My name is Helen and I live in Norwich, in the UK (East of England).
I am married with four teenagers, My son, Josiah is studying physics at University, and three daughters are still living at home.
I have had experience across many spheres, including being part of a soup run distributing food to the homeless and vulnerable, working as a self employed child minder from my own home for many years while home educating my children, and supporting many in our family home. I have completed counselling courses and peer support training and the first two years of a degree in Childhood and youth studies and I have gained a lot of experience from being an active member of our church pastoral care and ministry team, and a youth worker. More recently in light of the current pandemic, I have been privileged to have been able to make a difference to many through a time of international difficulty, with my work in my local community.
I am currently in a position of Student voice for Norfolk and Suffolk foundation trust Recovery College, under the NHS, and have completed my NHS peer support training.
I am a key player in the management committee of Connecting Bowthorpe; co-leading with my husband a successful food distribution project under a Charitable Incorporated Organisation which we are setting up with a very wide vision for our community and beyond.
Over the years I have experienced my own mental health challenges as a result of a very difficult childhood. I have had diagnoses of complex PTSD, unstable personality disorder, and severe eating disorders and for a period of four and a half years, worked with a specialist trauma therapist working around my experience of Dissociative Identity Disorder. My first awareness of my own mental health condition began when I was a teenager, and I have had personal experience of my journey of recovery, and have also had many opportunities to provide support to those around me, including working alongside services and their families as wherever I've been on my journey, sharing with others has always come naturally to me.
My experience has taught me that there are times when life can get very hard, and that there is no way we can minimise that, but as I have stepped further away from being disabled by my experiences and emotions, and further into self acceptance and self awareness, I have been able to find much more fullness and satisfaction in my life. I do still experience massive intensity of emotion but the shift away from self condemnation and blame, has been transformational to me, as I have learned to recognise the strength and resilience I have gained from the many years I have been on this journey, and take hold of these and utilise them in ways which are much more empowering than the ways in which I responded in the past.
As I have moved further and further from dependency on services, instead of being in this spiral of despair and continuous hospital admissions and crisis behaviours, I am able to reach out and connect in powerful and meaningful ways to those around me, and make a contribution myself, as we all find constructive and meaningful ways to process the many emotions which are inevitably experienced from the experiences life does bring, and to live on this path of recovery together as we find more acceptance of both ourselves and others.
Recognising the strengths and resilience I have as Personal Medicine, has been inspirational to me in consolidating my lifelong learning, and it has always been my heart to share with others insight, hope and understanding along their journeys too, because I believe that experiences do matter. Life does matter. Love does matter. And though at times that can be very hard, I do believe it is the truth and the things we have to somehow keep hold of as we stand together promoting the positive side of humanity and making a difference in the lives of so many who matter.