I spent a year in psychiatric hospital with mental health issues and when I was finally discharged I began my journey of recovery, writes Kate Hull-Rodgers.
Firstly, I decided to write a journal.
I found it helpful to write down all my daily events and thoughts.
I liked to read back over my journal, and realise that so much of what I worried about either didn’t come to pass or if it did it wasn’t as important as I thought.
Depression sometimes makes you feel stuck and writing helps keep me moving.
I would recommend to anyone struggling with mood to keep a journal.
It helps to get your thoughts on paper so you can look at them.
In this way you can gain perspective.
Troubles don’t seem so big when they are little words on the page
I wrote about why I had a breakdown in the first place. I became convinced my trouble began because I had been to theatre school.
At theatre school I opened up – I was happy, I was sad, I was joyful, I was mad.
Problem was, no one shut me down and I swore off theatre – forever.
Roll forward a couple of years and I was pretty well.
I managed being bipolar with a combination of self-help practises and medication and the world was rosy.
READ THIS: Don’t suffer in silence with mental health.
Then I began to feel an ache – an unquenchable desire to get back on stage.
From all my journal writing I realised I had the perfect theatrical vehicle because I had a story to tell.
I turned my story into a play which I toured to 29 countries and the response was overwhelming.
I continually sold out and I received standing ovations where ever I went.
I became an advocate for mental health issues – the main one being the stigma that surrounds it, the one that makes those in need afraid to seek help.
I began to look for other ways that I could help de-stigmatise mental illness.
The answer was to give other people a voice, a loud voice like I had and so my husband Bill and I created a theatre company for people with mental illness experience.
We call it Stepping Stone Theatre, because expressing yourself creatively is a step along the road of recovery.
At Stepping Stone Theatre for Mental Health we tell our stories.
We create testimonial theatre and we devise full shows and then perform them at Trinity Arts Centre in Gainsborough.
They are funny and touching and informative.
Some of our members perform, some prefer to work backstage, but together we become a family.
There is nothing like doing something creative to find your tribe and really bond.
So if you have any experience of mental illness and you have a desire to be creative start by journaling your thoughts.
Then why don’t you join us at Stepping Stone Theatre?
We meet every Friday at 7pm at the Trinity Arts Centre, call Kate and Bill on 01427 628888 for details.