We seem to find it difficult to celebrate stories of recovery and hope and I am uncertain as to why this is? Is it about people’s fear, stigma/discrimination, we enjoy bad news stories more than good ………? This week I had the good fortune to hear two inspiring stories of recovery. Hope is needed in recovery as it can be a long and hard journey, through sharing and celebrating, I hope we give hope to those who need it now, during and post recovery.
The first was as part of my mental health first aid trainer training. As part of the course there is a plenary session day and we had a talk from Andrew Voyce – Andrew has a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia and sees his life in three 20 year parts. Andrew now lives independently, has studied and achieved a MA in social and public policy, he works and is also an awarded gardener. Andrew is a believer in the power of narrative in being a therapeutic and cathartic activity. To find about more about Andrew and his recovery read his book Side Effects with tells his story of life with schizophrenia and for more about his recovery story https://mentalhealthrecovery.omeka.net/exhibits/show/andrewvoyce
The second story is that of Jonny Benjamin MBE, which I heard at the minds@work event on Thursday evening, where Jonny and Neil (aka Mike) spoke about their meeting on Waterloo Bridge 9 years ago. At the age of 20 he was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, a combination of schizophrenia and bipolar. Last week Jonny attended an investiture ceremony to receive his MBE for his services to mental health and suicide prevention which was announced in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List. On hearing about this award Jonny said “None of this would at all have been possible without my partner in crime, Neil Laybourn, who I feel forever indebted to. Whoever thought that the conversation we had on the bridge 9 years ago when I was ready to take my own life would lead to all of this? It feels really quite overwhelming!” To read more about Jonny and his amazing work http://jonnybenjamin.co.uk/#aboutjonny