Depression ate my soul

Creativity and recovery: this is the title of a new collection of poems by Sue Holt exploring her journey into faith and mental illness and how she has learnt much about life and recovery. Below is the inside cover story from her book and a couple of poems:


I found myself washed up upon a beach amid those I loved, my husband, son, family and friends.
My mind confused I also needed the support of strangers. There have been numerous people who have come into my life since 1997, on the surface ordinary people.
I spent many months in and out of the psychiatric wards at Birch Hill, Rochdale. I shared my life with fellow patients and nurses. I have had dozens of community workers, psychiatrists, therapists, and counsellors; the list goes on. A sea of faces all mingling together. I do not remember them all.

Throughout that time supportive friendships developed, leading to long-lasting changes to my outlook of life.
There were lots of pebbles on my beach, but every now and then I would find a real gem. I can tell you I wanted to hold onto them, carry them in my pocket, or find a spot on a shelf somewhere. Yet, I knew they were only with me for a short while, as it should be. I must admit it was with great reluctance that I placed a few upon the beach, to become hidden, perhaps, never to be seen by my eyes again.
From time to time I needed huge pieces of driftwood and I am grateful to say I discovered it, other times just a white shiny pebble was enough. The bedrock of my life who listened in bewilderment, through my snotty tears and wet crumpled pieces of tissue will always be Dave, who provides me with a place of safety and space to grow. Dave encouraged me to develop my many, "one-off" interests and creative talents.
T.J enabled me to stay focused upon what was truly important in life,  he didn't see my illness, I was just his mum. He has been instrumental in designing the front cover and formatting "Depression Ate My Soul."
"Depression ate my Soul" is in appreciation of all those I found on my beach and the times we shared, before they moved on to other beaches, whilst admiring those that choose to remain. Yes I have faith but I needed pebbles too. Thank God for pebbles.
Creating History
The future is in the Lords hands
seeing glimpses, from time to time is certainly strange,
watching, waiting for the truth to be revealed
I believe my history is shaping the future
my life destined to play a part
the enormity of this causes panic, anxiety, fear, all unnecessary
my Lord, is guiding, coaching me, developing strengths, within.
God, Himself  knows I am flawed, I believe He told me long ago
through my weakness, strongholds would be smashed
God, does not want others to remain trapped
He is reaching out His amazing love to those crying out.
The Book Launch
I wrote a book of past hurts, humiliation pain.
Of insanity childhood sexual abuse.
My pain locked within mind and body.
Mind broken ravaged by madness
turned against itself,
looking for answers elsewhere.
Answers came from above,
gentle voice in my mind
delicate breeze held me close.
God spoke to me concerning "living hell"
He told me of love, life in the future.
Faith, required daily
simple concept just believe.
I spoke to others of my emotional pain
they misunderstood, I tried harder.
I told them of God all He had said
I was ridiculed dreams dismissed.
I forgive them they did not believe, the truth,
yet, it was clearly there.
Today I believe my faith is truly recognized.
The voice in my head
is  not considered to be God
I understand, the lack of faith in others.
I believe I will teach others one day.
Tomorrow sees the launch of my first book
to me it is so much more.
People are coming to see me, hear me talk,
acknowledge my former pain.
I am beginning to feel accepted
not just by God, those around me too.
My thoughts, feelings emotions,
opinions, do count.
I feel deeply honoured
that people are willing to share
their time with me.
Mental Health is still hush hush
I dream I can help others speak.
Just Be
Troubled mind elusive sleep,
"worry not"I keep repeating
tossing, turning
constantly questioning
answers fleeting out of grasp.
Achingly aware
regarding lost direction
decisions raw, cornered
back against fragile wall.
Worry natural part of me, who will I be, if I stop?
Potential unknown, mind tumbling.
I spoke to God in Heaven,
I felt His gentle touch
reassuring me holding me close,
"Just be", He whispered
"Just be yourself."


Sue Holt, 08/03/2007
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