Story collector: Donna Roberts
Photographer: Lauren Simmonds
Since the age of 12/13 I’ve struggled with my mental health. It was triggered by bullying by peers at school and online, I was receiving death threats. I became conscious of my appearance and started skipping meals, losing weight and began self-harming. By the time I was 14, I had moved house and school but despite this, the bullying continued and my self- harm escalated to the point that I was making attempts on my own life and playing myself. I got myself trapped in an abusive relationship- manipulation, guilt trips, suicide threats. I was being verbally, emotionally aNd sexually abused daily for the most part of 11 months by someone I thought I could trust. I was being admitted to hospital almost every week, if not twice a week. Anxiety, depression, my eating disorder and now a personality disorder continue to take a hold of me, making daily life more than a struggle but that doesn’t stop me from doing things to help myself and help other people.
I now have my own set of postcards and film published around dealing with certain emotions and feelings. I volunteer my time with Dudley Young Health Champions and help make lives of others easier by making resources and supporting with youth-led projects.
The idea behind the postcards is simply to help young people to recognise their emotions and use them as a way to start a conversation. Professionals aren’t always understanding of someone who is unable to speak in an appointment. I have previously been discharged from services because my anxiety made it near to impossible to be able to express and talk about how I was feeling and this shouldn’t be happening, therefore these cards can be used when an individual cant find the words to explain their feelings. The idea came about when I invited Faye (project coordinator at Dudley Young Health Champions) to an arts exhibition at my old school where my work was on display. It was then when Faye told me I should do something with my art and create a project. That week I painted my emotions and before I knew it, I had 11 pieces of work all depicting different feelings infront of me. I have been shortlisted for a national award for this project by HealthWatch England. In 2017 I was nominated for and won young volunteer of the year in Dudley.
I volunteer to help people – I help with Leslie’s Care Packages to collect things for homeless people Dudley and SODA to collect clothes and easter eggs for children who have been around domestic violence.
LISTEN TO BECKY’S STORY HERE:
BECKY’S COLLECTOR COMMENTS:
“I have known Becky for a few years now and what inspired me about her story is how she has faced incredibly difficult situations, been brave, totally pushed out of her comfort zone and has grown and blossomed from a girl who couldn’t make eye contact with you to a women who is doing incredible things to support others. What I also admire is that she is not afraid to show her vulnerability, her journey is not over yet, she still has her ups and downs and continues to battle through. To me Becky’s story reminds me to never give up and that amazing things are possible.”