My story is both ordinary and extraordinary. Ordinary because I was searching for the same things many of us search for: love, understanding and purpose; and extraordinary because I had to go through hell to find them. My life was turbulent.
I felt compelled to write my memoirs ‘The Grace of a Nightingale’ which describe my personal journey of self discovery falling in love with nature, animals, music, books, beauty and God. It is a heartfelt odyssey of survival. Even in my darkest moments, I discovered inner courage and faith which brought glimpses of light and hope.
My book attempts to expressively and reflectively trace the stories of my life one of which describes how I nearly died following the insertion of surgical mesh, the biggest health scandal since Thalidomide. In order to survive and thrive after abuse and loss, personal meaning must be made of what has been suffered. The style of this book provides an aid to the grieving process as well as challenge social stigma and discrimination associated with mental health problems. Metaphors are used to make sense of these stories and their ensuing emotions. This helps me move from a place of pain to healing.
We read to know we are not alone,
William Nicholson, Shadowlands
All too often we can feel lonely and isolated by those who reject and avoid us. We find it hard to trust others, which just compounds our sense of rejection and abandonment. Negative self-images projected by those who stigmatise and discriminate against us are transformed within this book. Finding new images for yourself can empower and revitalise you. There is freedom from shame and humiliation as you discover new life enhancing ways to see the world around you. Feeling lost and confused can be traded for new goals and inner strength.
The suffering of pain and abandonment is overcome by the suffering of love, which is not afraid of what is sick and ugly but accepts it and takes it in itself to heal it.
Ilea Delio, The Humility of God
This book shows how to overcome suffering. It is intended to honour and encourage you the reader as you search for healing and love. On my journey through life I have been supported by my ‘mat carriers’, both friends and strangers, helping me to triumph over adversity. And, like all the best stories, there is a happy ending.
This story has also been told by SeeMe Scotland’s Programme to tackle mental health stigma and discrimination.
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