In April we put the call out for more stories to share as part of our #SmashingStigma Campaign. Throughout May we will be sharing blogs about 'Recovery', some from the studio and some from friends who have been inspired to tell their story and support our campaign. This guest blog is from Lynda Jones.
As a child I was in numerous children's and foster homes until finally I was adopted at 4 years old.
No, not a "she lived happily ever after" ending. My adoptive mother both physically and emotionally abused me continuously throughout the rest of my childhood.
I never told anyone, that is; except for the cows and the horses in the local fields, they gave me their undivided attention, never to sneeringly throw my words mockingly back in my face later. At school I was seen as a problematic naughty child by teachers, liked by my peers for my clowning around.
However all those years of suppressed, pent-up emotions had to come out eventually, and whilst living and working in Germany, at 26 years old, my mind could not cope anymore and it went into a total psychotic meltdown.
For the next 7 years I became a 'revolving door' patient, going through both the German and English mental health system, often locked away in seclusion zonked out on copious amounts of toxic medication.
I was so bewildered, so frightened by what was happening to me, still fighting against it, still in denial, running backwards and forwards between Germany and England trying to escape from it all. But you can't escape from yourself can you ?
And that is what a Psychiatrist finally saw and thought, and so began 18 months of intense one-to-one Psychotherapy with him. Oh my! It was tough ! Still in denial I shouted against it, I lashed out against it... until one day I burst into tears, not angry frustrated tears, but tears from my heart, a therapeutic emotional release of all those denied suppressed emotions.
That was the day I took my first genuine steps on the road to recovery.
And now? Would I say I was recovered ? Well for me yes I do, during those months of Psychotherapy I weaned myself off medication knowing I had the 'safety net' in the form of my Psychiatrist to fall back to, if needed. I wouldn't recommend it for everyone, but it worked for me.
I had a "hiccup" a few years ago, but even that I saw as part of my recovery, as I knew the warning signs, asked for help, and went as a voluntary patient into Hospital.
Now I know my limitations, mix with folk who like me the way I am, if possible walk away from the ones that don't, and enjoy life as it comes.
I also use my own lived experience to advocate and work in partnership with others to improve Mental Health Services in Shropshire.
My latest venture is working together with our local Acute Hospitals in bringing about #ParityOfEsteem equally between both our Physical and Mental Health.
Always remembering that my own health is my top priority, I am my top priority.
On February the 11th 2018 we launched a crowdfunding campaign. We want to start a conversation about mental health that is powerful. No more treading on eggshells. We are not invisible, We do not want to be hidden away. Our work in the studio and shop is #SmashingStigma every day, and now we are going to be a little noisier.
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As part of the campaign we are also looking for more blogs about mental health stigma, so please get in touch if you have a story to share.