A departure from our usual blogs today. I came across a book with the above title, and bought it. I found it very powerful, and would recommend it both to those who would like to increase their understanding of mental health issues, and those who have been there and might be encouraged by it. Rather than talk about it myself, I’ll hand you over to Paula Peters, the author. The book is downloadable as an e-book for just a fiver here. Here is Paula’s story:
I started writing poetry in 1995 when I was in hospital. I loved writing, and always had a dream to write, but well, didn’t do anything about it until I was hospitalised with Depression. I was encouraged by my key worker in hospital to write my feelings down when I had problems talking to doctors and therapists, and a way of expressing myself was born.
It wasn’t until March 2012, that I wrote the poem Human Beings from my book “Yes I really do hate yo-yo’s”. I read a piece in one of the papers about how society gave a famous disabled person a lot of problems because she travelled on a train in her wheelchair so I wrote Human Beings in response to that. We are human beings, we many have disabilities but I am a strong believer that we are poeple first not a diagnosis. I am Paula not the labels I am stuck with.
In Febraury 2012 I finally decided to join Facebook after saying I never would. I first set up a page called For Disability Discriminaton to be Abolished and then started networking with people. I met fellow disability camapigners and got involved with Disabled People Agaisnt the Cuts (DPAC)
So back to the poetry. I posted on my facebook page Human Beings and people loved it. They said it sums a lot up for people with disabilites, get it out there, so I sent it in to my local mental health charity, Community Options and they loved it. They published it in thier magazine declared it their manifesto and gave me the name of Jason Pegler of Chipmunka Publishing which is a mental health publishing company – a way of getting the service user voice heard and passionate about mental health awareness and de-stigmastising mental health.
So I sent” Human Beings” to Jason Pegler who said he would love to consider publishing me, and I wrote a load more, submitted my mansucript and here I am with a book publsihed to the world to see – “Yes, I Really Do Hate Yo Yo’s: Living with the mood swings of cyclothymia and Rhuematoid Arthritis RA….
I have suffered from a mental health problem since I was a child, and have been hospitalised many times, and have attempted to take my own life many times. Depression is hell on earth, you cannot enjoy anything when so depressed, it is so awful and very, very disabling.
Why did I write? Because I had suffered from terrible discrimination from friends and family and I hated the way the media portrayed people with disabilites in the press. I hate the press saying people with mental health problems are so dangerous when it simply isn’t true so I started writing.
I am passionate about raising awareness of disabilites, showing the world we are human beings, that we have families, friends, likes, dislikes, that we are every day people. I want to show that one in four of society goes to the doctor with a mental health problem and in today’s climate that will worsen. In fact, depression is one of the most common forms of mental illness the GP will see.
Sharing our stories is a great way of raising awareness of our disabilites. I am a firm beleiver of doing that and adding to the de-stimgamtisation debate. To take the pain and sting and shame from mental illness.
I wanted to help people, if my book helps another person going through the hell of depression, admission in to a psychiatric unit, the shame, the loneliness and they get help my book would have done something. I care about people and that is one of the reasons I was compelled to write. If my poetry helps another human being with the hell of depression and they get support then I am glad.
I hope you enjoy my poetry and my book. It is hardhitting at times, but life is. I hope by sharing my story I will encourage other people to write and inspire others to share their amazing stories.
My understanding is that Paula is already working on her second book, and I wish her well with both.
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