I started a masters degree last year. Mental Health Recovery and Social Inclusion. I am not academic and I have a few learning difficulties to deal with as well as my mental health problems, but I decided to give it a go and here I am about a third of the way through year two! I was amazed I passed year 1 if I am honest. But my motto is try and if you fail you have at least tried, where if you dont you will be full of regrets and wondering.
I also got married this year. After 14 years together we finally tied the knot and became a fully fledged couple! It was an amazing day on the steam train at Embsay and Bolton Abbey steam railway (like I say try anything and getting married on a steam train was certainly a different challenge!) We had afternoon tea on the train and at the evening reception we had pie and peas. Proper Yorkshire food, complete with a pork pie cake and a pizza cake just to be different.
I was also asked to present at the World Health Organisation in Helsinki for the launch of a report on arts and health. Such a long way from the lady who could not get out of bed sometimes let alone fly (which was the worst part as I am not a very good flyer) but I managed it and felt honoured to be there.
I often reflect on where I have come from and what I have achieved. People think I am lucky to have got the chances I have. I would not say it was lucky, I have worked really hard to get to the position that I am in now and to be able to stand my ground amongst the most professional of people. It is still very important for me to get the voice of the service user out there for ALL to hear and I will try and continue to that for as long as I possibly can. My mental health is not always great but I try and manage every day to do something proactive towards my goal of making everyone feel they have a voice, whether they chose to use it or not.
I still continue to do talks all over the country (and some abroad too) but my main focus is to get through this masters degree and start living/breathing again!! Ha ha. Its not easy but then life never is.
Wishing everyone a wonderful Christmas and all the very best for 2020.