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Milestones Trust

My soapbox experience

Rob's story

It was something I have never done before and didn’t think I could. It shows that sometimes if you push yourself a little, it’s amazing what you can achieve.

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At residents’ meeting, we discussed Mental Health Awareness Week and the events that were going on. I was aware that there would be a soapbox event at the Head Quarters, where people get up and speak about mental health and ways we manage stress.

At the residents’ meeting, I wasn’t really sure whether I wanted to do this as I was nervous about how I felt about speaking in front of people, especially about myself. I went up to the event to support my friend Pauline Britton, a resident who was going to speak, and Sally, a staff member.

I sat on the wall and enjoyed listening to other people reading poems, telling stories and sharing ways of managing stress. Pauline prepared a list of things she did to stay mentally well and Sally spoke about how she managed stress by using meditation and other nice things she did to cheer herself up.

I was sat with Sue, my key worker, watching and listening when all of a sudden I thought if these other people can do this, so can I! I surprised myself by getting up and taking the microphone. I introduced myself and told everyone that I had been diagnosed with Anxiety and Depression when I was 17, and was admitted to hospital June 1971.

I shared with everyone that sometimes I still hear voices and wonder if it’s God speaking to me. I then went on to say how I have lived at Kingsway for 25 years and my mental health has improved and I enjoy lots of the things we do at the home, including the party we had to celebrate 25 years of Kingsway being opened.

When I finished, everyone clapped me and I returned to sit with my key worker Sue, who told me how well I’d done. I felt really proud when I realised how well I’d done. It was something I have never done before and didn’t think I could. It shows that sometimes if you push yourself a little, it’s amazing what you can achieve.