Laura shares her journey through trauma

I have endured many episodes of trauma and these are the things that have helped me stay on track and now finally there’s green shoots of creativity – the way to express difficult emotions so they don’t overwhelm me!

As a victim of repeat crime I thought my dreams were  over especially when I got sectioned and the medication stopped me singing – that was my purpose in life… But now I have a mixture of things and people in  my life that make being ill bearable even a creative advantage on occasion!!

The beginnings….

Very sadly after unrequited love I went to an ALPHA course dressed as drew Barrymore to signify my wild child demeanour, I was desperate.

The people there were so kind to me and gave me copious amounts of personal attention, my spirit really need addressing and I was longing for spiritual connection to something. I was opened minded and I started going to church. It is so lovely at a church were you get introduced to people like something from a period drama! I stayed at  a local church for many years loving it finding it a necessity but not ultimately surrendering my life to God. The pain and mental illness made me heart hard and numb.

I Dropped in and out of different churches until I volunteered as a fashion stylist for a charity helping vulnerable women. I loved it so much and the lightness of fashion brought me much joy (a first in my life!) that I started going to the church affiliated with the charity and it was the best move I have ever made , even the pastor has cool hair! Praise him! Fashion and faith together – the perfect way for me to express myself and stay grounded with Schizoaffective disorder and life!

My faith has evolved to perfect surrender to Jesus and God and I find prayer restorative and a help in downtime which I need a lot of. I too, now have a frame work and a deep faith in love and kindness as well as the word of God. My path is his, he did not create the suffering – criminals did.

I have been going to this church for some years now and listening to a brilliant and apt daily devotional which helps to keep me on track spiritually. Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu are my heroes and it was through reading about even a little of there lives that helped me forgive my assailants.

I did however lose me job due to mental illness sometime before I volunteered at the women’s charity project and so I had to organise benefits which I was lucky enough to get having worked for so long previously. This has given me the chance to support a life without the ill health and stress endured from working even part time (which I tried ..).

In turn I started volunteering for MIND and after getting to know everyone I started helping with the community well being calls to my local towns people. I love doing this and it’s given purpose and ability to my suffering. The shoe is on the other foot for a little while each call,its nice.

Having the freedom of volunteering has meant I can focus on health appointments and that I can be kind to myself when I don’t sleep.I get up early but I don’t have to set my alarm clock!! Lucky woman!

This too has meant I can attend a weekly Art therapy class. I had done Music therapy thinking as a wannabe singer this might help but I kept wanting to draw during it , trying to sing again when I could’nt was making me too sad . I was bold though and I asked my mental health team for Art therapy as well!!

Alas through what light through yonder window breaks?  A green shoot! Yes! Imperceptibly the therapist has managed to reach me through the creative arts and I have gone from small line drawings and painting badly to really exploring my imagination – something I was once very proud of and gave me confidence it my identity.

I have been drawing every day and praying everyday recently and my dearest wish is to make art accessible to everyone.

I am only learning to draw and express again after years but it is an essential part of my new life!