"I feel like I have value again"
20 February 2019
Caring for a disabled child whilst struggling with your own mental health can be overwhelming. This is the situation April found herself in, but by re-discovering her passion for poetry again things have got better.
My youngest daughter is disabled and has a progressive brain disease (ARSACS) as well as Autism. I have two daughters and I love them both but caring for their complex needs while trying to manage my own mental health can be difficult. To put it into perspective, next month there are 30 days in the month, and we have 22 appointments.
I have always struggled with anxiety and depression, and I have issues from my past which were quite traumatic.
I also have severe Arthritis and Fibromyalgia and in 2017 I had multiple blood clots in my lungs. Because of these medical and mental health issues I had to stop working. That was difficult for me. When I was working, I felt positive about life. I felt that I was making a difference and I was useful. When I was at work I was ‘April’ and not just ‘Ella's mum’.
Without a job I totally lost my confidence and went into a spiral.
There is very little help out there for people who are not able to work because of ill health, but when I heard about Aspirations I thought they might be able to help me.
I have always been interested in writing poetry. When I was 20 I was even lucky enough to have one of my poems published.
My Aspirations worker helped me find one-to-one poetry lessons and a poetry workshop.
I was nervous about going to the workshop, but I forced myself to go. It pushed me to come out of my comfort zone and that was a good thing: the workshop was amazing and I loved every minute of it. I got to meet some nice people and I have been writing ever since.
Writing helps me because it gets all of my emotions out onto the page instead of festering inside me
I’ve started putting all of my poems online and I’m getting nice feedback from people, some I know and some I don't. Just one comment on a poem means the world to me. It makes me think I'm not completely rubbish.
Writing helps me because it gets all of my emotions out onto the page instead of festering inside me. My husband has seen this passion ignited in me and he sees how happy it makes me.
If any of my poems get published in future that would be out of this world, but even if that doesn’t happen I’m happy with what I’ve achieved. I am going to carry on with writing poetry for the rest of my life. At this point I have shared about 40 poems and I am going to keep writing every day.
For once I am proud of myself.
Aspirations has given me an experience I wouldn't have had otherwise and has reignited my passion of poetry. They’ve made me feel like I have value again.
Some examples of the poetry April has written. See more on her Instagram page
Aspirations is a project funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and the European Social Fund.