that assists in recovery; that is a compassionate, understanding, encouraging and supportive body. Papillon is all that... a place of rebirth.
We would like to thank Yolande, Brighton, their amazing team of staff and therapists for standing by Jessica while she grew to believe in herself once again.
Lorna and Cobus Cilliers
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