Tell us your story Andy

Tell us your story Andy

Andy’s story

Grows up with sister and family in Kent.

After A levels a ‘break free attitude’ takes him to Israel to the kibbutz working in a communal village as a bit of a break before University. 

Returns home to earn some money gardening and then travels to Asia. 

Bangkok through Thailand to Singapore and onto Sumatra. 

Returns to go to Salford Uni to study 3D design feeling quite rooted and settled.

Down South

Travels back down south for a job, working hard and a hectic lifestyle.

Things start to unbuckle a bit with two bouts of heavy flu leading to M.E or chronic fatigue syndrome. 

Eventually has to leave job.

From an immediate bed laden state this leads to 2 years of challenges with health.

Eventually starts some work again in a bike shop, building up to 4 hours a day, 4 days a week.

Marries and moves north.

Goes through the works wrestling with work life balance.

‘I’ve found we try to define ourselves in our society with an 8 hour days, 5 days a week ‘normality’ but that’s not for me. Therefore I found it useful to dip into sympathetic environments where I can come and go depending on my energy levels’. 

Currently working as he can, managing the challenges of his energy day by day, while being a dad to a wonderful family.

In conclusion an all-round good guy who you could only wish the best for, for the future.

Wisdom

I was once advised to ‘Look at the highs and lows of mental health, trim off the highs, pull through the lows, try to work in the steady, middle ground.

Image response to Andy’s story

Keep it steady band idea

steady band
Highs and lows

Fancy joining in?

Everyone has a story to tell. Everyone’s story is valuable.

Share some stories from your life with a view to encouraging others by sharing the ups and downs of your journey, with opportunities to join in with some creative responses if you want to!

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Three Ladies

Three Ladies

Stories from three ladies

Well, it is a listening project! An insight into life and history. Tales told by three ladies chatting and overlapping. Priceless.

Three Ladies poem
Three Ladies image

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Everyone has a story to tell. Everyone’s story is valuable.

Share some stories from your life with a view to encouraging others by sharing the ups and downs of your journey, with opportunities to join in with some creative responses if you want to!

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Family Tree

Family Tree

A family’s story

So we chatted and discussed family trees.

Once you look, you begin to see how you fit, find out who you don’t know and perhaps who you do.

Once you look, you can get sucked in. Into the global human web, unearthing revelations and deviations.

It can be a lesson in acceptance of colourful histories, our mixed ethnicities and an insight into that fact we’re all far more connected than we understand, or perhaps we’re lead to believe.

family tree peom
Family tree image

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Everyone has a story to tell. Everyone’s story is valuable.

Share some stories from your life with a view to encouraging others by sharing the ups and downs of your journey, with opportunities to join in with some creative responses if you want to!

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Tell us your story AD

Tell us your story AD

AD’s story

Born in London , spends 10 years in West Africa 1970-80. Islands, beaches, beauty. It was a cosseted community having lots of fun!
Her mum moved them back to London in 1980 into Grandparents house. London was a bit of a culture shock. She’s unsettled at school, being on the receiving end of some bullying.

Early 1980’s moves to Ascot with mother and then to the North West. Mum has some health challenges which leave ‘A’ left to navigate life herself a bit and learn her own life skills. 

Goes to Manchester Poly where she can be herself a little more but prolonged psychological challenges mean she leaves to return home to take a year out. She discovers art at her old school and has the sense of wanting to belong somewhere.

Applies for art foundation in 1992 and goes to Swansea institute of visual arts. Struggles with agoraphobia and self harm and returns home. Eventually goes to Chester Uni as a mature student in hr late 20’s. Suffers with her mental health, mother is a good support. Suffers four breakdowns each time getting back up but not fully addressing the bigger problems.

Working

Lands Oxfam job in 2001, volunteering that helps her keep on an even keel. That experience leads to a job at Laura Ashley. Meets her future partner and also has more contact with her Father.

Support

Enters into Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and although her health improves. Has to visit Bowmere Hospital with much heavier mental challenges and ‘the weight of the world on her shoulders’, but:

‘I always knew I was in there somewhere’. 

After 3 months returns home and receives heath support. Starts the slow step by step of going out of the house.

‘Some people can fudge life, like ‘functional addicts’ for example, but not me. I couldn’t be half me’. Starts to accept herself, which feels like a key step. ‘I need to work with what I’ve got. I am who I am’.

Gets taken to creative writing classes, grows in confidence and starts voluntary work at a local shop/cafe. Qualifies as an adult learning tutor winning student of the year award.

Joins EA for emotional support. (12 tools for living).

Starts to run therapeutic art classes and is paid and feels she belongs. Runs voluntary art classes at an art cafe for 3 years. Continues to meet with people from the art cafe as an informal creative, community support group.

Gains PGCE degree! ‘in a better mental space’. Offers online teaching as an adult learning tutor regarding wellbeing skills.

Death of her father causes her to unravel and is unsure she wants to continue to teach. Looks to start expressing her creativity and finds a cafe and community space to express realising:

‘My creativity is an important part of me’.

‘Creatives suffer if they don’t use it. It’s important to find an outlet. Support groups are great both to give to and get from. I’ve realised what’s important to me, and finding a way to explore those things’.

After quite a journey, now active and making a positive difference in the community.

Wisdom:

‘Don’t compare yourself with others but open up and risk being yourself, everyone else is taken’.

‘The only failure is if you don’t try’.

Insight:

There are more chances in life than you think!’

Telling my story was very helpful for me. I have unravelled a few times in my past. Like an old jumper, it means something can be created again as the wool is knitted back which is a better version.

The difference between my past unravellings is that they were very unmanageable and I didn’t know how to cope. This year (and at times over the past few years) I unravelled in a different way where I had the tools to start knitting again almost immediately – or perhaps I just darned a few patches!

Image response to AD’s story

Unravelling and rebuilding.

unravelling but rebuilding image

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Everyone has a story to tell. Everyone’s story is valuable.

Share some stories from your life with a view to encouraging others by sharing the ups and downs of your journey, with opportunities to join in with some creative responses if you want to!

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Tell us your story B

Tell us your story B

B’s story

TW//Alcoholism

Born 1949. Had a very good childhood and a working life travelling the globe with I.T. in the UK, Japan, USA and Australia.

It developed into a life of excess of drinking for 46 years, the last 3 years really bad. Has a sudden, profound insight that:

‘I can’t do this any more’. 

Calls an alcohol support group and on the 31st August 2011 goes to first meeting. Initially leaves quite quickly but returns the following week, and for the next 11 years.

Linked into a ‘sponsor’ or ‘guide’ from the support meeting who shares what they did in the programme and takes the first step in admitting and understanding that there is a problem. His ‘sponsor’ was a good person who helped him understand  his inner workings both good and bad. 

Beyond the 12 step programme

Finds the 12 step program too religious in some of it’s language and found it challenging that people were encouraged to believe in something rather than understanding their own mind and thoughts.

Feels that understanding the difficult things from early life can be a good start point but realises it does need fully dealing with if those things are uncovered as it can be a traumatic thing.

Realised in the meetings that others that had more difficult childhoods and people can carry this forward into their adult life. For him there was no such early life trauma.

Time working for the Samaritans supporting people.

Because of the religious language in the programme he turns to meditation as another way to ‘be’, and understand himself. Wants to understand more of his feelings in reacting to life and being able to recognise emotions like anger and being able to accept and let them go.

Still believes in the 12 step programme as a bridge to normal living but didn’t want to get stuck in that system and wanted to move on into real life again. 

Being more present

Now seeking to be more present in his life and realises:

‘The only time we are alive is now.’

Currently illustrating a book about facing your problems, understanding yourself, and living a good life. Also seeking to create a space where people can chat and interact as a way of getting to know themselves and being able to function in society. Along the lines of the Frazzled Cafe.

Someone who’s turned their life around and wants to help and support others through his ideas.

One can only shake his hand and wish him well.

Insight

‘If you’ve got one foot in the past and one for in the future then you’re in the perfect place to crap all over the present!’

Image response to B’s story

Date of insight and age when B started to turn his life around.

I can't do this anymore image

Fancy joining in?

Everyone has a story to tell. Everyone’s story is valuable.

Share some stories from your life with a view to encouraging others by sharing the ups and downs of your journey, with opportunities to join in with some creative responses if you want to!

Find out more about Acts