This is my journey from pain to PURPOSE!

Everyone has a story, everyone has a journey whether it's just starting or beginning there is a journey that had begun or yet to begin. Once upon a time my experiences were detrimental, I was constantly attempting to hide what was beneath, beneath all the clothes and smiles. I was constantly fighting for something, fighting against something. I was searching for happiness (everlasting happiness). The truth was that what I wanted was not my reality. Being transparent and taking off this mask was the hardest thing I think I’ve had to do. And if I can be real I’m not completely there. It's so hard.. Hard to search the innermost part of my soul to pick up the broken pieces. Why couldn't I just be whole; whole inside and outside.. Everywhere I looked was broken. I was broken and my soul was broken.

 

If i could even count the amount of times I wanted to give up, the times I cried in my room, the amount of times I asked God to just take my life, the amount of times, the amount of times I had suicide thoughts. Life was just life. Life was just a word. Hearing people's joy made me envy so much in life because to me joy was not natural, it wasn't something I thought about daily. Negative thoughts drowned my mind, insecurity made me feel safe and brokenness challenged me. Brokenness isn't so bad when I think about it. Without it I wouldn't be here sharing it with you.

 

My name is Angela and I’m a young carer, I have faced numerous challenges such as coming from a low income family and bullying. Young carers don't get talked about often- but we need help and support to. 

 

I had to make a decision as the Nearest Relative to decide whether a not a close family member diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, would be sectioned under the Mental Health Act. It was the hardest decision of my life. I was in my final year of university within weeks of giving in my dissertation and facing my final exams. Once I made the decision I remember breaking down, my family member was taken to hospital and I felt so much guilt in my heart- to the point where I blamed everything that I had happened before that stage on myself. I carried the burden and it had a major effect on me- I had suicidal thoughts, i was depressed.

 

Being the eldest meant that I had start managing my home and making sure bills are paid on time and other household responsibilities. To be honest my university was not very supportive, I had once initial counselling session and that was it. What kept me going was God and my friends. Prayer and faith pushed me to keep going and now I’m using my experiences as a young carer in my project called Mental Health: The Arts which enables young people with a lived experience of mental health to express themselves through the creative arts. I used dance. Dance was an expressive way of telling people about my journey. There was definitely a lot that I couldn't physically say even though there was a lot in my mind but in addition to my faith I have dance to set me free and giving me a reason to express myself. 

 

Some days are hard, some days are still overwhelming, some days I cry, some days I’m fearful of what my future holds. There are times where I wonder whether my situation will change and whether I would be able to leave home and live independently. But I keep pushing because I have a future and purpose to not see other young carers and other young people with a lived experience of mental health suffer in silence. I am Angela- I am not a statistic- I am a testimony of how you can use your experiences to change your future in a positive way. This is my journey from pain to PURPOSE!  

Follow Angela on Twitter: @Angela_Awuah

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